Why teamwork is everything and how it’s helping to grow her practices, according to clinic co-owner Lucy Patel.
Six years ago my husband Kunal and I were running what I would deem a reasonably successful practice, Loveteeth Dental.
Of course, there is always room for improvement. But it was pleasing to see how things were progressing.
However, our prospects would change forever when our Invisalign territory manager challenged us and asked why we were not offering Invisalign treatment and why we did not have an Itero intraoral scanner in our practice.
As impulsive as it may seem, we purchased the scanner without carrying out a single Invisalign case.
Within a year, we carried out 250 cases, which was a significant achievement.
Today we have turned the practice from 90% NHS to 90% private and are in the process of buying two further clinics – including a squat – simultaneously. Naturally, the Itero scanner is on our ‘must-have’ list of purchases for these, too.
The future looks bright, however none of this would have been possible as the ‘Lucy show’ or the ‘Kunal show’ are nothing without our team. We largely attribute our success to every member of our team. We are immensely grateful for their efforts day in, day out.
‘All kinds of beautiful fruits’
Interestingly, my role with the Invisalign system was not part of a plan at all. I fell into it almost by accident – but I would like to think I earned my place.
I was a dental nurse for over six years. Followed by four years as a treatment coordinator, practice manager and co-owner of Love Teeth dental with Kunal.
I genuinely think that being a team member myself helped tremendously. Not only to understand my team, communicate to them what patients want and need, but also know how to motivate every member.
I really get a buzz from encouraging our teams’ growth and get excited by people’s successes.
I often use the analogy of the fruit bowl with people being all kinds of beautiful fruits. Every member of the team has its own individuality, strengths and weaknesses. It is my role to ensure that the bananas are kept separate from the other fruits to avoid any rotting process.
It is hugely important to listen to everyone and offer the right platform to make them feel valued and respected, in the hope that it can encourage them to become the best version of themselves.
I recognise that some people are ‘auditory’ and want to know facts. So highlighting that Align Technology has over 9.6 million smile transformations under its belt is reassuring them about the effective delivery of the treatment.
Others are very ‘visual’ and enjoy showing the before and after Invisalign Smileview tool imagery.
And then we have the team members who need involvement in the scanning because they are process driven.
I try to instil a sense of ownership amongst my team by positioning them in the right places. This way they can play to their strengths to blossom and shine.
Going the extra mile
Another big focus of Loveteeth Dental is the personal touch we offer our patients.
Throughout my various roles, I have learnt a lot about consumer behaviours. I feel that patients should experience the best patient journey, whilst being provided with clinical excellence.
So, for instance, we decided to invest in a scent machine – the same one that many hotels use. This way our dental practice does not smell of the dreaded ‘dental practice smell’.
I empathise with this, as I personally struggle with the smell of chlorine in pools.
So, if some of my patients feel less anxious and nervous because we went that extra mile for them, then I am very happy. It is about caring and pushing yourself to deliver the best experience possible.
If I look back and reminisce that day when that Invisalign territory manager visited us, there is no doubt that he triggered our practice growth, which has largely been the result of our belief in the Invisalign system and the capabilities of the Itero scanner. So much so that we now have four Itero units!
Our figures speak for themselves: a few months ago, we held our first ever Invisalign Practice Day (IPD), which was attended by 60 potential patients who all proceeded to sign up for Invisalign treatments at the event. And all this in the middle of lockdown restrictions
Both our practice journey and exponential growth impressed Align Technology. It has given us both the opportunity to speak for the company to help other clinics to emulate some of our successes. It is so flattering that we are an inspiration for others.
Most recently, the company has asked me to become one of its speakers for its UK GP forum and practice team training events about digitalising the practice and creating an exemplary the patient journey.
Kunal and I just never take anything for granted. We always check up on our team and strongly believe that if they thrive, the practice thrives. So it is definitely our combined success!
Without my team and the Invisalign system, we would not be where we are today. I feel blessed.
To register for the next practice team training event, we advise that you speak to the Invisalign provider in your practice or your territory manager in the first instance.
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