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a blog by Chris Barrow

The ultimate patient testimonial

This testimonial came from one of the DBC clients, Ollie and Darsh and remains one of my favourite accounts of how a patient’s life is transformed by excellent dentistry matched by remarkable customer service. I applaud the writing style – but perhaps more importantly, the story from the patient’s perspective is a lesson for us all. A Brush With The Old Enemy @ Ollie & Darsh: The Secret Patient’s Journey Blog Part 1 Curly Wurly, canoe-sized Toblerone, Dime Bars, Turkish Delight…just a few of my favourite sweet things as a kid. I was kind of ‘bling bling’ way before Snoop and 50 Cent made it…I had a mouth full of silver back in the late seventies. Thankfully, I love cleaning my teeth (three times a day) because the last time I went to the dentist before my recent series of visits in March, John Major was the prime minister gettin’ jiggy with Edwina Currie. My stomach churned at the thought back then and similarly as I accepted an invite to Liverpool Chamber’s recent event at one of their new member’s venues, Ollie & Darsh, a dental practice in Liverpool’s Business District. A few deep (fresh smelling, mint toothpaste fuelled) breaths later, I was inside what felt like a cavernous retail boutique of calm. I’m thinking this can’t be a dental practice. Where’s the accidental minimalism, white-painted walls and overcoats and that squeaky bum feeling? An attractive member of the Ollie & Darsh team wearing a fetching mushroom-coloured uniform (retail is detail) greeted me with the dulcet tones, welcome to Ollie & Darsh, would you like a drink or maybe something to eat? Bizarre. Cynical me thinking I thought going to the dentist was like punishment not nourishment so I went along with it. She left me be and I stood there gnawing away at some delicious light bites taking in who was there, the usual scenario. I soon stopped after becoming much more interested in why I felt so relaxed. Looking around, Ollie & Darsh wouldn’t look out of place in Elle Deco or on Grand Designs…a clever distraction of course, bearing in mind that despite what the above ad says, the practice offers full service dental care not just teeth whitening. And where there’s full service dental care there’s the sound of the drill, the most frightening noise in the world. Ever. Of course, there’s a solution to every fear/problem. Well, it was my solution…every time you go the dentist, just don’t let them near your gob. Part 2 Two weeks after my self-fulfilling prophecy of foolishly keeping away from the dentist fails, there I was in the (comfy black padded) leather chair with a dentist staring down my throat! Thankfully the man in question, Ollie is one of the most personable blokes you’ll meet in business and for that matter, wielding any dentistry kit ((he loves networking at BNI, the Chamber gigs and DLIB but always leaves his tools at home). Before I found myself in the chair having been enticed a fortnight earlier by the whole set up, I enjoyed (honest) a face-to-face (at arms length) consultation. It was more like conversation…with Suzy, a calming, kind type who reminds me of a glamorous actress (but not one in particular) from Star Trek. With obvious, genuine warmth for her clients, and me, Suzy’s a kind of tooth sayer who was about to tell me that the future looked bright…I was hoping she was talking about my mouth not her new practice! You see I’m a fan of Construct Theory…which states that we have a tendency to ascribe certain attributes to a group of people who have something in common (in this case, dentists), based on our experiences of this group. However, these constructs (e. g. “evil” as opposed to “kind”, “bad” as opposed to “good” and so on) tend to be based on a very small number of observations. Forgive me but as Suzy was about to speak I kept thinking that her family had persuaded her to go into dentistry when actually all she wanted was to work in construction (really heavy drilling equipment) and this was the next best thing! After 15 minutes of thorough verbal examination and still no reason yet for my deodorant monitor to be on high alert, I was invited almost like royalty to sit on the throne (that black Ron Arad chair). Part 3 Then Melissa, less royalty more a goddess of dental nursing, began taking pics of my teeth. It’s all part of standard practice in the initial consultation in which your mouth gets a thorough painless, MOT-type once over. What you’re left with is the feeling that you’re really being looked after and critically as a consumer, that the initial welcome and asthetics of Ollie & Darsh’s oasis of calm is matched by the professionalism, attention and care you get. Following the photo shoot, I sat down with Suzy and Ollie who talked me through what they saw peering in by showing my mouth on the 50” TV screen in one of their therapeutic consulting rooms. Now I’m not sure all of us want to see our mouths in a movie-type still early in the morning but it was incredibly informative. On the other hand, most of us in life and in our daily business transactions don’t necessarily want to know how or why an expert does what they do (we just want the results), except when it’s the dentist. Ollie & Darsh stressed their awareness of this to me because they knew I hadn’t trusted anyone for a long time with the kind of equipment dentists’ use. Actually, I’d never seen any of the treatments they had on board nor the consulting techniques despite doing my research on the competition. I should hasten to add that their methods at every step impressed me more and more. I gave them my trust because they gave me confidence in them. Part 4 Having seen the images of my mouth on widescreen, I was then asked for an honest assessment of what I thought the condition of my mouth and teeth were in. Not such a daft question because I was simply being asked for my honesty in how I had or hadn’t looked after my precious gums. Out of 10, I modestly said I thought the photos would reveal 2/10. My estimate was a result of never wanting to be accused of being Billy Big Biscuits or Billy Sweet Biscuits in this instance and the fact that I hadn’t been to the dentist since 1992. My actual score proved to be 8/10! I was relieved and delighted, in fact, euphoric but showed all the emotion of Bjorn Borg producing another Centre Court winner (those aged 29 or less, I was trying to be cool). The 10/10 score would have meant two small replacement fillings needn’t have been sorted but I didn’t even flinch at the prospect of having these done. I was also consulted about whether I would like to have a brighter smile and, for a bit of friendly banter asked, “why don’t i smile more?” I explained to Ollie that despite having what I regard as a generally happy disposition, my dry sense of humour usually prevents it! Somewhat perplexed, Ollie said “fair enough” and at this point, everyone reading this should know how non-pushy this dental practice is…yet another gold star in my review of the consumer friendliness of Ollie & Darsh. One of the most common fears of humans (linked in to Construct Theory see part 2 above) concerns the visit to the dentist. I go back shortly to have the second of my two fillings and I can honestly say that I no longer fear the dentist. It only took one consultation for that to happen and I could have spent a small fortune on courses to ‘desensitise’ me. Ollie & Darsh not only saved me that small fortune and time, but they offered me the expertise, care and attention you’d probably find hard to match anywhere let alone on your doorstep in Liverpool City Centre. Look them up by visiting their plush boutique dental clinic, either as a tourist, if only to be nosey, or for more clinical reasons. Make an appointment and find out how healthy your teeth and mouth are. Reasonably priced and without any obligation, you’ll be making a very, very good investment. *This blog is a reworked article that was posted in the June 24 2010 Confidence Club ezine

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