“Make A Visit To The Dentist More Like A Supermarket Trip”

…Says The Times on Tuesday, reporting on an interview with Bill Moyes, the new Chairman of The GDC.

It seems that Bill Moyes has 3 things on his mind:

  1. He wants dentists to become more retail in their approach to patient.
  2. At the same time, he wants them to become more professional.
  3. And he’d like patients to have more information to make it easier to choose a dentist

Well, so far, I’m with him all the way!

Lets talk about the retail bit first. Bill Moyes says, he’d like to reshape dentistry towards a “customer relationship model”.

By this, he means he’d like dentists to “shift from a professional relationship to a customer relationship,” with their clients. He believes this would create a “Lidl to Waitrose model, with all the small retailers in the middle. He says, “No one’s suggesting that Lidl’s food hygiene standards are any less than Waitrose,” “Lidl’s cheap and cheerful. That’s fine, there’s a market for that, and there’s a strong market for Waitrose.”  He then goes on to say that dentists could sell their service at a price and if the customers don’t like the service or the price, they can go somewhere else.

As for becoming more professional, in The Times article, he says, “He had been surprised by the level of fraud cases amongst Dentists summoned before the regulator.” And in an interview in The GDC Gazette, Bill Moyes says, “A key thing I have learned is that even the most effective regulatory regime for a system or an industry can be undermined – often very badly – by unacceptable professional conduct. Setting the right professional standards and policing them effectively is a key building block for any regulatory system. This isn’t true just for healthcare. It’s a lesson that has been learned the hard way in the banking sector, for example.”

And lastly, Mr Moyes said he sees his role as “providing patients with information to assess their dentists.”

I hope Bill Moyes doesn’t mind me summarising his ideas but it seems to me he is saying something like this:

  • Consumers need good reliable information to to be able to choose their dentist.
  • If you give the consumer the resources to choose their provider, be it Lidl or Oasis, then the dentists, knowing that their clients are empowered to choose, will behave better/more professionally and self-regulate, rather than needing a heavy-handed regulator.
  • In other words, let the market and the customers do the regulating.
  • He also believes that there should be more of a market in dental practices, allowing patients the choice between a Lidl practice, a Waitrose practice, or something in between.

If you have been reading our new book “Moonwalking For Dentists”,  you will find that we’re convinced the future for Dental Practice is to become more retail-led and to choose your practice positioning rather than joining the herd of Private or NHS practices. We cite Apple Stores as an example of best practice in retailing, due to the fact that their sales process is focused on identifying their customers needs before selling them a product or service.

I’ve always though that the most difficult aspect of owning a practice is to marry together the (sometimes conflicting) needs of clinical dentistry and business, and for the business owner to maintain their professionalism and integrity whilst making a profit! And from my perspective, the profession is far less professional than its public relations would have us believe. (I could give examples but then, you know what I’m talking about…)

From the patients’ perspective (and let’s walk in their shoes for a moment), their concerns are these:

  1. Am I confident that I really need this treatment doing and have I been given all the choices and all the costs?
  2. Is my dentist capable and confident and will they hurt me?
  3. Do I know how much this treatment is going to cost? (And, am I having this treatment on the NHS or privately?)
  4. Do I think this is good value for money?

If you have found a way (or if you would like some help) to address these concerns effectively, you will inevitably have a successful practice! And, if you would like some help in bridging the gap between professional and retailer, then please call or email me on:

t. 07770 430576
e. simon.hocken@breathebusiness.co.uk

With all best wishes


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