Dentistry is a tough job, there’s no doubt about it, and you have to put yourself out there all the time. It’s not just about great composites or wonderful implants, although that is very important; you’re actually selling yourself and you’re selling trust.
Centre For Dentistry runs practices in supermarket environments and we spoke to the CEO Lisa Riley earlier this year for a Q&A in Update – here are Lisa’s very interesting thoughts about the role of trust in dentistry that also came up.
“The interesting thing about dentistry is the vast majority of people do not know what many of the treatments are and what many of their options are. It’s not really about selling, it’s about saying, ‘Would you like to come and talk to somebody and understand how this works?’
“I’ve had people tell me I’m trying commoditise dentistry just because we’re in supermarkets – the one thing you definitely can’t do is commoditise dentistry, it’s a personal relationship between the clinician and the patient.
“When we recruit we’re always looking for that x factor of kindness, empathy and understanding that marks clinicians out as someone you feel you could sit down and talk to and not be overawed by or not be able to say, “I don’t understand what you’re saying to me”.
“As with all things, dentistry shouldn’t be about the price, it should be about the value. We’ve tried to be very straightforward about pricing so you know what you’re going to get and you know you’re going to get the time, the care and accessibility that you might not be able to get on the NHS.
“If you look at people who are very nervous about going to the dentist, they put barriers in place – I can’t get time off work, I can’t park, it’s too expensive. What we’re trying to do is take each of those barriers away so people run out of excuses not to come. They can wander in seven days a week during supermarket opening hours and have a chat without committing to anything and see what reaction they get.
“If the reaction feels comfortable then each week they gradually go further until they make an appointment, which is very different to phoning up and making an appointment when the chances are you have never met the clinician or any of the team before and before you know it you’re lying down with your mouth open hoping everything goes well. Our experience allows them to get into that process in a much slower and gentler way.”