THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Why pay more?

During my Discovery Day in South Wales yesterday we discussed (yet again) the issue of “price” and how to answer patients’ questions. In this case, the lovely team at Jamie Pugh’s practice in Aberdare are about to enjoy a 2-week break whilst the practice premises are significantly refurbished. Occupying a prominent position on a main street in the town centre, the practice has been established for many years and Jamie grew up in the area. Walking to the sandwich shop with him at lunchtime, his journey and our conversation was frequently interrupted by brief “hello’s” with patients and friends. Over lunch he shared with me his love of the community and his desire to operate a profitable business that provided the very best clinical care and customer service possible. They work hard to continue providing NHS services, in spite of the challenges that we are all aware of. Whilst the corporates and the retailers continue their land grab for a huge share of both NHS and private dentistry, they would do well to note that the “local dentist in the town” can continue to thrive – provided they continue to evolve and stay relevant – which is exactly what Jamie and Trudy are doing – re-investing in the practice and in training for the team, coaching for themselves. The practice currently has no web site, very limited marketing – but the team were lovely, enthusiastic and willing to learn (and embrace what were some VERY new ideas from me ). Not a single well-poisoner in sight. They have taught themselves the role of the TCO and the refurb includes a new patient consult room to facilitate this process. No shag pile and chandeliers in “the valleys” and no luxury cars parked outside – just good, decent folks trying to do their level best. The question is – will the public continue to support them? I believe the answer is a “yes – but”. The but?

  1. but some people will continue to avoid dentists at all costs

  2. but some will take the cheaper option of a less attractive practice

  3. but some will want to travel to Cardiff or Swansea for a more “fashionable” experience

But….. There will be enough people who will want what Jamie is offering – a win:win – value for the patient and profit for the practice. A big question from yesterday – how do you respond to what has already started to happen:

so I suppose you are going to put your prices up to pay for all of this?

The answer? Well I’d be very interested to hear what you would ask your team to say? My response?

the practice has been here for the last 10 years and during that time the costs of running the business (like any other) have been borne by the patients, either through the tax system or through private fees. Nothing will change. Jamie and Trudy are committed to continue providing the very best clinical care and customer service from a healthy and compliant business and we are optimistic that our loyal patients will continue to support and recommend us

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