Karen and Abi are two members of our dedicated Call Handling team based at Truro Health Park. The team handles around 85,000 in-bound patient calls each year, providing over 32,000 appointments for patients most in need of our care.
Our Call Handlers are responsible for ensuring, where possible, that patients who meet our set criteria receive an appointment or telephone triage call within 24 hours and are given appointments within a reasonable distance from their home/holiday address.
Karen joined Smile Together having ‘fallen out of love’ with her previous job in the travel industry after the Covid-19 pandemic, explaining: “I wanted to find a job where I was still able to help people and make a difference to those in need. I was immediately drawn to Smile Together because of their company values, vision and mission to tackle oral health inequality. After popping into Truro Health Park to get a feel for the job, I was immediately drawn to the work environment and the friendly and supportive team. I instantly felt that this was a job I could really excel at, applying my calm and positive attitude to help get people out of pain and receive emergency dental care in Cornwall.”
The Call Handing team supports all eight of our active practice locations in relation to the dental patient appointment system, including on the Isles of Scilly, ensuring that a comprehensive service is provided. Abi explains: “One of the most enjoyable aspects of my role is being able to help people. We are often the first point of contact in their patient journey with Smile Together, so it is incredibly important to put them at ease while helping them to receive the care they need in the most convenient location possible.”
Karen continues “Often we get telephone calls from patients who are very distressed and upset because they are in a lot of pain and don’t have their own dentist. Not only is it very rewarding to be able to help them access the care they need but it’s lovely being the ‘voice’ of Smile Together when people get in touch with us, and I thoroughly enjoy being an ambassador for the company. The achievement of our B Corp certification in 2022 was a huge accomplishment and it felt like a collective success for us all. The fact that the B Corp process is continually reviewed is so important as it means we are always striving to be consistently better. For me this adds even more value to my role as I enjoy working for a company that wants to do the right thing for its people, patients and planet.’’
“The role does have its challenges,” Abi explains, “as some calls can be difficult to handle due to the stringent criteria and our limited resources and appointment availability. Our strict triage process is therefore really important to make sure the service prioritises those more vulnerable individuals and those most in need of our care.”
However, both Karen and Abi agree that their Call Handler role at Smile Together is genuinely rewarding and, when asked what they enjoy most about their role here, they both said: “Our colleagues!”
Karen explains: “Even though some calls are difficult, it is all made worthwhile by the support of my fantastic colleagues with us in the office and the wider clinical team of dentists, dental therapists, and dental nurses. We’re a very sociable team and I personally value the importance Smile Together places on this, including through our annual Smile (Get) Together and Christmas party. They’re always fun events, creating an opportunity to meet other people in the company too.”
Abi adds: “I moved to Cornwall to live by the sea and have a better work/life balance. Our office is a two-minute walk from the gym where we very handily benefit from Blue Light discount on our membership. Our daily one-hour lunchbreak means we can also pop into town which is a real bonus.”
To someone considering a Call Handling role with Smile Together, Karen says: “This job allows you think on your feet and use your initiative as it is a relatively unscripted role. You never know who is going to call so we get to show empathy whilst bringing our own personalities to the job which, in my opinion, really enhances the patient experience. It is a job that you can really get stuck into and enjoy if you are enthusiastic, willing and hardworking.”
Abi continues: “We not only get to help patients but it’s a really enjoyable and varied work environment as we often find ourselves helping out with other interesting projects and administrative tasks. I’d encourage anyone to join us and be part of our committed yet fun and sociable team!”
Both Karen and Abi are shareholders in our employee-owned business and welcome the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas with their elected Shareholder Impact Board representatives, meaning they have a real voice in the company. Outside of work they both enjoy sea swimming, socialising with friends, being active and going on lots of holidays!