Two friends from USC Dental have perfected the concierge-dentistry model across six practices on the West Coast. How have they done it? Obsessive customer focus, discarding outmoded ways of doing business and—fittingly for Southern California—plenty of good vibes.
Never underestimate the power of friendship—and a good meal.
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Dr. Pasha Hakimzadeh: We met on the first day of dental school during lunch and hit it off. If we weren’t friends first, I don’t think our partnership would have worked. We share the same vision, on the business side but also in life.
Dr. Ben Reyhani: After working in corporate dentistry, we decided to open our first office on the premise that patients are not just numbers. Our vision was long-term and never focused on monthly or quarterly bottom lines.
Help with the front-of-house tasks.
Dr. Pasha: We have this saying when we pick up our calls: “How can I make you smile?” But we go beyond that—we make sure that when you enter our office, you have a personal concierge who greets you and helps you fill out paperwork, because who likes filling out those damn papers? It’s important to make sure our patients have a pleasant experience before meeting the doctor.
There’s this sense that dental offices need to be ‘serious and sterile,’ and we wanted to get rid of that stereotype.”
—Dr. Pasha Hakimzadeh
Lend an ear to your clientele.
Dr. Pasha: By listening, we give our patients good customer service, which should be the norm. Our core values are excellent customer service, quality of care and transparency with fees and finances. As a young dentist, if you stick to these three principles, you’ll have a thriving business.
Reinvent and refresh outdated patient obligations.
Dr. Pasha: Can you imagine being handed a stack of paperwork where most questions feel invasive or irrelevant, then having to wait until someone calls you, 30 minutes after your actual appoint-ment time? That whole process felt archaic to us, and we wanted to change it. Our concierge approach is meant to enable our patients to sit back and not worry about anything—the way you’re sup-posed to feel when you come to the dentist.
Reinvent the practice sensibility.
Dr. Pasha: Our patients can see and feel our energy and our vibe. There’s this standard sense among patients that dental offices need to be “serious and sterile,” and we wanted to get rid of that stereotype.
Dr. Ben: Musically, I go from Julio Iglesias during surgeries to techno when prepping veneers. Don’t judge me.
Draw inspiration from your own experience.
Dr. Pasha: As a kid I was fortunate to travel around the world with my parents, and I always loved the feeling of staying at a nice hotel—you didn’t have to worry about any-thing. We apply that concierge concept to our offices. Just call us and one of our team members can help you take care of every-thing from a car service to booking you a hotel to billing and insurance.
Take a few risks along the way.
Dr. Ben: We have had a vision of growth and an open-minded approach that led us to purchase practices that [sometimes] didn’t work with our overall vision. Ultimately, you have to know when to fold ’em and sell. Every time we “failed,” we saw exponential growth the following year. Every time we were emboldened to make bigger moves and take bigger risks, it also made us believe in ourselves and learn not to make those mistakes again.
Every time we were emboldened to make bigger moves and take bigger risks, it also made us believe in ourselves.”
—Dr. Ben Reyhani
Embrace the future. Respect the past.
Dr. Ben: Technology is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it makes communication extremely easy between labs and dental offices. Restorations can be milled in a fraction of the time it takes for a ceramist to build it. For surgery, it’s been an absolute game changer. The downside is that people can become too reliant on technology and lose the analog human aspects that are needed for true beauty.
Don’t be afraid of hard work.
Dr. Pasha: My advice to the new dental en-trepreneur is to be patient, enjoy the pro-cess, continue learning and do it the right way even if it’s painful in the beginning. You will get there. And that feeling of “aww, man, I did this my way” is priceless. Put in the work and let the rest work itself out.
Dr. Pasha Hakimzadeh, 42, and Dr. Ben Rey-hani, 41, have founded six dental practices in Southern California and are co-owners of the renowned Apa Aesthetic Los Angeles office in Beverly Hills. They also run a management and marketing consulting arm that provides support to dentists. For more from the two of them, please visit IncisalEdgeMagazine.com.
BY KRISTIE CERUTI. PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF DRS. PASHA HAKIMZADEH AND BEN REYHANI