To give you some comfort, here is a link to the Blog of the UK Information Commissioner… dental practices even get a positive special mention! https://iconewsblog.org.uk/2017/08/09/gdpr-sorting-the-fact-from-the-fiction/
So, our final words on GDPR are to be sensible, be proportionate, be prepared, be informed and be wary of the myths.
And it’s the importance of being informed in business that I really want to focus on, not more GDPR chatter. It has always fascinated me that the clinical decisions you make each day are based upon being informed about what is in front of you and yet for some, business decisions aren’t made in the same way. I am not talking about the facts overriding instinct and common sense, indeed even Winston Churchill is quoted to have said, when asked how he slept at night “I had no need for cheery dreams, the facts are better than dreams” but to recognise that as the main doer in your dental practice, probably the main fee earner too, you also have to be the main thinker. To think about key questions relating to planning, direction and strategy for example.
All of the decisions that you make, and I mean the big decisions that you should be focusing on, will be better if you have enough width of perspective, and that width of perspective comes from looking up, looking around you and often the numbers and raw data too. We have seen the risks of ignoring this in abundance in 2018. Let’s take marketing for example. As part of our From Your Patient’s Perspective Programme, we have now called and emailed numerous dental practices in order to gauge how easy it is to become a patient. The conclusion, it can be tough. The emails, the telephone, the desk and even the online booking system are all conspiring in many dental practices to do the exact opposite of what you thought they were meant to be doing. Rather than making it easy to become a patient, we have a network of Business Prevention Units that nobody knew or at least wanted to admit existed.
It is unfathomable that dentistry is addicted to qualifying the simple question that any business should be well rehearsed to answer… ”Can I become a customer?”. Surely the answer to that question is “Yes”. No qualification is required at this stage. Sure, we need to find out what is going on their world; needs, wants, timescales, budget etc are all selection criteria for any business and yet so far in 2018 not a single dental practice that we have contacted has recognised this. Instead the knee jerk reaction is to respond with a qualifying statement… yes but not on the NHS, yes but we are a private practice, or even not at the moment (even when owner thinks they are!) and this applies to the phone, the desk and emails. I hope this statement isn’t true and perhaps we have been unlucky with nearly 100 attempts to become a patient, but in 2018 it is a thoroughly miserable experience contacting a dental practice.
And the facts that are missed? White spaces in diaries being created by broad brush marketing strokes that paint a desperate picture of misunderstanding what patient’s want. Critical first human contact being wasted by stating what is already public information and written on dental websites. And because those facts are missed, there is a gold rush to yet more paid for advertising and the cycle continues.
This may apply to you, I hope not but then again how do you know? Outside of dentistry the idea of a ‘funnel’ is so proven and established that it’s almost laughable to see it being introduced as a new idea in dentistry and yet without knowing the facts that any patient funnel will provide, you could be one of the many relying upon cheery dreams.