Friday, December 30, 2011

Kindly help - URGENT!

I am preparing for a blog for the new year's eve and need your help urgently.
 Please tell me who is SRK? You may leave your answer in the comment box.
I am serious and not kidding.
 You will find the reason for this simple but curious question in my blog of 01-01-2012. So pitch in and help me write my next blog. The best three answers with their writers' names will find a mention in the blog.
Thanks in anticipation. 
Have a safe 31 Dec bash. 
 Don't do anything you & I won't be proud of when you wake up on 01 Jan :-)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kolaveri - dental flavor!

Well kolaveri has gone viral for sure. Mr. Dhanush getting invited by the prime minister of India is definitely BIG. But to me it has a larger and deeper meaning. Messrs Ajay Piramal & Thomas Friedman are the two reasons I am writing this. You must be wondering where is the connect? Let me fill in the blanks.

Mr. Piramal is an Indian billionaire tycoon who sold a part of his healthcare business in May to an American company for $4 billion. Impressive indeed but the amusing bit is that he is not planning to invest that pile of cash in India! Why? He says the problem is not a lack of opportunities. The problem is India. Hello! Now here is a man who knows his stuff as he has made his billions from the Indian health industry but he is unwilling to reinvest here. In fact it is believed that since last year the amount of money that Indians have invested outside India is far more than the money foreigners have invested in India. Now this is a cause for concern. Piramal wanted to expand one of his chemical plants but was told it would take five years. He says the same project takes two years in China! Inspite of being a patriot he says his customers will not wait that long. He is planning to acquire businesses in North America and Europe.

If no more money is going to be available to our economy how are we going to build a better infrastructure which could aid in faster development?

Mr. Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter and columnist, recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes & the author of five bestselling books among them "The world is flat" in which he fought a case for growing economies like India by mentioning that the world is interconnected and offers a level playing field for all nations. Hence he argued that India had an opportunity to grow and shine like never before. But sadly he seems to have changed his mind now about India. Now he says India has probably lost its path and is meandering aimlessly.

The reasons both the above mentioned gentlemen cite for their pessimism regarding India are the same: lack of transparency in the system, bureaucratic red tape, corruption at every level in the political system and outside of it, looting of national resources by those who were entrusted with safeguarding it.

Where does that leave an honest enthusiastic dentist planning to set up a practice or laboring to run an existing one successfully?
  Well it looks like its going to get a whole lot worse before it becomes better.
 Mr Godrej, owner of the Godrej empire has said," If you are an honest businessman in India, it is very difficult to start up anything".
To top it all Anna's movement seems to be fizzling out as the shrewd political system is trying to wear off the spirit of the populace. So let's put in our heart, soul and mind in what ever we do and create a viral kolaveri of good intentions, hard work and happiness so that 2012 ushers in happiness and prosperity of the same extent as the kolaveri viral!

Toothstory wishes you a healthy, happy and prosperous 2012!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Key to a successful dental practice

Two critical requirements for any business to survive and thrive:
1. Acquiring new customers.
2. Keeping them.

The same yardstick applies to a dental practice too!
Gone are the days when patients would be loyal to a particular dentist/practice. As the number of practices has increased so has the choice for the patient. Checking out a few dental practices is the norm for any patient now. In today's world one has a lot of choice in anything one chooses to do or buy. Not that it is always a good thing, but that's how it is and the sooner we accept it the better. Therefore it goes without saying that getting a new patient is not easy.
Having acquired a new patient it becomes equally important to retain them. How does that happen? There are a lot of factors which play a role in this but for now we will focus on one of them: BRAND RECALL.

Brand recall is the emotion/feeling that a customer experiences when s/he thinks about a product. Therefore how a patient feels about our practice is going to decide whether they will return and also if they will promote it and refer others to us. Hence we need to know what goes into creating a positive emotion in the patient's mind regarding our practice. I believe it boils down to the experience that the patient has in a practice, and it does not always mean the quality of dentistry delivered to the patient. In fact this one factor may be the least important from the patient's perspective as delivering good quality of care is a given in any practice. What sets a practice apart are the other things like the soft skills of the dentist and her team, the time spent with the patient, the after-the-appointment experience of  the patient (follow up) etc. If I were to mention only ONE point here I would like to emphasize on listening skills. Many times the patient comes away feeling neglected even if they  got a reasonably good standard of care. Therefore its important to spend time with the patient and LISTEN carefully. Sometimes its not the chief complaint alone that matters. In my experience many times patients want additional information on healthcare or a referral to another specialist which if provided promptly can lead to a long lasting impression. Follow-up is another tool rarely employed by practices. We ought to find out whether the treatment provided helped or not. More often than not we presume that no news is good news when in reality the patient may be elsewhere in some other practice. Once the patient has left our premises its important to make as many points of interaction with the patient as possible.
I strongly believe all of us can do a lot better if we work harder on BRAND RECALL in our practices.