Last week while on vacation in Honolulu my son broke a previously repaired front tooth. As a teenager this was a big deal to him and he wanted to get it fixed right away instead of waiting til we got home.

Guess what? Dentists have office hours on Sunday!

This is incredible to me. Dentists have traditionally only worked four days a week and been closed on Fridays. When did this seven day a week business happen? I checked when I got home and found that two of the big dental chains offer Saturday appointments (no Sunday yet). Why are dentists willing to work six or seven days a week?

Because they have to!

In the last ten or twenty years the dental “business” has changed. Not only are more dentists working for chain operations (read: a business) but the nature of the consumer has continued to change as well. Consumers, affected by the speed and convenience of purchasing on the Internet, have demanded that services be provided to them 24/7 not just when convenient to the service provider. And dentists, in order to make a living and prosper, have responded to the consumer demand by changing their business model and hours.

Not all dentists have done this obviously. There are still traditional dentists open 8 to 5 and Monday through Thursday. Here is what Dr. Michael Kesner had to say recently in “Dental Economics”:

“Things have changed! We are in a global economic transition that is impacting all businesses including dental businesses. The bad news is that most dentists’ practice revenues and personal incomes have either remained flat or declined. The good news is that it does not have to be this way. There are two different responses you can have to this new economic climate. One is to “hunker down” and hope these problems blow over and things get back to the way they used to be. I do not think this is going to happen anytime soon. Another response is to make dramatic changes in the way you practice the business of dentistry.”

One of the changes dentists are making is to increase the number of hours and days they are open to attract an increasingly busy clientele!

What does this have to do with insurance? The answer should be obvious. If dentists have to change their hours to continue to attract customers what do insurance agents have to do, in the same 24/7 internet world, to attract and retain customers?

If we don’t adapt to the new realities of the marketplace we will not survive long term. What are you going to do about that?

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