Back in the early 2000's, and when I was delivering The Patient Journey training for Boots Dental Care, it was fascinating to meet retail store managers inside their flagship locations.
I still remember my surprise when I discovered that they expected 50% of their retail sales FOR THE YEAR to arrive in the 6-8 weeks before Christmas. The graphs on their office walls demonstrated very clearly that the pre-Christmas period was a make or break time.
I had not, until then, understood just how much money we all spend on gifts, food and drink, meals out, entertainment and entertaining.
Little wonder then, that in recent years we have imported Halloween and Black Friday in order to kick-start that process, and that stores invest so heavily in trying to compete on their Christmas TV adverts.
The race is on (or is it a war?) for your money - and for your patients' money.
My wife's family in New York celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday - perhaps the only spending-spree that our American friends haven't been able to export to these shores.
The delete button on my keyboard has been working overtime this week, clearing out the "50% off" offers that have been pouring in.
I'm off to the dentist this morning - a 10:00am Dental Health Review that I booked online through their Dentally software a few week go, and for which In paid a £38.50 deposit (50% of the fee - balance today) online as well. I've had 2 email confirmations and a reminder call yesterday.
I'll not be expecting any % off anything.
I'll be expecting a 5-star customer service experience and expert clinical care.
Boots learned 20 years ago - and others continue to learn - that dentistry isn't retail and that the right patients don't need a deal.
They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
When they know how much you care, they don't care how much it costs.