Sunday, July 9, 2017

Savon Dental Plan, A Company 25 Years In The Making

I was 14 years old when my dad (Clay Parker) and my uncle (Gordon Parker) announced their idea for a new crazy business venture. They were going to start a dental coverage plan. For my uncle, this was a new opportunity in a field that was he was already working in as he was currently a sales representative for dental plan that had some really shady business practices. For my dad and our immediate family, it was a big change in lifestyle. All my life, (to that point), was spent with my dad and mom both working in the flooring industry; which was the trade industry for the Parker family that went a few generations back. To know that my days of picking up carpet scraps, laying pad and vinyl and prepping floors with my dad was coming to end was unfathomable at my young age. However, the career change was welcomed and my dad and uncle took it head on. Little did I know that 25 years later, this crazy business venture, now known as Savon Dental Plan, would be an integral part of life and something that I am more passionate about than anything else.

Growing up in the company, I have seen many people come and go. I have witnessed every up side and down side that we experienced. I got a front row to seat to the movement for "person to person" sales to more of the "digital and phone" sales. I have had the privilege of watching this company grow from the City of Phoenix, to the 23 States that we are in today. I have seen ideas succeed and and ideas fail.

As I look back on the last 25 years I can't help but smile as I go over the "remember whens". I guess that's the purpose of this blog, to let you see a side of Savon that most people never knew about, most of which no longer exists. What a better way to do that than to give you some fun facts about Savon from over the last 25 years:

Fun Facts About Savon:
1. We used to have a call center that was called the "Dog Pound"
2. We used to generate leads via computerized phone calls.
3. Most of the Parker family has worked at Savon at some point in time.
4. We used to have sales reps that signed people up at home.
5. Gordon Parker (our Late President) used to use the alias Tom Peters when signing someone up, so that they didn't know that it was the President of the company signing them up.
6. Gordon made everyone study a city map and gave us all tests before we were allowed to be an outside rep. (he didn't want us to get lost or be late because we couldn't find the place) **This was before GPS was available.
7. We used to have "member files" that took up a whole wall in our office. Anytime we talked to customer, we would have to pull their file. (now it is all computerized)
8. We used to have a scheduled "file audit" one a year, but usually it happened more when Clay couldn't find a file he needed.
9. Corilee Parker, our Director of Provider Relations, is the longest tenured employee at 25 years of service. (She was here from day 1 and is still here).
10. I designed our first website at age 17. (Our current website is designed and maintained by my Dad)

So there are some things that you never knew about the "behind the senses" of SDP. There is so many that I could add, but this blog would be never ending. Throughout the month, I may post more as they come to mind. 

We have said goodbye to some key people who helped make Savon Dental Plan what it is today. Gordon Parker, Que Jeter and Dan Gopen, just to name a few, have all since passes away over the years. Some others that have passed also contributed in many ways and all are are surely missed. May they continue to rest in peace. We think about them everyday and will never forget what they have done for this company.

Most importantly, this anniversary would never happen if it wasn't for our members. In a world to where the average customer stays with a company for 5-8 years and then moves on, we have a lot of members that have been with us for 10+, 15+, 20+ and yes, even ALL 25 YEARS! We appreciate everyone of you. Whether you were a member for 1 year, or have been a member for 25 years you are all important us and we thank you for your loyalty. Every once in while I get the privilege to talk to one of you and take the time to thank you for your membership.

As we start the next 25 years, I can't help but ponder the potential that we have for growth. I also can't help but worry about what the future brings. Even after 25 years, the dental plan industry is still the considered by some to be the "bad step child" of the dental coverage industry. When in essence we are anything but that. Our plan WILL save people more money that insurance or any other plan out there and I will not stop shouting it from the mountain tops until everybody knows it. Although our company has gone through many changes over the years, the foundation to which we were built on has not changed. Our mission has not changed. Our goal has not changed. We will continue to provide great dental coverage at an affordable price. We will continue to be there for our members to help them out however we can. Lastly, you will never have press 1 for english and 2 for customer service when calling in.

Thank you everyone for the last 25 years. I look forward to spending another 25 with all of you!

-Clayton Parker III
  Vice President
  Savon Dental Plan

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