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The Patient Journey…

When all is said and done

Put the phrase “patient journey” into Google and you will get 59,600,000 results in 0.33 seconds, that is faster than I can click my fingers. Try another one “customer service” and you get over a billion (1,130,000,000 in case you cared) in 0.2 seconds which must be close to the legendary “blink of an eye”.

So it’s a pretty good guess that there should be nothing left to write or speak about either “customer service” or its clinical cousin “patient journey”. Nobody doubts the importance of taking good care of our patients they are our customers and everyone knows that they pay our wages; don’t they?

Practices both large and small pay significant sums to be trained and give up days of clinical work so that practice owners can be sure they everyone is ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’. They ensure that every step of the patient journey is mapped and rehearsed so that the baton is never dropped or the champagne spilled.

Yet many dental businesses fall down in their relationships with their customers.

In Simon Sinek’s excellent TED talk he describes the three concentric circles of successful business leadership.

  • The Outer Circle – What we do. Everyone knows.
  • The Middle Circle – How. The USP or differentiation of the business. Some people know
  • The Inner Circle – Why. The purpose and belief. Why you get out of bed in the morning. Not everyone knows.

Most businesses work from out to in – the great businesses work from in to out.

Unless the owner knows and fully understands why they are doing what they are doing and, more important, has shared that with everyone in the business then no amount of training, role-playing or scripts will produce success.

If the only reason that you get out of bed in the morning is to make money, to survive or to get through the day then not only will your team know it your patients and customers will know it too.

It is no longer enough to be skilled clinicians, with impeccable margins, post-endodontic treatment x-rays to die for and implant survival more than 95% over a decade. That is presumed by patients, if you can’t do dentistry like that why are you a clinician in the first place?

John Maxwell’s often quoted phrase “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” has become a cliché which means that it is as true as it has ever been.

I know that many dentists aren’t comfortable with the concept of leadership yet it comes in many forms and the first, second and third lessons are to understand why you do, what you do, share your motivations then do it to the very best of your ability.

So go back to your team, share your dream and encourage them to embrace and run with your ideals and vision – they will.

Stop paying lip-service to customer service and the patient journey and encourage everyone to take a long hard look at the way they work and why they work.

“When all is said and done there is a lot more said than done” – Lou Holtz


Dr Alun Rees BDS runs Dental Business Partners to help dentists build their perfect practice. An experienced dental practice owner who changed career he now works as a consultant, coach, analyst, speaker and writer. He brings the wisdom gained from his and others successes to help his clients achieve the rewards their work and dedication deserve.

He can be reached at or on 07778 148583

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