Jo Phillpot looks at why long-term relationships are key to a successful dental plan.
When looking for someone to look after or work for your business – such as an accountant or an oral surgeon – what qualities do you want this person to have? If you have a list of criteria, do you rigorously apply them when choosing that person?
The answer is probably no. Most of us make decisions based on personal connections, recommendations, or on convenience. And being busy, we will stay with that person until we are forced to change. With organisations, the relationship dynamic is a little different. Nevertheless, our desire to lead an easy life often means that although we very much want to change a supplier, we fail to take the necessary steps.
Experience and credibility
Experience tells us that when a dental practice moves to us, they have been planning to do so for some time but have found it difficult to make the switch. Very often, the moment of decisiveness is triggered by an increase in administrative charges announced by their existing supplier, or a breakdown in the relationship between plan provider and practice. Both of these can often become the straw that breaks the camel’s back, propelling the practice into action.
At DPAS, whilst we are proud to be known for our competitive rates, we also want to be chosen for the service we provide. When comparing only on cost, apart from a clear variation in fees, there is little to separate one provider from another, as they all offer the setting up of a plan and the administration of a collection service.
However, once you’re up and running, that’s when the differences start to appear and you can separate the plan providers that offer ongoing support to help you attract more patients and build a successful plan, to those that are just a short-term, financial gain.
When choosing a plan provider, you should look at the experience and credibility of the provider’s support team. How long have they been in the business and do they have first-hand knowledge of the dental industry? Many in our team have been with DPAS a long time and our understanding of dentistry and the needs of a dental practice shines through in the consultancy we deliver, from patient recruitment advice to support with plan marketing and practice literature.
We want our practices to feel in control of their practice brand and services. We try and empower our dentists by giving them the resources and training they need to grow their practice and develop great long-term relationships with their clients, the patients.
It’s in the practice reception and surgery that great relationships are borne between the dental practice and their patients. Once relationships with your patients are established, it’s down to the team to develop and build on those connections, and one way of doing that is by signing them onto a dental plan. A value-filled dental plan brings with it a steady and reliable income for the practice and nurtures deeper relationships and loyalty with the patients, meaning they are less likely to leave your practice.
Our relationship with you, meanwhile, begins by setting up the plan and the efficient administration of a collection service. We would like to think that you are moving to us because we offer excellent rates and because of the support we offer.
But when it comes to the provision of added value support services, that’s when we hope our relationship with you will come into its own. We want you to attract more patients and grow a successful plan membership base.
But don’t just take our word for it! Principal dentist and owner of The Smile Rooms in North Yorkshire, Catherine Tannahill, recently commented that: ‘We’ve had a strong and established relationship with our practice consultant for over eight years now. She supports us on anything and everything from reviewing the performance of our plan and target setting to training team members and assisting us in our longer-term vision for the practice. If we weren’t partnered with DPAS, I don’t think we would have been able to grow our plan figures the way we have.’
Ultimately, if there is no support, there is no relationship and we passionately believe in the importance of the relationship we have with our practices. We strive to be the best value plan provider in the dental space; not the cheapest, but the best value. The building of long-term relationships is at the heart of everything we do, whether it’s with you or for you.