Feeling the pulse – what my clients told me yesterday

Extreme Business 2018 London workshop done and my 47 delegates are sent home with spreadsheets, handouts and their heads buzzing with numbers.

I invested quite some time at the start of the day in asking for feedback on Q1 of 2018 – always a chance to feel the pulse of the client base and get a sense of what’s happening out there.

Here are some of my impressions (albeit from a small representative sample of people who are investing in their own futures – in me!).

  • GDPR – everybody knows they have a problem but very few know the answer – there seems to be general expectation that suppliers (software companies and others) are going to miraculously come up with a solution by the implementation deadline;
  • Compliance – there are a lot of my clients who are using iComply (and I have no relationship with the supplier here) to get their systems absolutely nailed – this is taking a lot of management time;
  • Recruitment – nurses are difficult to find, associates are difficult to find;
  • Associates – the older they are the more difficult they are to lead;
  • Apprentice dentists – even I was surprised yesterday by the number of my clients who have chosen this pathway and by the overwhelmingly positive experience they are reporting. To clarify, recruiting associates within one or two years of Foundation Training (still referred to in the room as “VT”) on a basic salary of £35,000 for year one – 4 days a week in their own surgery and one day a week observing and assisting the Principal as a para-dentist. Average first year production confirmed as c.£120,000 and excellent people to have around;
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) – the business of dentistry is now drowning in software and I don’t just mean practice management and digital workflow – delegates reported their journey as they and their teams embrace Evernote (scanning files), Asana (project and task management), Lucidchart (organisational charting), iComply (as stated); Xero (cloud-based accounting and reporting), Slack (team communication away from email) amongst others;
  • Dealing with UDA underperformance and retargeting and wrestling with the NHS Ortho tendering process with a clear desire to escape from the NHS once and for all;
  • The continued frustration with digital promotion to strangers (all that Google and Facebook advertising stuff) and the inability of agencies to illustrate their ROI in clear terms.

On a more positive note, my clients are reporting that what’s bearing fruit is getting to grips with:

  • The Daily Huddle;
  • Patient video testimonials;
  • The End of Treatment Review Protocol;
  • Email patient newsletters;
  • Word of Mouth Referrals.

All that stuff we’ve been going on about for months? It’s working and the level of excitement and anticipation around that is palpable.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.