In April 2010, David King, Vice President of Human Resources at Kool Smiles, sat in his office in Atlanta, Georgia reflecting on the young company’s rapid growth rate. After opening the first Kool Smiles office in Decatur, Georgia in 2002, the company now has over 100 offices in sixteen states and in recent years has remained one of the top 50 fastest growing companies in the United States according to FastCompany.com. Kool Smiles has specialized in pediatric dental care as well as family dental care in previously underserved communities. “Our mission is to serve the underserved,” says King, “We’ve been meeting a need in the communities we go to.”
In early 2008, the company was already growing throughout the United States and began to encounter problems. “A big issue for us is finding qualified doctors, who in many cases we have to move across the country,” reflects King, “Initially we were smaller. We could sort of do this on our own using the recruiting team.” However, as Kool Smiles grew, it became less and less efficient for the recruiting team to perform the necessary relocation activities. Recruiters needed to allocate precious recruitment resources to the tedious, elaborate aspects of relocating doctors from one part of the country to another. King remembers, “Another problem we had was we started to go into locations that the recruiters simply didn’t know anything about. It became very difficult for us to do the moves on our own.”
Enter onto the scene, Jim Munson. Dave King contacted Munson International in early 2008 with the intention of moving twenty five doctors in the first year. King and Kool Smiles were so impressed with his work in 2008 that they asked Mr. Munson to relocate sixty doctors the following year. At current growth levels, the company is forecasting a need to relocate well over a hundred doctors by 2011. Kool Smiles now uses their recruitment team strictly for recruiting tasks while outsourcing relocation to Munson International. King outlines, “They were also able to offer services that we weren’t able to before, such as on-site services. For instance, they could have someone at the location, in many cases remote, who can meet with the doctor on their location visit, show them around, and help them find a place to live.” He goes on to explain how the on-site expert helps sell the job with Kool Smiles and the location in which the family will be living.
When asked to recall a particularly troublesome relocation for Kool Smiles his response was, ‘The majority.’ He points out, “Doctors are a unique demographic. They are high-achievers, used to getting their own way, and not used to being directed. They tend to be very particular. So a high, almost concierge level of customer service is needed when dealing with them.” Kool Smiles has been no exception to the troubles of relocating professionals to foreign locations. Often doctors are moving to places of which they have no previous knowledge and are unsure of their family’s projected happiness. An unhappy family often leads to an unsuccessful move. Munson International began performing site visits for apprehensive doctors using his on-site professionals. The professional would drive the family around, show them the sites, assist with picking good neighborhoods, good schools, and even provide detailed information about traffic patterns.
“The amount that we are spending on this program has grown, as you can imagine,” says King. “One thing Jim and his team does that is particularly value-added for us is the handling of all the paying of vendors, managing invoices from the doctors, and rolling them up into a concise report.” “Back office billing and reporting has been a particularly helpful aspect of the Munson International services,” claims King. When asked about his personal relationship with Mr. Munson, King explains, “Jim has been in the move business a long time and that’s where our company is most benefiting from him. On a personal basis, I have benefited from knowing him because of his vast network of people. He’s able to connect me with people he trusts on a business and personal level and he hasn’t steered me wrong yet. He’s a knowledgeable, seasoned, fun-loving guy who has been around the block. He has some serious horsepower with which to solve business problems.”