Awards feature: The icing on the cake

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Awards feature: The icing on the cake

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Awards feature: The icing on the cake


Awards feature: The icing on the cake

A business park in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, might not be considered an ideal location for a dental practice – where's the passing trade? There are, however, 17,000 people working in the area, so when Harry Singh noticed the ad in the local paper for new premises he saw the potential from corporate clients and took the plunge.

In order to build up a patient base, he offered discounts to the surrounding companies, most of which offer corporate packages to staff, so he made sure Aesthetics was the dental practice of choice for the local business people. This took a lot of persistence – he had to keep contacting the companies – but it paid off in the end.

The premises was a brand new plot built entirely to Harry's specification and design. Smita Mistry, senior hygienist at Aesthetics, commented: ‘It was an empty shell when he showed me the shop and I couldn't imagine how it would look, it seemed like such a lot of work – it was a bit scary!' The practice is attractive, simply decorated in white with flashes of dark red to match the logo. The effect is a clean, fresh space that doesn't feel like a dental surgery. It is a relaxed environment with comfortable white sofas and a coffee machine. Aromatherapy fragrances mask those clinical smells that patients find off-putting and there is wifi access – perfect for patients to be able to keep up with work while waiting for their appointment.

Each surgery has a TV screen for patients to watch whatever takes their fancy, or if they prefer, they can choose to listen to piped music instead. The whole
experience is friendlier, more inviting and more spa-like than a routine visit to the dentist.

Friendly atmosphere
All four members of the Aesthetics team started working together before the practice opened, so they were all involved in the hard work it took to prepare for the official launch. They had their induction together, and spend nights out socially after work, all of which has contributed to a group of colleagues becoming friends, something they hope shows in the atmosphere of the practice – and it definitely does.

The team has weekly meetings on Wednesday afternoons where the past week is discussed, along with any problems that need to be addressed and any ideas that people might have. ‘It's really good when we have our meetings, all ideas are talked about as a team and you never feel like anyone will laugh at what you have to say, its quite relaxed,' said Jenna Green, the care co-ordinator and skin therapist at Aesthetics.

Everyone is involved in the decision making and there is a practice manual into which they all had an input. Jenna, Smita and Marian Dilley, the front desk co-ordinator, do not class Harry as a typical boss: ‘Harry is an easy-going and laid back boss – he lets everyone get involved so we all feel like it's a personal success. Financial information about how well the practice is doing is shared openly with us – I've never worked anywhere like that – so we know what we're working towards,' said Smita. Jenna added: ‘Coming from a beauty background I was worried that Harry might be really strict, but he's been great. I'm revising for my nurse's exam and he has set aside time each week to revise with me, so I really feel like I have the backing of my boss.'

“We all want to be a part of the practice's success, so we do what we can because we're working towards the same goal”

Harry explained that when they advertised the front desk and nurse positions they were
inundated with more than 150 applications. He carried out two stages of interviews to make sure the personalities of his new staff would complement the team. Neither Marian or Jenna come from dental backgrounds, but rather than being a hindrance, this just means they have brought their existing skills to the roles. Jenna's beauty skills are being incorporated into the Aesthetics skin health and spa dentistry services that are on offer, while Marian's customer-facing experience shines through at the front desk.

Both of them fancied a role that offered something different and more challenging than they were doing, and they describe their career changes as ‘the best decision ever made'.
When Harry set up the practice he offered a bonus scheme to the staff, but they all declined it. The reason? They all wanted to see the business grow, and simply being a part of that was reward enough.

Secret of success?
Harry believes the work they put into the presentation of the application made them stand out: ‘It was time consuming getting it right, but it was worth it.'

There is a strong team ethic at Aesthetics which is felt by all the staff: ‘Although we have our
definitive roles in the practice, we do all contribute to other areas to make sure we're providing the best service we can.' They all show each other their different job roles, share advice and train together, creating a skilled workforce who happily and comfortably work with each other. ‘We all want to be a part of the practice's success, so we do what we can because we're working towards the same goal,' said Smita. Harry said: ‘It feels like everyone owns the business' – a feeling demonstrated by the hard work everyone puts in.

Even though they were really proud of what they'd achieved, the team hadn't actually expected to win – because the practice is so new. ‘After working so hard to get the practice open, it was fantastic to receive some recognition,' said Smita, ‘It was the icing on the cake, it's a really nice feeling that we get on so well – as colleagues and as friends – and it's good to show everyone what we've achieved.'

The main benefit of winning the award has been reinforcing Aesthetics' good work to their patients. ‘Some of them have come in and said they knew they made the right decision by picking us, the award makes them feel confident in their choice,' said Harry. He also feels that it has helped with word of mouth: ‘Existing patients tell their friends and family that they are pleased with our services, and the awards give us credit to back up the recommendations.'

The awards are shown on the Aesthetics website, which helps to attract new patients – they give credit to the practice and show patients that they will receive a good service. As well as winning Best Team in the south east at the 2008 Dentistry Awards, they also won the Best Marketing award, and were runners up in the Best New Practice, Most Attractive Practice and Most Innovative Practice categories at the 2008 Private Dentistry Awards. They are proudly displayed in the waiting room for all to see: ‘This used to be where we kept the coffee machine, but we decided to display the awards here instead. We're really proud of what we've achieved so we thought, why not' said Harry.

Other dentists have commented on his success when he meets them on courses and at seminars: ‘Its always nice to hear that your peers see you as successful.'

The future
The team's first aim since getting the business up and running was to win an award, and they've certainly done that. Smita explains: ‘Now we're concentrating on becoming really well known in the area and promoting our brand so we are recognised. We want to expand the services we offer, with more surgeries under one roof. The skin treatments and spa experiences we currently have are really popular and we'd like to further this with more facial aesthetics and a bigger team.'

Thinking ahead, Harry commented: ‘I don't think we will be entering this year, not too much has changed since last time – we did so well in 2008 so it would be an anti-climax to enter and not win.' The Aesthetics team is currently busy growing the business and they are very focused on this. ‘We loved the awards last year though, the whole event was so much fun, we even got to meet Kris Akabussi,' said Harry, and I may have caught a glint in his eye that suggests he might be tempted to enter again.

You could be one of the winners of the Dentistry awards 2009! Gain the recognition you deserve and enter by calling Elisa on 01923 851734 o visit for an entry brochure.

 Posted on : Wed 8th - Jul - 2009


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