Eleanor Young talks about the importance of building conversations about finance into your patient journey and being brave in business. She also discusses the biggest issues facing practices today and her optimism for 2021…
What is the most challenging experience you faced while working in practice and how did you deal with it?
It sounds a bit cliché but I think the past six months have probably been the most challenging. I don’t think any of us expected 2020 and everything it’s thrown our way; having to adapt to working in a completely new way has been a challenge but definitely one we can overcome.
I think the next six months will probably continue to be a challenge but all we can do is break it down into one day at a time and eventually we’ll come out the other side.
What are the biggest issues facing practice teams today, and how can they deal with them?
I think there are a lot of issues being faced in practice at the moment, not least the current situation with COVID-19 but I think the constant need to adapt is putting a lot of pressure on practice teams. With regulations, guidelines and protocols changing on a regular basis, it must be so time-consuming having to absorb the information, build in the necessary adjustments required and then disseminate the information to wider teams.
What advice do you have for practices looking to implement patient finance?
There are a couple of areas I would encourage any practice to consider:
- Is your offering fit for purpose? Do the demographics of your patient base or your treatment mix mean you need to be able to offer longer finance terms and therefore need FCA authorisation? Alternatively, will offering six- and ten-months interest-free alone be sufficient to fulfil patient requirements?
- Make sure your team are onboard. You never know who a patient is going to speak to so it’s important the team are up to speed and knowledgeable about your offering so they can feel confident in discussing patient finance.
- Think about where patient finance will fit into your patient journey. All practices should think about how, where, when and who will take care of these conversations. Having a defined patient journey that includes finance will naturally make it that bit easier to implement in practice.
What advice do you have for practices who want to increase their patient finance applications?
It sounds simple but I think the key is to talk about it. Patients won’t always ask the question so where it’s appropriate, I think it’s important the team make sure patients know this is available as an option.
Not all patients will want or need to consider finance but for some it could be the difference between going ahead with treatment or not, so it’s important it becomes part of a routine conversation with patients.
What three key business lessons have you learned from your time in dentistry?
- That some decisions take time, particularly big ones, and in some of the areas we support our clients in, this can be life changing. So it’s important to recognise they aren’t decisions to be taken overnight.
- To provide your evidence. Always make sure you’ve got the information to back up any claims or decisions you make. With the evidence, you always stand a better chance of getting the right result.
- Be brave. Sometimes you have to be brave to overcome challenges or achieve the things you really want.
What do you enjoy most about working in dentistry?
Definitely the people I get to work with on a daily basis, be they clients or colleagues. Without these people, there wouldn’t be a job for me to do so I’m very lucky they’re as fab as they are!
Tell us something that not many people know about you?
Good question…I’m a Tottenham fan? My car’s named Sonny after Son Heung-min!