Jane Hill, Sales Director for the Dental Directory, explores the changing needs of today’s dental practice and why reduced NHS chair time is driving more dentists to seek expertise and collaboration.
There was a time when we simply took a practice’s order and fulfilled it. That was in the days when NHS contracts were still lucrative, chair time wasn’t something that needed to be filled and we didn’t face a national shortage of NHS dentists.
Ours was a transactional relationship with dentists, but it worked and helped us grow to become one of the largest dental dealers in the UK. But, today’s dentists need more.
UK dentistry has changed dramatically since Dental Directory was established more than 45 years ago. NHS provision is shrinking by 4 per cent a year which means dentists are adapting, learning new skills and expanding into private treatments and specialisms to grow their businesses.
New trends and technologies are emerging and exciting the market. Facial aesthetics is becoming a familiar service offered to patients by their dentist rather than a beautician, 3D printing is changing the face of dental reconstruction and cosmetic dentistry and oral hygiene is being pushed up the media agenda and providing new revenue streams for dentists.
However, tapping into new markets can be easier said than done. Many dentists need an expert to guide them through – and that’s when my team really comes into their own.
At the Dental Directory we have a network of more than 200 experts that our customers can call upon for help at any time.
If a dentist wants to enter a new market we have facial aesthetics specialists and digital dentistry gurus on hand. When things break we have engineers and technicians available to get things up and running again quickly and smoothly.
We’ve also got more than 40 local business consultants available across the country who are the face-to-face point of contact for business advice or accessing the wide range of services we offer from training to practice re-fits.
We continually review and renew our 27,000 product lines, we’ve invested in our own brand, UnoDent, and we’re helping dentists explore specialist markets such as orthodontics, endodontics and digital dentistry.
Helping our customers get the best out of their practice
I joined the business last year and over those 12 months we’ve made quite a few improvements to our network of experts.
We’ve invested in attracting the best people into the business and retaining those who deliver professional service combined with a passion for dentistry to our customers.
We’ve developed our employee training, so each member of the team is an expert in their field and able to share knowledge that makes our customers’ lives easier and their businesses more profitable.
We’ve spent time questioning everything we do. And that period of re-evaluation is paying off.
Thousands of dentists turn to my team of experts every year for support. And that’s a number that continues to grow as they discover the breadth of services, product and expertise we’re able to offer.
Thousands of customers log on to our website and mobile app each month and our business consultants travel the length and breadth of the UK providing face-to-face personal support.
Our Net Promoter Score, which measures the willingness of our customers to recommend us, rivals that of retail brands such as John Lewis, Aldi, Ikea and M&S Food. A score we’re extremely proud of.
Founded in 1971, we’ve brought additional services into our one-stop-shop through strategic acquisition, including a dental laboratory, handpiece repair and retail company, training organisation, aesthetics distributor and orthodontics specialist.
When customers said they wanted a more flexible way to shop we invested a six-figure sum into our website, developed a market-leading mobile app and extended the cut-off time for next day delivery to 6pm and also introduced ‘named day delivery’ for more convenience.
Reduced NHS chair time doesn’t have to be a challenge dentists need to overcome alone. We feel sharing our knowledge and expertise with our customers delivers a unique level of value we’re confident no one else can provide.