Is your practice plan provider a chameleon or a dinosaur?
Sheena McCormick explains how DPAS Dental Plans passed with flying colours when it came to hunting down a forward-thinking and flexible patient payment plan.
As any practice manager knows, growing a business requires a chameleon-like ability (and desire) to adapt to meet each and every customer’s expectations. Remain rigid and unbending and your practice may soon become extinct.
To survive and thrive, dental practices need to evolve. In turn, dental payment plan providers should do the same, particularly if they are designed to reflect a practice brand.
A willingness to help create a tailored plan is precisely what inspired Sheena McCormick, practice manager at Newport Pagnell Dental Practice in Buckinghamshire, to make the switch to DPAS.
Having enjoyed a previous association with another payment plan provider, Sheena says that when it came to a point where the practice needed to tweak the plan to meet specific needs of patients, she was left wanting. Sheena explains: ‘We wanted to diversify our plans and our previous provider wasn’t capable of meeting that need. The plan we had was a very good, core dental plan, but as soon as we wanted to enhance our offering for patients, it was a bit stilted. DPAS came along at exactly the right moment.’
Ticking all the boxes
She says the practice even considered switching to a non-branded option but, on investigation, no one ticked the boxes like DPAS.
‘Since implementing our original plan we had gained knowledge and confidence about what we needed and how dental plans worked, so we decided to look around to see whether there were other providers that could meet our needs and, by far, DPAS was the preferred option. Their ability to rise to the challenge with helpful flexibility was not the only attraction – personality and relationship were also key and I felt we clicked straight away.’
Sheena explains: ‘Prior to us even considering other providers, Jo Philpott, who’s now our DPAS practice consultant, would often pop into the practice to chat with the team and see how we were doing; she’d become a friend of our practice – this went a long way to making us feel comfortable and DPAS appear trustworthy and approachable.
‘The willingness of DPAS to flex its style to meet our needs and the fact that the team were happy to negotiate, and understood what we were trying to do and what our reservations were, counted for a lot. DPAS had a lot of experience and case studies to share with us – and we could see a real opportunity.’
This was two and a half years ago and the team at DPAS continues to remain flexible in meeting the practice’s specific requirements.
Sheena says: ‘We can say to the team at DPAS what we’d like to put in our plan and they will come up with suggestions or they will develop a plan that does exactly what we want it to do. Whereas others, especially the smaller plan providers, “do the plans they do” and you have to fit to their specifics. They don’t really fit to you and it’s not personalised.
The transition from start to finish took less than four months and, although Sheena says it was daunting at times, the DPAS team’s confidence and support – ‘preparing letters, making sure we were happy with them and that they were signed off appropriately, that the plan brochures were all prepared and so on’ – made a huge difference.
Since the transition, the practice has seen a tangible increase in the number of patients on the plan. Sheena says: ‘It’s definitely doubled and we’re heading for triple, so it’s rising, rising, rising! That’s fundamentally due to the fact that the process is really easy. We learned the importance of a “soft sell” approach from DPAS and Jo and Ian Eslick, DPAS’ business development manager, both helped us get our price and plan structure right and relevant; they’re more like practice team members than associates — business focused, friendly, approachable and professional.’
She concludes: ‘This plan gives us a meaningful, steady and regular monthly income, which is increasing month on month due to new memberships and happy returning customers. Hopefully, in the future, it will help secure our business against further change and any potential loss or transition of the NHS services we also provide. The plan is delivering exactly what we set out to achieve two and a half years ago. We couldn’t be happier!’
No unexpected fees
The fact that DPAS were upfront about costs and that there were no unexpected fees – in terms of admin charges and any further charges down the line – really helped Sheena with her financial forecasting and was paramount to their successful switch.
Sheena says: ‘I recommend DPAS constantly. And why? Because I completely trust the team, and I think their reputation – and the experience we’ve had – are something worth shouting about.’
DPAS is a specialist provider of practice-branded dental plans for your practice and patients, offering everything the team needs to implement and promote plans effectively. For further information, visit www.dpas.co.uk, email [email protected] or call 01747 870910.