Established in 1985, Llandeilo Road Dental Surgery has been serving the dental needs of the people of Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire and beyond for over 30 years. I first joined the practice as an associate in 2014, and in July 2015 my company, Cross Hands Dental Care Limited, purchased the practice. This is where my relationship with DPAS Dental Plans really came to the fore.
There are many challenges when taking over an established practice, from raising funds, dealing with legal, admin and staffing issues to retaining and growing a loyal patient base. It is the patient base that generates revenue needed to satisfy many other commitments. Having the majority of patients already transfer from another provider to the practice-branded DPAS-administered dental plan was a real advantage and made the transition process a lot easier for us.
DPAS were very supportive from the moment we decided to buy the practice and for us there was no hesitation to keep them as our plan provider. They helped us cultivate an environment where lasting patient relationships, loyalty and referrals could thrive, whilst providing an excellent service, continuous support and guidance.
We are very proud to be a Welsh-speaking practice, a unique selling point, that helps us build a special relationship with our patients. The Welsh language is very important in this area; in fact, you probably wouldn’t get very far if you didn’t speak it! We like to offer our patients choice and so provide patient literature in Welsh as well as English.
To aid the production of this, DPAS offer a comprehensive translation service to any practice where English is not necessarily the patient’s first language and we’ve definitely benefitted from this service on more than one occasion. In addition to having brochures in the Welsh language, what I also really like is that all of our literature is branded to our practice, which makes it a lot more personal for our patients. It really helps us to establish a strong bond with our patients.
Fit around you
Since taking over the practice, we have been working closely with our practice consultant, Lucy Tozer, who has been instrumental in the smooth transfer process to help maximise patient retention and to nurture even greater loyalty. Lucy helped us adopt a clear and effective communication and membership growth strategy by implementing a growth plan and an already successfully proven transfer model, which presented our ‘new’ business and the transfer process in a very positive light. She helped us assure patients that the move was in the best interest of both the practice and our valued patients in the long run.
We still have a small number of patients who have yet to transfer from the old plan provider but it is no longer practical or cost-effective to administer a plan from a different provider for only a handful of patients, and so we relied on Lucy to help us speed up the transfer process. She was brilliant and came into our practice to contact these patients directly to talk them through the benefits of the plan and actively encourage them to transfer over.
Lucy is available to help us at any time by email and phone, and despite us being a little remote here in the Welsh valleys, she is always more than happy to visit the practice whenever we need her assistance. I prefer to do a lot of my work via email as it makes life easier for me to respond when I have the time. We are obviously always very busy so DPAS fit around us, rather than the other way around.
There’s always a concern when becoming a new practice owner and when moving over to a new dental plan that there may be some resentment to change, or patients may leave the plan, but luckily we have had no problems in this respect at all. Moreover, the plan continues to grow week on week and we now have even more loyal patients at the practice that have committed their oral health care to us for the long term. Clearly communicating the transfer process and the benefits of a new dental plan to patients has been key and we aid this by ensuring the plan is part of our patient conversation and supported by information brochures.
A growing business
DPAS has helped to train our team, so they can clearly explain the true benefits of being on plan and how it spreads the cost of care into manageable monthly amounts. It gives patients peace of mind that all their routine dentistry is being taken care of without the worry of any unexpected large bills. Also, by regularly attending for routine check-ups and hygiene visits, we are able to spot any issues early and prevent them becoming bigger problems. The other advantage of course is that our plan membership also comes with the benefit of supplementary insurance, meaning patients are covered for any dental emergency, at weekends, out of hours or when they are away from home.
We have now been working with DPAS for over a year and have never looked back. We currently have three dentists, including myself, and a hygienist and are in the process of recruiting another dentist to increase the scope of our practice and generate more income through increasing the size of our plan.
We are a very busy practice and DPAS’ support, a customer-orientated approach, a personal touch and a clear transfer strategy has helped us to overcome some of our business challenges, maximising patient retention and promoting patient loyalty.