Darril Williams made the switch to Simplyhealth Professionals – a decision that he says has exceeded all expectations, and surpassed patient targets.
Promenade Dental Practice opened two years ago and we have grown from a purely NHS-based business to more than 500 patients on Denplan payment plans. Our patients knew the brand and they could see the potential benefits.
In October 2015, we moved premises within the same village, but to the high street with a window shop front, in Mumbles Road, The Mumbles. We renovated the building, which was previously a charity shop and ironically, 30 years ago, a sweet shop, to convert it into a modern, three-surgery practice with new, state-of-the-art equipment.
Six months later I met with Simplyhealth Professionals business consultant, Joseph Blackburn. I had worked previously as an associate for four years in a practice in west Wales that had undergone a conversion to Simplyhealth Professionals and Denplan products. I experienced first-hand the benefits to both patients and dentist, including longer appointments between dentist and patient, and easier accessibility to appointments for dentist and hygienists.
The conversion process
With the help of Simplyhealth Professionals, letters were sent to a database of 2,000 patients I had treated regularly over the past eight years, and the transfer of patients to Denplan payment plans was completed in a couple of months.
It was a very tense time in the beginning as we were still offering NHS treatment in the practice. Of course, we received many phone calls from patients telling us that they were passionate about the NHS and would like to stay with the NHS.
This was possible as we had another dentist at the practice who treated NHS patients, so those who did not want to join moved across to my associate, Dr Lisa Ace.
However, we had a very positive reaction from lots of patients. My target was to have 210 patients on Denplan payment plans, and currently we have 683. This exceeded our 25% conversion target, which was far higher than we forecast.
Having Joseph at the other end of the phone with his wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm, reassurance and guidance, above all the training he provided to key staff members, has been invaluable.
My practice manager and ‘Denplan Champion’, Nicola Steele, has been instrumental to our success. Her own belief in Denplan products, her drive and enthusiasm, has been key.
There has also been the extra support from the Simplyhealth Professionals team through letters to patients, as well as the online marketing package that provides the practice with templates for newsletters.
We are working with the Simplyhealth Professionals marketing team to continue to drive the business forward.
Lyn Smith, our experienced receptionist, has also had training by The Academy – the Simplyhealth Professionals in-house training team – and is continuing to sign up patients daily.
Feel the incentive
We have enjoyed the Denplan Champions’ Forum and other incentives, which have been extremely motivating for the team. Nicola and Lyn have been on training days and benefitted from these incentives. We are also in the process of having a business planning, marketing and PR report from the senior practice marketing consultant on how to develop the business further in recruiting, and promoting various initiatives in key demographics.
The knowledge and experience of the Simplyhealth Professionals team, coupled with everything they provide the business behind the scenes, including business support and marketing strategies, has been worth the transition.
And to top it all off, we feel like we belong to a family and will all go to the Simplyhealth Professionals Christmas ball in Cardiff!
Having been through the conversion process twice – once as an associate 12 years ago and more recently – I would highly recommend Denplan products to any practice.
It has been such a success that my associate, Dr Claire Evans, is now also taking the leap and moving forward with a conversion to Denplan payment plans.
I now have more time and a better work-life balance, so much so that I have been able to become a trained educational supervisor for the UK Dental Foundation, which means I am giving something back to the dental community, and that feels great.
For more information on making the switch to Denplan payment plans, visit www.simplyhealthprofessionals.co.uk.