Smile Please – We Won!

A recent winner of  the Singapore Tourism Board’s ‘Best Healthcare Experience’ award in Singapore, Specialist Dental Group understands what it takes to achieve credibility and success in a competitive business environment. We caught up with Moonlake Lee, Director of Business Affairs, to find out more about the award, how she helps to keep people smiling and what she sees as the key elements to a motivated team.

Can you explain a bit more about your role within Specialist Dental Group?

It’s multi-faceted – to say the least!  You could say I am the “Jill of all trades” – I pretty much do everything that needs to be done except taking care of people’s teeth!

“My title is “Director of Business Affairs” – the scope is rather broad and includes marketing, communications, patient services, branding, technology, human resources, business development, special events and legal matters (as I was formerly a practising lawyer). I have also bought lunch for busy dentists/staff and picked up photocopy orders from the printer. As we are a small company, everyone pitches in to help, no matter what his or her “official position” – we all work as a team to get the job done.

What were the contributing factors to Specialist Dental Group winning the ‘Best Healthcare Experience’ award?

Specialist Dental Group was delighted to be the Recipient of “Best Healthcare Experience” at the Singapore Experience Awards 2012. We were also one of three finalists in this category in 2010 and 2011.

A dental visit is usually not something that people look forward to – dental appointments evoke anxiety due to fear of pain or the uncertainty of what to expect. A survey by Oral-B indicated that 38% of Singaporeans visited the dentist when they felt pain, and 35% of Singaporeans thought that all dental procedures were painful.

I believe the best healthcare experience, for a dental visit, would be fourfold:

  • to have the reassurance and peace of mind that you are in good hands,
  • to feel the warmth and friendliness of the dentist and staff involved,
  • to receive a timely response to your dental concerns and treatment needs, and
  • to have your dental problems resolved with minimal discomfort and downtime.

“At Specialist Dental Group, patients are able to access more than one type of dental specialist at the same appointment, without an additional consultation fee. This translates into time and cost savings for patients and results in a comprehensive approach to dental treatment. For example, a patient who has missing teeth, gum problems and crooked teeth can consult with our prosthodontist (tooth replacement specialist), periodontist (gum specialist) and orthodontist (teeth alignment specialist) at the same visit.

Our corporate philosophy can be summed up as “Patients First. Teeth Second.” We also ensure that everyone on the team is familiar with our Service Mission – “C.A.T.S” – which stands for “Care, Assurance, Timeliness, Solve”.  

Our hiring decisions and regular appraisal process for dentists and staff is based on how each individual team member demonstrates the C.A.T.S. mission to our patients and in their relationships with each other.

How important is the whole customer experience in (any) business? Is a good product enough on its own?

The total customer experience is what differentiates one business from another, and turns a consumer into an advocate (i.e. “raving fan”)… With more competition faced by businesses across different industries, many of the products and services offered become increasingly perceived as “commodities” – customers will tend to shop around to find the company offering the product or service at the lowest cost.

An excellent service level, a team of leading dentists and staff, and an award-winning and reputable company is only the start. We need to continually strive to improve ourselves and not rest on our laurels to ensure that we are doing the best that we can for our patients, and that our patients can see that we are indeed giving our best to them.

What motivates your team to provide such excellent service?

We are in the service industry and particularly, in healthcare, it is more of a vocation and passion than just a job that people do on a daily basis.

Our dental team is passionate about teaching and sharing expertise with others in the industry. Similarly, many of our nurses are trained dentists in other countries, and still have the excitement and interest in helping to change people’s lives for the better – especially when it comes to our patients with special medical conditions such as those recovering from cancer or head and neck tumour surgery.

When you have one to one interactions with patients on a daily basis, the appreciation that one receives from patients, and the knowledge that one has contributed to improving the patient’s quality of life, is a great motivator.

On a corporate level, we also engage our team in many bonding activities on a regular basis, from social events such as barbeques to group runs. We believe that the team that plays together, stays together. We want all team members to be on the same page when it comes to shared corporate goals and mission.

What advice do you have for other businesses who are looking for more industry recognition?

Figure out what differentiates your company from others in the industry. What are your strengths and unique selling points? Once you have identified this, keep your communications with your customers and your staff consistent and clear. Over time, you will create a niche for yourself within your industry.

Other factors to consider include active participation and contribution as a thought leader in your industry, and also third party endorsements, in the form of awards and other recognition.

All these do not happen overnight. You have to keep persevering and maintaining your passion and energy level. 

Moonlake also delivered a business development training session on marketing on a small budget to Athena’s Executive Group. Read full post here.

Moonlake Lee


Moonlake Lee is the Director of Business Affairs with Specialist Dental Group, an award-winning dental practice at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre. Prior to moving to Singapore 9 years ago, Moonlake was a lawyer in Toronto, Canada.

Originally from Malaysia, Moonlake has a hectic schedule balancing life as a mother of two, a wife, and a career woman while finding time to exercise, catch up with friends and get some sleep.

For more information on Specialist Dental Group, visit their website.

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