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Tuesday / June 18.
HomemilastwordThe Last Word: Give Them A Nudge

The Last Word: Give Them A Nudge

The other day I received a call on my mobile from a number I didn’t know. I picked up and a lady said “Hello, this is Marion from your dentist Kensington Dental”. I said “Hi, but do I know you?” Then she said “You see Dr. Chan.” I told her I didn’t know who that was, so she said “You must have seen Dr. Courtenay. Would you like me to make an appointment for you to see him again?”

Now let’s pause for a moment. I hadn’t seen Dr. Courtenay for a number of years – since my wife and I started going to the HCF Dental Clinic. As health fund members, we thought we’d be much better off.

However, when we walked out of HCF last time, I promised myself we’d never go back. Firstly, we were no better off than before and secondly because I just felt like a number.

For the past year my wife and I had been talking about going back to
Dr. Courtenay and had been meaning to make an appointment. We had meant to call him in November, to take advantage of our rebate before the end of the year. We were going to call at the beginning of this year when our little girl’s front teeth came down. A few weeks ago we were ‘going to call’ again. But we didn’t.

By being proactive and calling me, she built the relationship bridge…

Whether it was because we were busy or just felt a tad uncomfortable about the need to rebuild the relationship bridge, I’m not sure. Either way, I was relieved and very thankful when Dr. Coutney’s dental assistant called me.

I told her I’d like to see him the next week and I’d also like my family to see him on the same day. Then I suggested I call her back for an appointment the next day, once I’d checked on my wife’s availability. But no, she said she’d book me in then and there, and I could call back and change the time if I needed to.

She suggested one of two dates, and then prepared three bookings that would enable us all to swap between the dentist and hygienist.

So what did she do?

By being proactive and calling me, she built the relationship bridge that I thought might need to be mended before I go back and see ‘my’ dentist.

In that one phone call she made three appointments, but not just those three. She laid the foundation for three follow up appointments in the next few months, and more again as the years roll on. We’re back for good. We’ll never leave ‘our’ dentist.

Like the world of optics, the dental world has changed a lot over the past decade. They too are battling against corporatisation, but they’re in a much more difficult position than optometrists because they have a very limited retail offering.

The next time you’re concerned about the corporate down the road ‘taking’ your business, pick up the phone and call those patients you haven’t seen for a few years. You may find they’ve wanted to call you for years but just needed to be given a nudge.