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Connect the Doc was founded by Nadeem and Nasheel Kassam, marketers and business-minded twins, who were exposed to the complex operations of their parents’ dental clinics from an early age. They saw countless operational problems and missed marketing opportunities for healthcare clinics and set out to solve them through an online search and booking platform.
Connect the Doc is a Vancouver based, appointment booking platform for patients seeking private healthcare. The platform acts as a marketing tool for clinics, helping them acquire new patients, and a booking tool for patients, helping them find and book convenient appointments at all hours of the day.
MO: Can you explain how a professional problem for your father turned into a business idea for you?
Nasheel: When my dad had to miss the beginning of my brother’s graduation because of an emergency patient he had to treat, we identified the challenge of finding short notice healthcare appointments. As consumers we were used to making reservations or bookings online (Expedia, Opentable, Priceline etc) and decided that we would like to see if there was a market for such convenience within the private healthcare industry. Our market research indicated that consumers would be receptive to finding and booking their elective healthcare appointments online. As we started to write up the business plan and website specs I was hired by my dad to be the marketing director / manager at both of his offices (one was a dental office and the other was a skin care clinic). During my tenure I got an intimate understanding of how private healthcare offices run. Nadeem and I were able to isolate and identify several problems, and build solutions for them into the Connect the Doc platform.
MO: How does Connect the Doc work? What are the main advantages of using the site?
Nasheel: As a patient, using CTD is very simple. On our homepage you select your healthcare field, treatment type, and location. Our database will pull the relevant results and sort them by the next available appointment within a 15km radius of your desired location. Clinic and ‘doc’ profiles can be compared to ensure they meet a particular patient’s requirements. Patients can then go and book their appointment with the practitioner of their choice in a few simple steps, directly online at all hours of the day. The main advantage for site visitors is that they can actually compare availabilities without calling different clinics and schedule the most convenient appointment directly online, 24/7, for free.
MO: How did working as the marketing director for your parents cosmetic dentistry clinic and skin care practice contribute to the development of the company?
Nasheel: Working for my parents has helped me in two major ways. First, I was able to identify several clinic challenges and integrate solutions into the development of Connect the Doc’s platform. We still have some groundbreaking developments that we are working on that we expect to add significant value to both the clinics and patients – I don’t think we would have been able to come up with some of the ideas moving forward, had I not worked for my parents. Second, working for my parents gave me a really good understanding of how healthcare clinics work as a business. Every time I meet with potential and existing clinic owners, I share with them the successes and setbacks I had as the Marketing Director to help them run a better business. These experiences help me explain to our current and potential clients why CTD is such a powerful marketing tool.
MO: What has it been like to start a company with your twin brother? Have you always been interested in working together?
Nasheel: Working with Deemer has been great! Luckily, we are quite different and as a result, our skill sets complement each other more so then overlap with one another. I think we always planned on working together eventually, although I am very surprised it has happened this quickly.
MO: What technology do you use to run the site?
Nasheel: That is a great question. Honestly, our developers have done such a great job and when we want something built, there are never any restrictions. I don’t know exactly what technology is being used (that is something my brother and the developers deals with) but I do know that the site is custom built with PHP – if that makes any sense…
MO: What does your marketing plan look like? How have you been getting the word out there so far?
Nasheel: For the past few months, we have focused our marketing efforts on public relations, Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. We found a lot of success with our ads at the top of Google, so we started search engine optimization and expect to rank at the top of most search results for the most relevant keywords in the near future. Additionally, we will be amping up our social media marketing and media outreach at the beginning of March, in preparation for our attendance at the Pacific Dental Conference on March 8. Once we get more traction and we are ranking higher with our SEO, we will focus on larger reach, impression based advertising like Radio and TV.
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