Workshop tour: first-class patient experience without breaking the bank

workshop tour on first-class patient experience

Practice Plan shares the details of their How to Build a Team of High Flyers workshop tour, led by Barry Oulton.

The number of practices handing back their NHS contracts in favour of private practice is climbing every month. This is throwing customer service and the patient journey into sharp focus. As more patients are having to pay private fees for their dentistry, their expectations are rising too.

On this year’s Practice Plan Workshop Tour: How to Build a Team of High Flyers, Dr Barry Oulton aims to show practices how to change their patient experience from budget to premium without excessive financial investment.

All the content for the workshop tour is based around an airline theme. The inspiration for this came from a recent Virgin Atlantic Flight taken by Barry.

‘I was just blown away by the service I received,’ Barry said. ‘The whole experience was brilliant. So, it got me thinking about how we could apply that level of customer service to dental practices.’

The first session is scheduled for take-off on 5 October in Newcastle. Barry is eager to get started on the tour.

‘I’m really looking forward to it,’ he enthuses. ‘I thoroughly enjoy interacting with people, especially in a group setting as I get to help a number of people all at once. It’s when I’m in my element.’

Great communication, that’s the ticket!

As a first-class communicator himself, Barry feels improving the way dental teams communicate with their patients and each other will really help their businesses take off.

‘People don’t know what they don’t know,’ Barry says. ‘We all think we know how to communicate, but what I want to do is to help people to improve their communication by showing them there’s a better way to do things.

‘And, by improving the way you communicate with your patients, you’ll improve your rapport with them and most likely achieve better treatment uptake too.’

However, despite Barry’s obvious aspirations for practices who attend, he tempers it with some realism.

‘I’m not expecting a practice that considers itself at budget level to be able to achieve first class service straight away. That’s probably unrealistic,’ he concedes. ‘What I do want to achieve is for everyone to feel encouraged to become at least a little bit better. I want teams to push themselves a bit this year and then push themselves again next year and so on.

‘That way, you can travel a long way in just a few years. There’s room for everyone to improve, even the practices who consider themselves first class already. It’s about finding small ways to wow your patients. If everyone pushes themselves just a little bit, they’ll see the improvements.’

Gain from no blame

Adopting another analogy with the airline industry, Barry introduces attendees to the idea of ‘black box thinking.’ The aviation industry is renowned for its safety record thanks to its focus on learning from mistakes.

‘To be able to achieve this, we need to establish a no blame culture,’ Barry advises. ‘However, as well as that and just like aviation does, we need to share our findings so that others can avoid the same mistakes too. It enhances the reputation of the profession as a whole if we share our learning.’

Barry hopes that teams will enjoy the day and aims to blow their (flight) socks off! He feels teams will benefit most if as many members as possible come along rather than just one representative.

‘As well as imparting information, the aim of the day is to fill people with enthusiasm and to inspire them to go back to their practices and implement what they learn,’ he says. ‘It’s not as easy to enthuse people if they’re only hearing things second hand.

‘However, if they follow the advice I give them, then they will see a return on their investment. It will definitely have been worth closing the practice for the day.’

If you’d like to work with a membership plan provider who thinks about your needs and supports your business, helping you to find solutions to the things that matter in practice, why not have a chat with Practice Plan? We’ll be at Stand D30 at London Dentistry Show on 6 -7 October. Alternatively, call us on 01691 684165 or visit to find out how easy it is to join the Practice Plan family.

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