We travelled to the capital of Norway, Oslo to learn more about the dental clinic Dentales. The clinic has two locations, one in Lysaker Torg and a newly established in Aker Brygge. We visited the showcase location Aker Brygge, which is Oslo’s old industrial area that was transformed into the city’s most vibrant social space. The clinic itself is located in a readapted shipyard building. It was opened in August 2014 and is equipped in six XO 4 workstations in the color Midnight Black. We met with the CEO of the company Halvor Gjone and had a chat about how the clinic was established, how it is organized and what does it take to run a dental business in Norway. We started from asking about how it all begun:
We came up with an idea to create Dentales in 2011. The head dentist at Dentales Lysaker, [Arild Aarnseth] was thinking about a way to optimize the concept of a dental practice for few years. We started from creating a model: personnel organized into teams, a new type of contracts for dentist, new ergonomics and an emphasis on customers experience and improvement of dental team skills on a daily basis. We realized it in 2013. The idea was to create a model that is repeatable, and can be adapted to new clinics.
A visible trend in the market is that there will be fewer small clinics and more large clinics and I think that the size of our clinic [Dentales Aker Brygge] is ideal - this is the future. Many dentists are happy with how they run their clinics, but we see a lot of examples of clinics with a fast growth curve, that require administration. We organized our company in a way that the dentists can take care about being dentists and not spend time on other things. We have a functional administration consisting of me, the CFO Morten Strøhm and Silje Helen Gusjås who is responsible for Marketing.
After a tour through the Dentales clinic we were amazed with how detailed and embraced is the patient experience. Starting from a nice and welcoming personnel, throughout two entrances to the treatment rooms, one for a patient and one for dental professional, finishing on a warm and relaxing towel that patient gets after being seated in the patient chair. When discussing it with Halvor he instructed us that they call their patient “a patient” only when they are in a treatment room, in all other situations they call them their “customers”. He also explained us how do they define the patient handling process, which in Dentales is called: the customer’s journey.
[In Dentales] we emphasize the dental skills and treatment quality which are really difficult for a patient to evaluate or score. It is however much easier for them to assess the experience they had. We have pointed out 23 moments in this [customer’s] journey. Out of those there are 5 parts that are the most important: when the patient is getting in contact with us, the first impression when they come to the clinic, the moment when they meet their team, the moment when they finish the treatment and the last element - the payment situation. We established routines for this and we are using this year to implement them. Those are not only the obvious elements like giving your customer a big smile and looking into their eyes.
What values do you want to represent as Dentales?
Our philosophy is that we build our company through building people. A strong team spirit enhances an optimal work and creates a link between the dental team and the reception team. We also focus on customer’s needs and we want to provide a good experience for everyone. A good experience for everyone [Dentales slogan] requires openness, credibility and mutual respect and if I just say it like this, it may seem a little bit like putting a finger in the air, something empty. Therefore we have to give a meaning to it every day. Every day we ask ourselves “Will this give a good experience to our employees and our patients?” If yes, go for it. If not, we don’t do it. This can be applied to equipment or anything else. Those are the small things that make the difference.
We also have a mantra that links directly to the model that we created. If we can create a routine in our clinics, it should be also possible to apply it in a future clinic. Those are the things that help us to develop our company. If we are not able to replicate it, we shouldn’t do it.
What do you think about the dental market in Norway?
It is very encouraging [to lead a dental clinic in Norway] and it is very motivating. I myself am originally a physiotherapist with 20 years of experience in running a clinic and a training center. I find this very helpful, I see many of the same elements. I also have a Management education from business school in Oslo. A link between people with managerial skills and people with the dental skills is much needed. It develops our branch and the clinics. When it comes to marketing and model thinking I find Norway an immature market. It works here a little bit like kick and run. In Denmark or in USA there is a much more professional approach. I do not mean the dental approach, but the professional approach.
Why did you decide to choose XO 4 units?
It is the design with emphasis on patient’s comfort, the functionality and of course the reliability. Also the possibility to work with two or four hands. We call it a ‘microdelegation’, which is delegating tasks to dental hygienist or dental assistant. Delegation is a very important element of our model.
Aker Brygge is a beautiful area, but we can imagine that space here is quite expensive, could you tell us why did you choose this area?
Aker Brygge is a hot spot in Oslo, but it is not only hot people that are visiting us. People from all over Oslo who work in Aker Brygge come to us, yet our prices here are the same as in Lysaker [second Dentales clinc]. For us it is an important place to be and present our way and a model of running a dental clinic.
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