By MIKE HESKETH
Mike Hesketh bought his four chair all-private dental practice in Exeter city centre in July 2012. Soon after with the help of Breathe Business he rebranded, remodelled and took his practice seven days a week – the first principal in the South West to do so. The Exeter Dental Centre has since doubled its turnover and won awards for its patient-centric approach. Here are Mike’s tips on how to go seven days:
- Lead: Explain and rationalise the business changes to staff early in multiple meetings. ‘What’s in it for them’ is a good starting point. Our practice was long established with three retiring principals so staff were entrenched with the ‘this is how it’s done’ mentality. I invested my time and used my people skills from training as an officer in the Royal Navy to take my staff with me on the journey.
- Make it watertight: Service delivery is everything. We ensure that the weekend dentist who works both Saturday and Sunday is always covered by an on call dentist to take over the reins should the need arise.
- Work out a fair system: Our rota is five-week rolling so all the associate dentists who have young families only work one in five and have days off in the week either side to get time back.
- Tell your patients why: Explaining why we are not in during the week on some days and why we are giving up weekends to work has impressed our current patients with a flavour of an improved service.
- Seize marketing opportunities: We used digital media at Breathe Online Marketing and a PR agency in the main, but also took advantage of having scaffolding up around the building to let the huge footfall of the city centre know about the change. The banner was visible from planes coming into land at Exeter Airport!
If you’d like to pick Mike’s brains about how opening seven days a week can improve your practice’s service delivery, turnover and staff morale then please call Jonathan or Simon on 0845 299 7209 and they can arrange a group Skype call with Mike.
Want more stories like this? If you haven’t already, subscribe to our fortnightly best practice update email here.