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THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Thorpe Park and ethical selling


Last night I arrived at an old favourite – the Thorpe Park in Leeds, and was surprised and delighted to be upgraded to a suite – although how fun is that when you are alone? Having a desk to work at is cool though – and the hotel provide free wireless – better even than Hilton, who subcontract to i-bahn and charge £15 a day – scandalous. Yesterday was the first of 3 practice visits this week – the morning spent in Woods Tea Rooms, Doncaster with the principal, his wife and practice manager, discussing his strategy for the next 8 years in business. In the afternoon, I visited with the whole team in the practice premises and we discussed customer service and the transition of dentistry from a profession to a retail business. It’s a testimony to the principal and his practice manager that they have ruthlessly weeded out negative people from the team and now have a positive and very young group who are “up for it”. In discussing the sale of private dental treatment to their 8,000 NHS patients, I reminded them that selling dentistry is entirely ethical if it is:

  1. Available – in other words, the patients know what the dentist can actually do for them – dentists are lousy at this, assuming that patients know stuff when they don’t;

  2. Affordable – that payment options are given – early-bird discounts or spread payment plans and

  3. Appropriate – that the treatment suggested fits with the patient’s lifestyle requirements and is also clinically sound

There are good reasons why this practice are choosing to remain with the Health Service for the foreseable future and so I will be working with them to create a Patient Journey that encourages the sale of private treatment options. Just one final point though (and I hope the client won’t mind me saying this). When I arrived at 9.00am I was impressed with the gigantic plasma TV on the wall behind the reception desk. I was not impressed that they were showing The Jeremy Kyle Show – which, for the uninitiated is a morning chat show along the lines of Jerry Springer – human freaks being paid to discuss their relationship problems on air. I’m standing in a reception watching Moron A wait to find out if the DNA tests prove that he is the real father of Moron B. No, no. no.

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