In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, small but essential businesses such as dental clinics continue to thrive and serve people despite the health risks that come with the nature of their work. JazzyPay strives to give a platform for these businesses to share their stories, and so in this feature, we talked to Dr. Maria Clarissa “MC” Leonardo, owner of MCD Leonardo Dental Clinic about her practice, the importance of keeping patients well-informed, the challenges she faced and are currently facing due to the pandemic, and how she retained her regular clients and gained new ones by using JazzyPay as her clinic’s digital payment gateway system.
Dr. MC was a fresh passer of the dental board examinations in 2017 when she started her own dental clinic at home in Pandacan, Manila. As a new business owner, she was admittedly nervous about running her own establishment while dealing with the pressure of finding her own clients and sustaining her clinic with monthly costs and expenses.
While managing her own clinic, Dr. MC also worked as an associate dentist for her aunt and friends’ dental clinics not only to gain extra income that she can use to grow her own clinic, but also to seek guidance in managing a business from a trusted circle. From tips on managing finances and dealing with different kinds of patients, Dr. MC was able to learn from her peers. “Win-win, kasi natutulungan nila ako sa practice, and at the same time, natutulungan ko sila since ako yung tumatao sa kanila [It was a win-win situation, because they were able to help me with my own practice and at the same time, I was also able to help them with managing their clinics],” she said.
Little by little, through juggling her job as an associate dentist and being her own boss as a dental practice owner, Dr. MC was able to improve her own clinic over the years and build a reputation as a small but dependable dental clinic in Pandacan, Manila.
Although it took some time to gain a steady client following, Dr. MC was able to build good relationships with her patients who eventually became regular clients. Citing genuineness and transparency as the key to gaining patients’ trust, Dr. MC emphasized the importance of spending time with clients during consultations and thoroughly educating them about the procedures they need to undergo. “I gain my patients’ trust by explaining their situation well and basically making them aware that I know what I’m doing,” she shared. “Kung baga hindi ko gagawin ang isang procedure nang hindi nila naiintindihan. I educate them kapag pumupunta sila sa akin para pagkatiwalaan nila ako [I don’t let my patients go through procedures without explaining it to them. I educate them so they can trust me].”
Dr. MC (left) with her assistant, Teresa (right) before and during pandemic operations.
By being consistently transparent and keeping her patients well-informed, patients’ trust in Dr. MC only continued to grow, with clients eventually referring Dr. MC’s clinic to fellow friends and relatives.
Dr. MC found benefits in having her clinic at home when the pandemic hit and the series of lockdowns followed last year. For one, she didn’t have to worry about paying for a separate rent while her clinic became idle for months. When clinics were once again allowed to operate, she also didn’t have to travel to a separate location to run her business.
However, being a dentist and a frontliner during the pandemic, Dr. MC still faced health risks from meeting and operating her patients daily. To ensure safety in her clinic, Dr. MC acquired new equipment such as dental vacuums, suctions, and purifiers. UV sterilization, misting, and fogging were done before patients come in and right after they leave. The space was also slightly renovated to make the operation room isolated and have better airflow. These changes didn’t come cheap, and to a fairly young business, Dr. MC felt like she was starting from scratch from all the investments made. Understandably, the price for consultations and dental procedures was also bumped up due to the extra cost made for safety compliance.
Dr. MC using an external oral suction for siphoning aerosols during a dental procedure. (left) | Installation of exhaust ducts for better airflow. (right)
Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, Dr. MC decided to take it all in stride. She considered the new dental equipment and clinic changes as investments. The newly added items in her clinic were useful materials to advance and upgrade her practice. She also began to appreciate the quality of patients she receives during the pandemic, as they understand the need for additional costs and protocols that they need to adhere to.
“Actually, nagiging positive ako through the people na pumapasok sa clinic ko. Kahit tatlo lang per day, or kung minsan nga isa lang or dalawa, pero yung quality ng patients na pumapasok and yung mga nakakaintindi ng trabaho ko, it makes me feel positive and gives me strength to move forward for the next few days kasi ibigsabihin I must have done something na tama kaya sila bumabalik sa akin. [Actually, I’m able to think positively through the patients who go to my clinic. Even if it’s just three, two, or one patient per day, the quality of patients I welcome to the clinic are those who understand my work. It makes me feel positive and gives me strength to move forward for the next days because if they keep coming back, that means I must be doing something right].”
Dr. MC smiling for the camera with some of her regular clients.
While operating in the midst of the pandemic, Dr. MC discovered her patients’ needs for alternative payment methods, particularly cashless payments such as credit cards. “I have patients na matagal ko nang kilala, and they asked for card payments for at least a month kasi medyo strapped for cash sila. Sinabi sa ‘kin ng mga patients ko, yung payment na pwede nilang ipaikot for one month just for dental is malaking bagay na [I have patients whom I’ve known for a long time now, and they asked for card payments for at least a month because they’re a bit strapped for cash. They told me that the amount they would have to pay can be used for other things within one month, so a month’s worth of card payments is already a big deal].” Always receptive to her patients’ requests, Dr. MC searched for a cashless payment system provider and found out about JazzyPay. “Mababa yung payment rates and madali yung process, and natulungan ako ng JazzyPay kasi I got those regular patients back [The payment rates are low, the registration process is easy, and JazzyPay helped me get those regular patients (who want to use card payments) back].”
In addition to retaining her regular clients, Dr. MC also noticed an increase of inquiries from interested clients once she announced on MCD Leonardo Dental Clinic’s social media pages that the clinic is already accepting cashless payments through JazzyPay.
Looking for a trusty dental clinic in Pandacan, Manila? Learn more about MCD Leonardo Dental Clinic and set up an appointment with the wonderful Dr. MC by visiting their Facebook page now! You can also easily pay online for your appointment or operations through JazzyPay here or by typing in “MCDLEONARDO DENTAL CLINIC” in the JazzyPay home page’s search box.