Having taken over as president of Patterson Dental North America in November, Dave Misiak brings a breadth of sales and management experience gleaned during more than 20 years with the company— from working as a territory rep to serving as vice president of sales. As he moves into his new role, Misiak is focused on the challenges facing the dentists of today and tomorrow, and on the long-term strategy of the business. With the roll-out of the company’s cloud-based Fuse practice management software this year, we sat down with him to discuss these issues and initiatives.
Q: What are the challenges facing the dental practitioner, and how can Patterson Dental help?
A: When we talk about the private practice, the challenges center on wanting new patients, reappointing existing patients, and having patients accept necessary treatment. We’ve been focused on building local strategies with each of those customers to accomplish their goals and overcome their challenges. Helping them with those issues really starts in the field with our salespeople, knee to knee with customers, talking to them about business solutions. And that could be in the form of practice management software, product expertise, patient education, chairside CAD/CAM and digital dentistry.
We believe we are best in class at not just helping the customer become successful, but at providing the support and infrastructure for those products and services. We have made many significant investments in in-person and call center support to ensure that our customers can practice with the confidence that we will support them.
It’s one thing to sell practice management software and digital products, and even chairside CAD/CAM. It’s another thing completely to help clients be successful with it and really address the business issues.
We really spend time helping customers be successful and integrate, and when things go wrong with technology, we keep our customers up and running. And I think we’re the best in dental—and I would say in the world—at selling, supporting, and servicing technology that addresses key business issues. We want our customers to have confidence in their technology investments.
Q: How do you help the dentist who invests in a piece of technology but fails to use it properly?
A: Implementing and making sure that the products are being used successfully, with technology in particular, is really important to us. Anyone can sell products. We believe in long-term relationships and we invest in training, robust sales support, and regular check-ins with our customers.
We’ve all seen customers who are excited about a piece of equipment that they buy, and they don’t have a really strong integration path or partner to help them ensure that the product is going to be used properly. And it’s everything from the training on the product to the staff integration to patient communication that I think we really excel in to be sure that customers are going to be successful.
Q: Where do you see Fuse, the new practice management software, fitting into all of this?
A: Helping practices become more sophisticated in terms of their business intelligence and how they run their practice is really what practice management software can do. And as we look at the needs of both single- and multiple-location practices, we see an opportunity to really help them on the practice management side. As practices consolidate, they want business tools like cloud-based software to be able to run their practices and really become more efficient and streamlined with business intelligence and clinical information. Implementing a cloud-based solution is going to give them the ability to do that.
As with so many things we do in our personal lives, from shopping to banking, the operation of a dental practice is going to move to the cloud. And we see Fuse as our next-level opportunity to help any dental practice that embraces technology and needs access on-the-go to be able to seamlessly manage their business.
Fuse is an integral part of our strategy to grow and really address those business issues that any dental practice might have, whether they’re a private practice, multi-location practice, or DSO. And that means helping them get new patients, reappoint existing patients, and having patients accept necessary treatment.
Q: How critical is your support service from the Patterson Technology Center (PTC)?
A: When you go to the PTC and listen to those folks interact with customers in terms of being able to do remote diagnostics for issues that a customer might be having with practice management software, or design with a CEREC, or imaging with cone beam, a lot of that is about speed and convenience, which is the world we live in today. For us, it’s about convenience for the customer. We have hundreds of in-demand service technicians, and if we don’t have to deploy a service technician— so that person can go where there’s a real problem, where they might have to change a board or turn wrenches—and the PTC can resolve the issue over the phone, that’s good for the customer and that’s good for our organization. So, the PTC is really mission critical to what we do each and every day at Patterson. We’ll continue to grow that, and it’ll be a huge part of what we do to support Fuse and the roll-out of that product to make sure Fuse customers are successful.
Q: Looking at the big picture, where do you see things headed?
A: We are in transformation to better serve what is an evolving market in terms of the buying habits and consolidations, and we want to be the best in class to help our customers grow no matter what their needs are in the future. We believe it is still about relationships, and the customer wants the best partner to help them grow and to anticipate their future needs. With our service and support infrastructure, and by offering the most innovative tools and technologies, we are in a great position to help all of our customers be successful.
The customers are changing, and we are changing to meet their needs.