Joe Strom was an Army bratt growing up in Germany and Washington DC. He received a full ride scholarship to The Ohio State university and was commissioned as an Armor officer in the US Army upon graduation. His training was primarily on the M1A1 Abrams Tank and spent 12 years in the US Army Reserves. The first part of his civilian career was spent working in Sales and Sales Management in the bio-tech and Medical Device industry primarily working for Johnson and Johnson. In 2004 a friend talked him into leaving the corporate treadmill and help build a technology SAAS company. This is where he fell in love with technology and how it can help businesses be successful. He was fortunate enough to see this company through an acquisition from its biggest competitor. After a successful transition, he started acquiring rental properties and for a few years he built a successful real estate portfolio of multi-family units. He still had that bug for SAAS startups and in 2015 went to Weave as the VP of Sales. Here is where he was introduced to the dental industry and cut his teeth so to speak. Later that year he left Weave and drove carpool for 18 months. It was then he realized that there was a huge need for information and there needed to be a way to provide this without making offices have big infrastructure changes. Offices wanted a solution that gives them information when calls come in but want it to be easy. That is when Callpop was born.
VIDEO - DUwHF #1077 - Joe Strom
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Howard: We're in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. So we look out the windows at the Grand Tetons, we're down the road from Yellowstone. You're from American Fork, Utah, how far a drive is that?
Joe: It's about six hours.
Howard: Six hours. I still think the single greatest drive on earth is you go up Phoenix, go around the Grand Canyon, go up to Utah, Idaho. I forgot where, but anyway, it's a thousand-mile drive and it is truly, half the time you think you're on a different planet.
Joe: Yeah, I was half of that today. So central Utah up through northern Utah, southern Idaho then over into Wyoming.
Howard: That is amazing. So you were an army brat growing up in Germany, Washington DC. He received a Fulbright scholarship to the Ohio State University and was commissioned as an armour officer in the US army upon graduation. His training was primarily on the M1A1 Abrams tank and he spent twelve years in the US army reserves. Thank you for serving. The first part of his civilian career was spent working in sales and sales management in the biotech and medical device industry, primarily working for Johnson and Johnson. In 2004 a friend talked him into leaving the corporate treadmill and help build a technology SaaS company. What do you mean by SaaS?
Joe: So SaaS company – software as a service
Howard: Software as a service company. This is where he fell in love with technology and how it can help business be successful. He was fortunate enough to see this company through an acquisition from its biggest competitor. After a successful transition, he started acquiring rental properties and for a few years he built a successful real estate portfolio of multifamily units. He still had the bug for SaaS start-ups – software as a service.
Joe: Yeah, it's a common terminology. SaaS, SaaS model.
Howard: And in 2015 went to Weave as the Vice President of Sales. Here's where he was introduced to the dental industry and cut his teeth so to speak. Later that year, he left Weave and drove carpool for eighteen months. It was then he realized that there was a huge need for information and there needed to be a way to provide this without making offices have big infrastructure changes. Offices wanted a solution that gave them information when calls come in but want it to be easy. That is where Callpop was born. So how is Callpop doing? How old is it and how's it doing?
Joe: We launched commercially at the first part of this year. We are growing, we are adding customers every day and certainly I think on the right path. Callpop as an organization I think has validity in many different verticals. Currently we're focused on the dental industry. And so, what I like to say about Callpop is... well let me ask it this way – Have you ever walked into a restaurant and they recognize you? And they say, "Howard, you want your same table" or you're sitting down, and the server says, "last time you had a steak, you want medium?" Right? How does that make you feel? You feel important. You feel, wow, these people know me, it makes you feel good. And so that's what we do with Callpop. And so, I'm sure you've called a business or I'm sure patients have called a dental office and they've been a patient for years and the receptionist says, "have you been in before?" Or "how do you spell that?" It just doesn't make you feel good. And so, what we do with Callpop is we help patients feel like you felt or how I felt in a restaurant when they recognize you. It's like Cheers where everybody knows your name.
Howard: So, when the incoming call comes in, if you're on say Dentrix, which is out of Utah, it would pull up the screen.
Joe: Yeah. We have a small piece of hardware that acts like a phone, whether you're VoIP or landline, we don't care. What the hardware does is it...
Howard: Let's talk about that because you're going over some of my homies' head there. They're dentists, they do root canals. So, you said VoIP, that's voice over internet?
Joe: Voice Over IP.
Howard: Okay. VoIP versus landline.
Joe: There's basically two standards of phone service – there's pots or plain old telephone service, what we've had forever, right? And then what's relatively new and growing rapidly is VOIP - Voice Over IP - and so the difference is pots, you're on a physical landline in the ground and it connects to the old telecom companies. VOIP is over the Internet and so you can have a phone anywhere as long as it's plugged in to the internet.
Howard: But you know on Dentaltown there's a lot of people bitching about VOIP, a lot of people say it's bleeding edge, it's not leading edge. And they say that when you're surfing Facebook you don't realize but when it's your incoming calls and it goes out for forty-five minutes, it's a nightmare. Do you agree with that that VoIP Is bleeding edge not leading edge?
Joe: Well, I'll answer that this way. The company I used to work for is a VoIP company and the biggest complaint we received was the phone service. Everybody loved the screen pop or the call pop technology, the phones were left to be desired and there's a lot of reasons why it's bleeding edge. If you have really good bandwidth and it's connected correctly, it can be really good. And so a lot of the issues around VoIP technology could be the provider, but it could also just be how much bandwidth do you have? Because VoIP requires a lot of bandwidth. If you don't have a lot of bandwidth and you have a VoIP system, it's going to have lots of problems. You're going to have dropped calls. And so, the beauty about Callpop is we don't care what phone company you have, you get to make that decision whether you're VoIP, if you're in an area where VoIP is supported and there's lots of bandwidth, great. If you're in an area where VoIP isn't supported because the bandwidth is poor and you have a landline, great.
Howard: But, what percent of the American dentist right now, just dentists in America from Weave, from Callpop. What percent are going with VoIP versus a landline?
Joe: It's – and this is my estimation, I don't know what the official numbers are – It's probably fifty/fifty.
Joe: Yeah, but you're seeing – I had an office the other day tell me the builder will not bring in a landline. And so I think you're going to see more and more people going to VoIP.
Howard: It reminds me of a story from my dental office. I put television on the ceilings and wouldn't have cable television and they had just got done repairing 48th Street and to bring that cable to that centre because in that twenty-acre centre, nobody had cable and they ended up having to tear that street up and all week all the patients were coming in and saying, Phoenix is so stupid, they just had that street torn up for a month and now they're tearing it up again. And I'm thinking, that's because they're getting a cable line. So you were talking about the box...
Joe: Yeah, that's it. There's one in my bag, in the front pocket right there.
Howard: So your landline comes in...
Joe: Whether it's landline or VoIP our piece of hardware really just acts like a phone that doesn't do anything. Here we go. So this is our piece of hardware, right? We actually engineered this, we developed it, we filed for patents. And so, if you're landline you would plug that in just like a phone and then you plug it into the Internet and it acts like a phone. It doesn't ring. It's kind of a dead end. So when a call comes in the office, this box receives the caller ID information and then inside here, in addition, I have a small computer processor. Caller ID hits this box, the processor then sends that ten-digit number to my cloud, right? It calls home to me saying Dr Farran is getting a call from this phone number. And then what we do is we have an integration and you've mentioned Dentrix, right? So when we install, we do an integration to Dentrix and now I know that Dr Farran's getting a call from this area code and phone number, I go to your database and I say whose number is this and who's in the family and who needs treatment? Are there any birthdays? Do they owe us any money? So I create a list of things so that when the receptionist answers the phone, actually before they answer the phone, they get a Callpop on the screen with a list of things to talk about. And so, what it does is it enables the receptionist to help him or her make this customer feel like you felt at the restaurant. Right. You feel good. Typically, as I've been in an office that doesn't use Callpop, you know, hey, this is Joe Kozinski, I'm calling to get an appointment. Okay. How do you spell that? And they're holding the phone, they're trying to type, they have a patient they're checking out and they say hold on a second, I'll be right with you. Okay, spell that again. They're trying to type and they're trying to get into the record. They finally get to the record. Okay, you need an appointment. Tuesday at four. Great. We'll see you then. Thanks. Bye. Boom. Okay. How can I help you? With Callpop, before they pick up the phone, it says Joe needs an appointment. His three kids need an appointment. His wife's birthday's next week and he owes us fifty bucks. So the call's much different now – Oh, hey Joe. How's it going? Yeah, it looks like you need an appointment, but so do your three kids. I don't know how we missed that. Could we schedule that at the same time? You can all come together, and it looks like it's your wife's birthday next week. You guys going to do anything fun? Right? And so, it's hard to put a value on that, right? Because now instead of, how do you spell that? The patients like, wow, they know me. What happened there? The doctor gets four appointments now instead of one, he could also collect some money if they wanted to collect it over the phone. And so the benefits of Callpop to the practice is they're going to drive more revenue, they're also going to provide a better customer experience and it's hard to put a value on that. But I love that restaurant example because it's happened to most everybody and we can all relate with that and we've all called a business where we've been a customer for years and they don't know who we are and so we know what that feels like.
Howard: And that's all I remember because being a dentist for thirty years, a hundred times someone will have only one crown in their mouth and I'll say, well who did that crown? They don't remember. Damn! Somebody got in your mouth, did a crown. Did you ever wake up on the sidewalk and see some man running down? I said they never remember anything you do. They only remember how you made them feel.
Joe: That's right.
Howard: They only know they liked you. And then the other thing that biases, whatever tooth you worked on last, when any of your teeth break, they always think the last guy who touched your mouth did it. So when you're a young dentist, you're watching this and you're having a conniption because your patient's like "that filling you did, the whole thing fell out". You're laying there coughing up blood clots. Trust me, it's never that tooth. It's just, you were in their mouth. They don't remember what tooth you did. They don't remember anything. They just remember if they liked.
Joe: That's right. Think of when you were in high school, right? And were there any classes that you can remember that really affected your life? And the reality of it is no, but you remember people that made you feel good, right? You remember teachers, right? We can all remember a teacher. And why do you remember that teacher? Wow. Because they made me feel good. So I think it's the same thing from a dental practice. If you make them feel good, they're going to remember you and what they're going to do is they're going to share that with their friends. Wow, you should go see Howard. He's awesome. Not only that, they knew my kids needed an appointment.
Howard: So, how much is this? Well first of all I see that you worked with, you have Open Dental, Dolphin, Dentrix – if a young kid was walking out of dental school right now and said you work with all these (indistinct) manual systems and I know you really feel that you can't say anything because you got to be politically correct for them all. We call it channel conflict.
Howard: Or can you actually throw any of them under bus? Who would you pick?
Joe: Well, that's a hard question to answer. Taking the political correctness out of it, because I hate the political correctness., I've never worked with them. And so, it'd be hard for me to say, oh, this one's better, this one's easier, you know. Dentrix, they're, easy to work with in some respects and difficult and others. Eaglesoft same thing, different issues but other benefits. Open Dental, same thing. And so it's hard for me to say because I'm not a dentist and I'm not using them, but we work with all of them and we try to be Switzerland and it's hard for us to recommend one because we don't have the experience.
Howard: But those are the three big ones. Dentrix probably is what, 30% of the cells
Joe: About thirty-six I think.
Howard: And then Eagle Soft would be probably twenty-five.
Joe: Roughly, yeah.
Howard: And then Open Dental, Open Dental has the most raving fans though. Oh, I want to ask you this. So today on my own website, Dentaltown, guess who bought the daily sponsor ad.
Howard: And they were announcing that Dentsply Sirona had all their products there. And I opened the ad and my God, because it used to be, you could buy all these products but we didn't know who it was. Someone was buying this stuff in any other country and reselling them. This is actually Dentsply Sirona.
Howard: They are here. What do you think of that, think it's going to be a disruptor, a Patterson and Schein?
Joe: I think it has a lot of potential to be very disruptive. but I think disruptive technologies are good because it keeps people on their toes.
Howard: I can see a fifty-year-old – I'm fifty-five – I mean when I go to the chase I still walk in. I can't believe anybody would stop at the ATM machine when Lisa and Lori are right behind the door and you get a free sucker and all that stuff. But I see the millennials buying everything on their phone. And what's really weird is we're seeing that in dentistry now where when you have a bridge to schedule an appointment online, millennials would rather call ten o'clock at night and schedule it than during the day and talk to a human. That's quite a different behaviour.
Joe: Yeah. I was talking to someone the other day and you know, millennials, it's hard for them to relate, let's say if someone dies, but they know what Emoji to send. It's hard for them to go to someone and say I'm so sorry and you're in our prayers, but they can send the right Emoji. And so it's just a different way of communicating and it is reality. And so I think if you want to be disruptive, you're going to have to address it. If you ignore it and think it's not going to be relevant then your business, I think we'll have limited.
Howard: So this is dentistry in the centre. What does this cost? Training? Videos? How does someone get ramped up on this?
Joe: You can go to Callpop.com and we have a button on there - request a demo - that gives us information on who you are. Then we'll be in touch with you. We do have some online training. I was talking to Genevieve Poppe. Do you remember Genevieve, she actually was on your podcast? Her platform as a consultant...
Howard: Ryan can you send me Genevieve Poppe's podcast.
Joe: Her platform is dental offices are losing significant amounts of revenue because of poor phone handling skills. Have you seen it? What do you think?
Howard: When you study the Fortune500, it gets all the press and they don't even employ 15% of America. The real America works for the small businesses, you know, twenty-five to fifty employees, one in three million sales. And in all those companies, whoever handles the phone is the highest paid person, I mean if I answer the phone, I'm inbound sales and we train the bejesus out of you. And then if I give you a list to call outbound sales, you'd probably have to train for six weeks and then the guy in the machine shop in the back making this stuff that's a $20 an hour lunch pail job and in dentistry it's reversed – the man in blue jeans with the lunch pail just fabricating a crown on a tooth, that like the big bucks guy. And then the guy answering the phone – no training! Hey Laurie, you went to the dentist, did you? That's all their training and it's amazing. And then when you get a dental office, you go to any dental office, how many inbound calls did you have last month? No idea. How many went to voicemail. No idea. So what's your what's your problem? Well, I'd like to grow my business. Well, why don't you start by answering your goddamn phone and then they are open Monday through Thursday, eight to five and they're calling in their hour commute, they're calling and it's all going to voicemail. And then when they get off work, they're finally going to call you. So then the dentist, right when he needs to be answering the phone, he's not answering. And then the dumbass goes to lunch from twelve to one.
Joe: Here's one better. I was talking to an implant manufacturer and this particular company, they help dentists do marketing for the practice to generate potential implant patients for the doctor to do the case. A lot of times complete restoration, right? So they're doing TV commercials, they're doing billboards, they're doing significant advertising spend. This executive shared with me they had an office that spent a lot of money on advertising and the person that was trained to answer the phones went to lunch and so they had a hygienist cover the phones for an hour because they didn't want to send them to voicemail, so at least that's a positive, right? They had a phone call come in from one of these, a $50,000 potential case, and the person answering the phone said, I think it's pretty expensive. And they were like, we could have just rung their neck because we work so hard to drive these leads into the practice and the breakdown is on the phone.
Howard: I would never go into business marketing or advertising for a dental office because you could give them a hundred leads and they wouldn't even know it, let alone close it. I mean, they're coming in when their phones are on voicemail. You go up to a dentist and say how many incoming calls you have las month? No idea. How many went to voicemail? No idea. Every dental office you call, I call all the dentists back, can you please hold? And then sometimes you'll be on hold for like five minutes. It's like, dude, America doesn't have five minutes and oh my God, it's a disaster.
Joe: I agree.
Howard: And then you get a dental office that takes inbound sales and outbound sales more seriously than their stupid bonding agent. You know a dentist he's always going to go to class and find out which glue works the best. It's like hey idiot, Ivoclar sold a billion dollars’ worth of it, 3M sold a billion dollars. You can't sell a billion dollars’ worth of glue in dentistry and not have it be gluey.
Joe: Sure, yeah.
Howard: The least of my problems is that 3M and Ivoclar and Dentsply aren't doing their job. My concern is I know your receptionist isn't doing her job. I think the billion-dollar companies are okay, but I think Gloria needs some work.
Joe: It's probably the biggest opportunity in a practice to help them increase their revenue. And we've spent a lot of time with practices trying to understand the pain points. Do you know what the conversion rate is on average for a new patient calling a practice?
Howard: What is the what?
Joe: The conversion rate. So if an office gets ten new patient calls, how many does the office actually schedule?
Howard: I'd say no more than a third.
Joe: That's exactly right, 33%. So it's sad because that's a huge missed opportunity. Do you know what the ADA-stated value of a new patient to a practice is on an annual basis. Any idea? Take a guess?
Howard: Well, I've always heard that orthodontists is the $6,500 (indistinct) and that the general dentist captures the sixty-five hundred, but the orthodontist will capture it in two years, the general dentist will capture it in five. So I'm always hearing $6,500 for the first five years per person.
Joe: Okay, so what the ADA published is $624 on an annual basis. I think it's probably more than that but that's what the ADA is stating. So if we went with that and a 33% conversion rate, it's fairly conservative to say a practice on average is losing a patient a day. It's probably more than that, but a patient a day. That's four a week because like you said, Monday to Thursday, right? They don't work on Fridays. So you're looking at $2,500 a week, four weeks in a month, ten grand a month. So trying to get to an annual number - $120,000 a year in lost revenue on a conservative basis. Now I'm a conservative guy, let's cut it in half. Let's just be ultra conservative and cut it in half. So people are going to have a hard time arguing with me that they're losing $60,000 a year in new patient revenue. If we can agree, that's a minimum, Callpop helps you capture that and our product is two hundred bucks a month, $199 a month. So you don't want to spend $2,400 a year to conservatively capture...
Howard: So down the road, will you give them data so they can actually have a report on how many incoming calls they got?
Joe: They get it on a live basis. They can log in and at any moment look to see how many calls have come in, how many calls have come out. And so what we've done, and Genevieve helped us with this. Genevieve Poppe, she's great and I love her platform and there's a lot of synergies. So here's what we're doing – when a new patient calls the office, because they're not in the practice management, I know it's a potentially new patient. So when the Callpop comes up, it says potential new patient. What we did is we put a little button there that says new patient script. Now Genevieve's not a big supporter of scripts and so we can have a script, we can have bullet points, but when that hygienist that's covering the phones who doesn't have any idea what to say pushes that button, up pops a script that says, hi, thank you for calling, and then can read it and get the information out that's going to increase that conversion rate. Now, you could have scripts for implants, you could have scripts for orthodontia, for braces, for whatever you want. That's kind of what Genevieve does, but with our application we can build those scripts in. So when a patient calls or a new patient calls, they hit a button.
Howard: Does it record them too?
Joe: Once again, we don't do anything with the phones other than capture caller ID. Most phone companies, especially VoIP companies, they'll record all the calls. So that's kind of our platform is we want to stay away out of the phones because we don't know what works best in your area, whether it's landline or VoIP. In some parts of the country, landline is the best option. But another thing we do, and receptionists love this, do you get a lot of vendor calls in your practice?
Joe: Is that a waste of time, like pest control or alarms or somebody’s trying to sell you something and you're just like, stop calling me. So with our application, when the call comes in, before they answer the call, we ping the CNAM database and a spam database to see if this number is a telemarketer. If it is, before you answer it, the Callpop says "known spam phone number".
Howard: I just can't believe they can legalize that in this country. They're starting to text me on my phone, I'm paying for that data. It's kind of like remember back in the day when the fax machine came out, people would fax the dentist and the dentist was like that's my paper. So they would turn around on their computer and text back the Encyclopaedia Britannica and Discus and all those people were telling me that it was insane. The dentists were completely mental when it came to their fax paper. So they just cancelled the whole fax program right away because dentists, you know, you have to talk them off the cliff. But now I just can't believe that that's not illegal.
Joe: I think in a lot of cases if it's a marketing text, if they're trying to sell you something, it is illegal to send it to you unless you asked for it.
Howard: So, dentists always want to spend all their time wanting to learn more about their craft, learn more bonding agents and all this. And that's great. I love it because I get it.
Joe: Yeah, it's part of the business.
Howard: I'd rather pull four wisdom teeth than go ski at Jackson Hole, I mean really. I mean this is the most beautiful deal. There's just nothing more fun than taking out four molars. But how do you get these young kids, you just said six thousand kids graduate. And when I got out of school thirty years ago, you could make a lot of really bad decisions and still do great. I mean, when I got to Phoenix, there wasn't any dental schools. Now there's two, graduating, two hundred and seventeen year. There wasn't fluoridated water, how there is. Utah's got two dental schools now. Nevada's got a dental school now. So, it is far more competitive now. How do you coach these sixty-five hundred kids that you've got to pay attention to the business?
Joe: That's a good question. I think from our perspective, what we feel is decisions should be based on data. You should base your decisions on data not just because you think something's going to work. And so that's kind of how we operate is by giving these doctors data – how many phone calls are they making? And also helping these new kids see that there's a lot of technology out there that helps them capture that data and can help them be really efficient. You look at appointment reminders ten years ago that was the hottest thing. Now there's two dozen vendors that do it. And it's now a commodity. And people ask us about that all the time and we may eventually do it but it's a commodity and I would rather invest in technologies that help bring new innovative products to the practice versus building something that already exists. For example, we had a question, I was at an implant conference last week and presented Callpop – very well received, and someone said, can you tell me the potential patient's home value and yeah, that's something we can do. It's a great idea. Now some people may think that's controversial. We're going to try and provide lots of information on potential patients because I have the ability, I can take the phone number, I can go to all these social media databases, I can bring a picture in, I can give you their job title, and so we want to provide as much information to the practice when it's a new patient to help them decide, is this a new patient that they want?
Howard: I can just tell you that if a dental office is having a thousand calls come in a month and half of them aren’t/t getting answered, if you just answer the other five hundred. If Domino's Pizza answered twice as many phone calls, what would happen to their pizza sales? It just absolutely doubles. There's just an exact one-to-one correlation and when you're starting with a doctor who doesn't even know there's a hundred and sixty-eight hours in a week, can't even tell you what percent of his phone calls come in in the thirty two hours when he's open, doesn't even know when his peak incoming calls are, but I guarantee you he's not open when his peak incoming calls are coming in. If they can just take, like the hygienist – how many gingivitis courses has she gone to, how many gum disease periodontal courses has she gone to? And every time she takes ten courses, the receptionist takes zero. Not one on how to answer a phone, how to close this out. If you ask any receptionist in America, well, what is your close ratio? What?
Joe: On what? Yeah, we're closed Fridays.
Howard: So if you really get them to focus on that...
Joe: And that's our platform is we help your receptionist or your front office staff.
Howard: You got somebody in Phoenix?
Joe: So we're national. We work remotely. We go to all the main conferences.
Howard: I'll demo this Monday.
Joe: Okay, yeah. I love what you're saying because I think you're absolutely right and I hope dentists can start believing that. I need to invest here because I want to increase my revenue. They don't think that investing in their telephone business, not your phone service, will help increase their revenue, and that's our platform. We make it as simple as possible because training is one thing, but we put this information in front of them so that when that call comes in, they can answer it. If it's a pest control salesperson, they don't want to talk to it, label it, do not answer. They ever call back, don't waste your time. So we're trying to make it as efficient as possible and here's my personal guarantee. I founded the company. If we're not making you money, we'll refund your money. It's that simple. Think of appointment reminders – it helps you to not lose revenue, right? You have the appointment and the appointment reminders help you not lose it. Great. You need that service. Callpop helps you make more money.
Howard: So you're out there in American Fork, Utah. So we started off with the Silicon Valley and now everybody's calling Utah Silicon Slopes. I did an issue at Dentaltown on it, there's so many companies. Ryan, can you come find the app, maybe they called it Silicon slopes. Oh my gosh, there's so many dental companies out there. What do you think is causing all that?
Joe: I think it's like an incubator. And so, you've got all these tech companies and they have employees and then people that have entrepreneurial spirit, they're working on all these tech companies. They have an idea, they see other entrepreneurs start a company and so it inspires them to go start their own tech company. So I think it's like these little incubators, they just start compounding and when you have this nucleus of people working for tech companies and then you have entrepreneurs starting there and they see the success, they want to partake in that.
Howard: I think Walmart did the most genius move – they were trying to build their online (indistinct) to Amazon in Arkansas and that's not where the people are. I mean, if you want to build a car, you need to go to Detroit, a movie you need to go to Hollywood and that acquisition, what was it, what did they buy? Blue? It was such a great acquisition because that's where all the people are. And so what other Silicon Slope companies does your product work with?
Joe: Well when you say Silicon Slope companies that we work with, there's lots of dental companies in Silicon Slopes – Solutionreach is there, Weave is there, Henry Schein, Dentrix is there, Dental Intel, Blue IQ. There's just a wealth of companies that are all going after the same customers all doing... Ultra Dent's just up the road...
Howard: With Dick Barnes?
Joe: Yeah. Gordon Christensen is just down the road from us.
Howard: The God of dentistry. When you die, he'll be sitting up there with all your charts. If you start the race just five years ago, you know who the fastest growing online ecommerce company is? Macy's. And you know who also have done the top five is Ikea and they're doing it through acquisitions. There were two different apps where people started saying, Hey, you bought all this stuff from Ikea, but you don't want to set it up. And so Ikea knows that they should have that idea. They were asleep at the wheel; two guys are doing it very smart. And they bought both of them.
Joe: I think you're going to see a consolidation, in my opinion, in the dental space. All these companies are offering these different services. We get asked every day for appointment reminders and I get it but at the same time, to me that technology's been around a long time. There's not a lot to innovate there, right? Maybe some things, but I think you're going to see a lot of consolidations. So these dentists are paying for services, another product comes out and they'll start doing some of these commodities to help the dentists make it easy to move to their product.
Howard: So millennials, you know, every generation is different than the one before them and you page back through history everything gets better. So it must be a very working model. What advice would you give to a millennial for her to search her soul that she really wants to own her own business, or she'd be better off as an employee? Because here's what I'm seeing. I'm seeing a lot of young – because you're an entrepreneur, you're a Grade A entrepreneur. So a lot of them have this fantasy, well, I'm just going to go work at corporate Monday through Friday eight to five so I can be a soccer mom and have two dogs and three cats and a baby and all this. So I always say, okay, well then go out five year to all the girls who graduated five years ago and show me all these happy women that are doing what you say because they all change jobs every six months. They freaking hated it and four, five, six years later they finally opened up their own office. So I see this huge dilemma between what they want to believe, but what all the data is. And the data is I don't see any dentist being an employee for five, ten years and saying that's why I went to school eight years.
Joe: You know, I think my advice would be is you have to find out what makes you happy. And be honest with yourself, what makes you happy? And I think a lot of people think it's money or success and you know, there's something to be said for gaining experience in a big corporation. Not everybody is built to be an entrepreneur, I think a lot of people look at it and it's very sexy to them because they see the notoriety and the money, but what they don't see are the previous ten years where they busted their ass working all this time. They want the fruits, but they don't want to plant the trees. And so my advice would be what makes you happy, what makes you the happiest and then do it. If you're chasing the dollar, you're probably never going to be happy.
Howard: So Socrates said there's two emotions, greed and fear. So you're saying greed, chase the money, they want it and all that. I think what they actually hate the most is, I think dentists hate it when they are told what to do, when I'm your boss, when you're under my thumb, when I'm the man and you're fifteen minutes late and I'm right. And then when they start doing things like, you have to use these gloves are you have to use this bonding agent, or they have a five-millimetre pocket, you got to recommend a PerioChip and the lady doing it isn't even a healthcare provider, she's a receptionist and she's telling them. I think they're just not very good people to control. So you served ten years in the armed services?
Joe: Yes, sir.
Howard: On the, on the Abrams tank?
Joe: So, I was on the Abrams tank initially and then moved over into a quartermaster.
Howard: You look like a tank, I wouldn't think you'd need a tank.
Joe: My father was in the military. He was in 28 years, retired, a full colonel, couple of tours in Vietnam. And my lifelong dream was to want to be in the military. And I actually wanted to be active duty. That was my dream. I had a full ride scholarship to Ohio state and when I had graduated, President Clinton was in office and they cut back and I got a reserve commission. It devastated me. Honestly, one of the best things that ever happened to me though, because it allowed me to really do my entrepreneurial spirit. Ever since I was a kid, I had paper routes and I had a lawn cutting business and always doing things to make money. And so the military was just wanting to fall into my father's footsteps. And so I was able to do both, which was a blessing, got the military, you know, out of my system. And now I'm focusing on the entrepreneurial side.
Howard: So what lessons from a decade in the military did you learn to apply to now rolling out this business?
Joe: I would say one lesson is that you're never going to make everybody happy. I can think of many experiences in the military – I was the executive officer, we'd have two hundred and fifty soldiers and we would try to do something and somebody's going to complain all the time and you know, you look now with Callpop, right? You're not going to make everybody happy and that's okay. We want to help our customers and we want to help them accomplish their goals, but there's just going to be some people that you're not going to like.
Howard: What percent of humans do you think are just batshit crazy?
Joe: Oh Man, that's hard. I don't know, I couldn't put a number on it, but...
Howard: I'm taking numbers. What percent?
Joe: A third?
Howard: And you know, it's funny because people always get weirded out on human behaviours. Dude, they're wild animals, they're the only animals that wear clothes at the zoo. When you go to the zoo, you don't look at the rhinoceros and say, what percent of the rhinos are crazy? You just think they're all crazy. All the rhinos, all the giraffes, all the monkeys. They're all crazy. And you know, I'll have a lady come in, argue with me over all these questions so I'll spend an hour with her and then it turns out that I don't take her insurance and she wants some payment plan and I'll waste two hours with this crazy lady and then she'll go out and write the meanest yelp review. And when dentists get these bad reviews, they get all upset and everything. It's like, oh my God, people are just crazy.
Joe: I see that all the time in our business. And it seems like the customers that are the hardest to deal with end up being the worst customers. They want something extra, they want something special and so you kind of go out of your way because you want to make the customer happy and then it ends up biting you in the butt later. And the best customers are the ones that see it, they get it and they show up to the install and they love it and you check on them and they're like, this is the best thing since sliced bread. So yeah, there's something to that. I don't know how you can weed those out sometimes early.
Howard: The worst advice I ever hear is that the customer is always right. There can be nothing more wrong. Someone verbally abusing your staff, they're frazzling your receptionist who’s thinking to hang up the phone and talk all day long. I mean I've come up to the counter where somebody's being crazy or dropping the f-bomb and I fired him right there and I called the police twice in thirty years. But can I tell you my police story? So the first time I called the police I thought this guy pissed me off so bad, I'm going to go down there. So I go down there because I want to tell my story. And it didn't even get to that. They pulled the guy out and this woman judge says, what did I tell you the last time I saw you? What did I tell you? He's like that you never wanted to see me again. He went to jail.
Joe: No kidding.
Howard: It's like, damn right man. And then the other one was one of my best friends, I mean he was the best drinking buddy on earth, but he'd go crazy in the office on the finance and the insurance and all of a sudden
Joe: As a patient?
Howard: Yeah, finally I had to fire him because I was at the staff huddle, everybody was cringing that my buddy John was the first patient and I said, really? You guys didn't like him? They go, don't like him, we hate him! So he was this one guy at the bar, but he's another guy when his insurance and the f-bomb and you know, he just goes crazy.
Joe: Why do people treat people? I see that all the time, you're checking into a hotel or places and you just see people treating staff, you know, disrespectful. And to me that says a lot about that person. They think they're above them or something. And so yeah, I don't understand it.
Howard: Well, thanks. So was there any question I wasn't smart enough to ask.
Joe: No, we're excited. We believe there isn't any reason why all these dental offices shouldn't get a Callpop. I think it's been demonstrated enough that there's significant value.
Howard: If you can't tell me how many incoming calls you have a month, if you can't tell me how many outbound calls you do, if you can't tell me what percent of your calls are answered. And then I'll say to you, what are you doing this weekend? Oh, I'm going to go see Gordon and he's going to talk for four hours on the different bonding agents and then in the afternoon it's going to be four hours on all the wear rates. I'm like, okay, so let me get this right. Your problem is that all your fillings are wearing down and falling out. I can't even remember a filling that fricking wore down and fell off.
Joe: You know why I think that happens is dentists are technicians, right? They're technicians and that's what gets them going. And the phones are not, it's just the office manager deals with that and so if I could get any message out today that the phones are a huge opportunity in your practice to help increase your revenue but also provide that better customer experience and it's hard to put a number on that but think about the times when you walk into a restaurant and they recognize you. We all know what that feels like. Well, do you want to provide that to your patients? Do you want to be the restaurant that recognises people? Callpop does that. That's exactly what Callpop does.
Howard: And then if you only want to do your trade and all you want to do is be the greatest dentist in the world and all that stuff and you're not interested in the business, well then don't hand this to your wife. I mean when you're in the backseat of the car making out with your wife, were you asking her what's the difference between a balance sheet and a statement of income and what the close ratio was? How come the poor lady that married your butt is thrown this job and I can meet her and in three seconds say, are you happy? No. Do you want to have this job? No. What do you want to be? I want to be home raising three kids. Get out of here. I don't want anybody in here who doesn't want to be here. My office manager, Dawn, she's been there seventeen years, Lori, it'll be twenty years Monday. I've had employees stay with me thirty years. It's a merit-based society and dentists turn it into a marriage-based economy and you know, you married that man or woman for a whole different skillset than running a damn business. Go get your girl Friday on merits, not marriage.
Joe: Right, right.
Howard: Well on that note...
Joe: Let's make sure on Monday we get in touch with your staff and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised the impact that it will have.
Howard: And post on that Dentaltown thread on Silicon Valley.
Joe: Yeah. And so if you're interested in learning more, callpop.com and there’s ‘request a demo' – put in your information and we'll be in touch with you probably next week.
Howard: All right buddy. Thanks for coming on the show.
Joe: Thank you.