Call me a doomsayer and a glass half full person, I’m not. However, I do believe that we are going to have a real battle to retain patient numbers at the same level as the 12 months prior to April 2020. I know of plenty of practices right now who are working as many hours as they want too, catching up on the back log created by the shutdown, managing the book that was already scheduled in June, July and August, bringing work forward and new starts because patients have money as a consequence of accessing their superannuation, not going on overseas holidays, and job keeper and job seeker payments are giving confidence and good luck to those practices who are maximising their results right now.
However, I think there are dark clouds on the horizon around patient job security and increasing concerns around knowing if we are treating a healthy patient and the risk of aerosol transmission for staff and the next patient, albeit I don’t know of a dental practice being a covid-19 hub and I think patient fear (false expectations appearing real) will mean patient demand will sit between 70 and 75% of pre-covid previous year for the next 12-18 months. In addition, changes to infection control routines between patients will reduce the time available for delivering treatment plans and will slow production.
In response to this changing paradigm the suggestion is that Management teams should be focusing on continual improvement in Customer Service and Marketing.
In my own business I am aware that rumours continue to circulate about the future of Gunz Dental with respect to our long-term viability These rumours have no substance. I apologise that we are not delivering on our promise of having the products you order available at the time of order entry. We are working on changing this within the constraints of our manufacturing partners having the capacity to deliver our orders and finding freight slots to get the product into Australia. We hope to have resolved this over the next two months and I apologise for the inconvenience caused to your business because of our inability to have the products at the time of order entry. Thank you for your patience.
We continue to focus on Customer service in addition to having the product available at the time of order entry we are also working on and you can call me boring, delivering the same thing every time—at least when it comes to customer experience. We want our customers to always have a good experience with us—one they can count on always happening every time they do business with us. We want them to find that our people are always knowledgeable, always helpful, always friendly and always respond quickly. We want our products to always work and do what they are supposed to. If, for some reason, there is a problem, we want our customers to know they can always count on us to resolve it for them.
Sounds monotonous, doesn’t it? It is, but this is good monotony—the kind of monotony I know our customers like. This is not about a boring experience. It is about being so focused on a consistent and predictable experience that we hear the same feedback repeatedly. The same thing happening over and over? Some might call that boring, but we all know it’s not.
I know you know there is a lot that goes into making something always happen. It’s hiring the right people for the job, especially for the front line. It’s about the proper training to create the consistent experience. (By the way, that training must be ongoing and consistent, too.) It’s about a process that is proven, and that people follow.
So, if we are delivering a monotonous customer experience that makes you happy, I am happy. However, we should be very unhappy if we are not being bold with our marketing, our products and our innovations.
Marketing, new products and new innovations are critical to business success in a downturn because the number one challenge is to continue to grow because you can only cut your costs so far. It is all about making sure your vacant chair time is at the level you want it rather than accepting the level you have. As Angus Pryor, from anguspryor.com always reminds me to do...”don’t settle for good.”
In the last six months Gunz Dental have launched Rotate a new endodontic file system from VDW our partner in endodontics for more than 50 years. Swirl from Dentalife a pre-treatment antiseptic. And Ecosite a new composite range from DMG that simplifies achieving great aesthetics and ecosite bulk fill which improves productivity and clinical outcomes.
We have promoted products right for the current times such as DMG’s Luxacrown a material that enables you to issue a one visit crown without the need for expensive technology or to learn a new technique and very affordable for the patient and Icon for treating early stage caries and white spot lesions.
I encourage all of you to be bold with your marketing, your products and your innovations.
Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to continuing to help you to provide the best possible care for a very long time.