One Big Happy Family After Closing
My favorite visit to the dentist-a patient’s/business broker’s perspective
A couple of months ago I made my somewhat dreaded bi-annual trip to the dentist. (I have become much more consistent with my check-ups as time goes by.) Anyway, a week before my scheduled visit I got a letter in the mail announcing that my old dentist, Dr. Morrow was retiring and the new dentist, Paul Doughty had bought the practice and would be taking over.
I must admit that I read this news perhaps very differently than Dr. Morrow’s other patients. After all, since I am a business broker, this is right up my alley. This ended up being quite an eye opening experience for me.
The letter I got was a good letter. It was very simple, direct and included some personal notes from Dr. Doughty. I didn’t spend too much time reading it really. My first thought was, “ok…at least my appointment is the same and this is really not that big of an inconvenience.” I was glad to have the letter so I knew what to expect. Switching never really crossed my mind even though I liked Dr. Morrow very much. We moved to Charleston in 2000 and were referred to him when we moved here. He was good with us and good with our kids. Once I was on vacation and bit into a wing-nut. You read that correctly…I bit into a stainless steel wing-nut in a restaurant and it sheered a few of my back teeth. Dr. Morrow was one of those most practical older professionals. He took care of those teeth by essentially polishing the rough spots and writing the company a letter saying that these teeth were ok now, but the trauma could take years to actually show-up. Without going into too much detail here, he basically did just the right amount of service. He took care of my problem without undue cost, time, effort and pain on either his part or mine. That is just the kind of professional service that I appreciate. You get my point…Dr. Morrow was a good dentist. No…he was a great dentist.
A few years earlier, Dr. Morrow had left for reserve duty and we actually did go and find another dentist which we didn’t like nearly as much. Long story short-switching didn’t occur to us.
Back to my recent visit-I sit in the chair and Tammy comes in to clean my teeth as always. I asked her how she liked her new boss. She said he’s nice. Then she leaned over and whispered that they had no idea this was happening and that it was sprung on them rather suddenly. I just listened, but I could tell there was still a lot of tension from the changes taking place. I noticed some new paint in the bathroom. Change was sort of in the air.
A good first impression
After my cleaning, Dr. Doughty entered and introduced himself. He struck me as a very warm and genuine young dentist. My first impression was that he would do well. He has an ease about him that was similar to Dr. Morrow. Anyway, I told him I was a broker and offered to take him to lunch. I believe he thought maybe I was trying to sell him something, but I let him know I was really just curious so he finally agreed.
When we went to lunch and got to know each other a bit, he shared with me how much worrying was involved in the purchase and how nervous he was about everything. I gave him one main bit of advice which he has since implemented with great results.
I advised him to get to know his staff better. He went that week and bought them Subway sandwiches for lunch. Later he had a big cook-out and invited all of the families. The staff and their families are getting to know Dr. Doughty and his wife on a personal, as well as on a professional level and it is making all the difference in the world.
A couple of months after my appointment, my wife went in for hers. As she sat in the chair, Tammy leaned over and whispered…”WE LOVE DR. DOUGHTY. I am going to work here forever. When he first came in, some of us had gotten our resumes ready, but now it’s hard to imagine working for anyone else. I’ll probably retire here.”
Happy Staff = Happy Clients
The moral of the story is to take care of your people first. Take care of the clients too, but your staff who have had long relationships with clients are crucial to the success of your new business.