Les Jones, Marketing Director at Practice Plan, explains why it’s every dentist’s responsibility to make sure patients are well-informed.
I recently stopped off at a well-known tyre chain to get my car tyres checked. On the face of it, the experience couldn’t have been better. It turned out that I only needed two new tyres, when I’d braced myself for three… result! Plus, the two new tyres came in almost £100 cheaper than I’d anticipated… another result! And, to complete my great experience, both tyres were quickly fitted and I was on my way less than half an hour after arriving.
So, why was it, after having had all my major expectations exceeded did I feel like I’d just been mugged?
The reason was, that through the whole experience, there was a complete lack of transparency, coupled with a sincerity that was anything but sincere.
Firstly, having met me less than five seconds earlier, the guy at reception was treating me like we’d known each other for twenty years and was clearly working from a broad script. Then, before he checked my tyres, he took me through a customer information form that required me to give him my address, telephone number, inside leg measurement and the names of every girlfriend I’d had from the age of 16 years – with no explanation as to what the details were needed for. Imagine having to do the same thing every time you filled up with petrol!
He then asked me to wait in reception while he went to check my tyres. Two minutes later he was back to tell me that I needed two new tyres. (I already knew this, so I didn’t ask for further information.)
He then stood behind the counter and proceeded to tap away at his keyboard and simultaneously scribble down prices on a scrap of paper for the various branded tyres that were available. I couldn’t see what was on his screen which was very annoying – he could have been playing Super Mario for all that I knew.
The only tyre brand he didn’t mention was the one that had a massive poster in the window offering a 25% discount. So, I mentioned it. Within five seconds the price of the top tyre had come down by £40 to match the offer in the window. It was pricing through smoke and mirrors. I still don’t know whether I got a good deal.
I made my choice and was then offered insurance on my tyres. It seems that, in this day and age, we need to insure every single thing we buy, individually. I declined. The sales guy said that was fine, not many people did go for it, but it was company policy to offer it. It’s not difficult to read the subtext here.
And so I left – I’d had a great service and fast turnaround at what I think was a good price – yet I still felt like checking my pockets to make sure I hadn’t been robbed!
Think about all this in the context of your dental practice. How transparent is your pricing structure? How well do you explain your treatment plans and what the patients will get for their money? For most patients, dentistry is a place of mystery and it’s every dentist’s responsibility to make sure patients are well-informed. The more they know and understand, the easier it is for them to make a decision.