There are a lot of promises made by the technological advances of our age. We are offered a world more convenient, more informed, and more connected. Many people wonder, however, if the increase in digital connection actually causes us to spend less time with real people. Have you found that to be true in your life?
The dental industry is, by definition, something that resists that pull to online existence. To clean a tooth or make a crown, you really have to be in person, because those teeth and those crowns are in the real mouths of real people. We need the person to bring the mouth to us. And of course, we are not interested only in the teeth, but the person whose teeth they are. So, not surprisingly, we think pretty highly of in-person relationships. In fact, we call them friendships, and not the ‘click to add’ type.
Friendships start at the first ‘Hello’.
A question for those of you who are more introverted: Have you ever wondered about those front desk personalities who meet new people all day long, smiling and chatting with each one, as if they really enjoyed it? Are they for real? Of course some front desk people are just monotonous robots who can hardly be bothered to look you in the eye, but those kinds of people don’t work at BSDA. We look for folks who find joy in meeting new people and helping them out. And we’ve found some good ones. Our latest gem is Kelly Anne McDougal. While new to us, she is a 27-year veteran of the dental industry and has spent her entire career at the front desks of dental offices. She is one of those people who really does just love meeting new people—she loves getting to know them, helping them out, making them smile and feel comfortable, even in the midst of a dental appointment (everybody’s favorite moment). As she says, “I just love meeting people in person, not in that ‘snap book chat-a-gram’ world.”
The dentist uses drills and polishers, but the tools of Kelly’s trade are warm smiles, good questions, skill in reading insurance policy gibberish, and the occasional “bad dad joke,” her favorite being:
What did the dentist say to a waiting patient when he first walked into the room? . . .
“I’m here to fill you in.”
Groan worthy? Yes. Helpful in breaking the ice? Even more so.
So when you first get in touch with us at BSDA this is what you’ll encounter. Someone who is interested in getting to know you, ready and able to help you get the care you need, and hopefully a chuckle or a grin. And this starts at the first phone call. From the earliest moment, our aim is to get to know you. We even jot down notes in your file about any bits we learn about you during the conversation that will help the hygienists and dentists get to know you more quickly. For us, these first conversations aren’t just necessary tasks to get billable patients in chairs, they are a natural part of how we operate and an expression of the kind of relationships we want to have with our patients.
Sometimes life happens at 9:30 pm.
So what about this online booking thing, you may be wondering. Well, many in the dental industry long ago adopted this use of technology, but we have resisted, primarily because of the reasons above. Those conversations on the phone with patients are important touch points for the relationships we want to have. Online booking seemed impersonal, institutional, and detached to us. But we have recognized that for many it would be really helpful and, after all, friends should be helpful.
It has always been a tension point in life that so many things that need doing have to be done during business hours, but business hours are when you are meant to be working at your business! How do you fit it all in? (On a side note, this is actually why we operate our offices Monday through Friday, but our staff all work rotating 4 day weeks, to make room for life!) To make it worse, scheduling appointments for something as exciting as going to the dentist is not what you really want to be doing on your lunch break. The needs of life don’t neatly fit within business hours—sometimes you just don’t get around to things until after the kids are put to bed, or for you early birds, at 5 am over your first cup of coffee.
Fitting into life.
So, we realized that being a good friend to you means being as available as we can, whenever we can. Now, we’re not going to staff the front desk every evening till 10 pm, but we can offer online booking. We can do something that makes that first appointment, or maybe that appointment you’ve been putting off for two years, a little bit easier. You can look at openings, cross check with your calendar, pick your doctor or hygienist. And you can do it when you’ve got that free moment, wherever you are.
We recognize that no one wants to go to the dentist (though we do hope that your experience at BSDA will gradually change that feeling). But since it is a necessary part of life, the least we can do is make sure that we fit it into your life, not the other way around. That’s why we are open 5 days a week, our earliest appointment is at 7 am, and we take pride in being able to book entire families in a single 1-hour slot. Now with online booking to make it even easier, you’re out of excuses! Go to the dentist! Good friends can take a little teasing now and then, right?
A person is still on the other end
Everybody hates having to call businesses to make appointments, hates pushing buttons for options, hates being on hold, hates getting disconnected…almost as much as they hate going to the dentist! But remember, at BSDA there is a friend on the other end of the line. And there is a friend receiving your online booking. Kelly Anne or one of our other staff members will see your name, remember your face, and look forward to seeing you walk through the door. If some info is incomplete or clarification is needed, they’ll give you a ring and help sort it out.
This is how social technology can be best used, not as a substitute for relationships which can suck us away from people, but something that actually facilitates us getting together. So if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, give us a call or click the orange button below to book an appointment. We’ll be happy to see you when you get here, in person.
P.S. If you know someone who needs to get to the dentist, or might enjoy a light read like this one, forward on the email!