10 Feb 2023  •  Blog, Customer Service  •  3min read By  • Les Jones

Sort your core and let the chips fall where they may

Practice Plan’s Creative Director, Les Jones, talks about the importance of nailing your fundamental purpose in business.

Over the new year, I went away with my wife and a group of friends to the Welsh coast for a few days, for a bit of post-Christmas R and R.

On one of the days, after a lovely walk on the beach in the mild weather, we walked along the promenade and stopped for some fish and chips, to be eaten whilst sitting on a bench looking out to sea – perfect.

Except it wasn’t, perfect that is.

Whilst the shop was well laid out and spotlessly clean and the people serving were friendly and pleasant, the fish and chips were far from perfect. The batter on the fish was way too greasy and the chips were grey and limp and left a fatty taste in the mouth. It wasn’t a good experience and we only got part way through before throwing the rest in a nearby bin.

When speaking at events, I’ve often talked about the principle of ‘Core and Surround’. This is how most people will make a decision to buy from a certain company based, not on the core product or service, but on what surrounds that core – e.g. you’re most likely to choose a hotel based on the convenience of its location, whether or not it has a gym, or perhaps how it fits your budget – above whether it can provide a room and a bed (the core service).

Dentistry fits this model very well. Most prospective patients take the quality of the dentistry for granted – it’s a given. So, they’ll make their decision based on things like the ease of parking, how friendly and helpful the person on the front desk was, even how your website makes them feel.

But of course, in the medium to long-term the ‘Core and Surround’ principle only holds true if the core product or service is a given. If it’s not, then things can fall apart very quickly.

The fish and chip shop we visited had one core function to get right – to make fantastic fish and chips. But it failed and no amount of friendly service or nice decor could make us go back or recommend it to friends or relatives. Quite the opposite, in fact.

So, before concentrating on the surrounding stuff (which is important), my advice to every member of your team is to take responsibility for their own area and absolutely nail the core reason why they exist within the practice.

For the front desk team, that means being the epitome of fantastic service and communication; for the dental nurses it’s making each appointment or treatment as seamless as possible for the dentist and the patient; and, of course, for the dentist it’s about delivering amazing dentistry (we know you do).

It’s only when the core responsibilities of each team member are consistently delivered to a very high standard that you should look to enhance the patient experience by turning your attention to the surrounding elements.














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