Archive for Dental Business Tips
Every month I select and mail a book of my choosing to my clients. The book topics can run the gamut from how to manage your business, marketing, meditation for a more peaceful life, how to better communicate with your team or family, crushing price objections, service delivery…I think you get the drift. We then do a monthly teleconference and discuss the merits of the book and how to apply to our business and/or our lives.
This month’s selection was by T. Scott Gross entitled Pocket POS (POSitively Outrageous Service). After mailing the book to all my clients, including a personal note, I received a frustrated call from one of them telling me he did not receive the book. I knew I had sent it to him! He asked me to give him the name of the book so he could go to the bookstore to purchase his copy so as to be prepared for our Mastermind call.
Well, it wasn’t my damn fault that the book never got to him…however it was my problem! I immediately went online, purchased another copy, and made certain it was mailed directly to his home so he would have his book in plenty of time to read it.
My client was delighted and very appreciative as he received the book within two days and recognized this as an example of what being “Zero-Risk” is all about. Being Zero-Risk applies regardless of whether my company is at fault.
P.S. Not only did my client receive the second-ordered book but also the original purchased book arrived the next day and nearly two weeks delayed in the U.S. Mail service.
Do you have an exemplary customer service experience you would like to share? Please share it below, on on my Facebook page.
What can we all learn from Najwa’s world-class service story shared in my last post? A LOT!
Typically, in dental practices and other service businesses, when the idea of truly incorporating service into the daily mix of client/guest/patient interaction, I am met with grunts and groans as the perception is that any of these ideas will cost a lot of money and slow us down and interfere with the job at hand. Najwa clearly demonstrated that this is just not true.
Here are a few insights we can apply from Najwa that will, when applied on a persistently consistent basis, grow your business, enhance your bottom line, and make working at your business much more fun.
- She, as the Receptionist, executed the 5 E’s: Eye contact, Enthusiastic greeting, Ear-to-Ear smile, Engaging, Educates.
- Cost: Nothing!
- She created a “WOW” experience! How did she know my name and she had never met me? Simple…she took the time to care and read it off my credit card.
- Cost: Nothing!
- She delivered a service connection not normally delivered by the majority of her competitors!
- Cost: Nothing!
- She finished by asking if there was anything else she could do for me to make my stay more comfortable.
- Cost: Nothing!
- She delivered Above-and-Beyond care by providing me a detailed driving map and a Fandango report to the closest movie theatres…unsolicited.
- Cost: Nothing!
It always seems impossible until it’s done. While you feel your guests are demanding, your competitors won’t!
Now go out and deliver some legendary service and have fun doing it.
The New Year is now here and like so many others before it, the beginning of the next year is filled with all the ugliness of murder, mayhem, unhappiness, and, of course, we can’t forget the immediate memory of the debacle of the “financial cliff.” Because I believe we become what we think about most of the time, I am making a conscious decision to focus my 2013 coaching emphasis on the one thing we have control over…our attitude.
I choose the attitude of gratitude & service and want to share with you below a few poignant thoughts to help you start 2013 with several appreciation affirmations guaranteed to enhance your day, your relationships, and your affluence.
“God gave you a gift of 86 400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you?”
– William Arthur Ward
“Thanksgiving creates abundance.”
– Ann Voskamp
“The value we place on what we’ve been given correlates to our depth of gratitude for it.”
– Todd Stocker
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
– William Arthur Ward
“When you express gratitude for the blessings that come into your life, it not only encourages the universe to send you more, it also sees to it that those blessings remain.”
– Stephen Richards
“Though they only take a second to say, thank you’s leave a warm feeling behind that can last for hours.”
– Kent Allan Rees, Molly Withers and the Golden Tree
What can you do in your practice to make it unique…make it different…make it the place where people want to receive their dental care? If you don’t care then there’s no reason to read the rest of this.
However, if you have a strong Service DNA, consider creating a Secret Service Allowance for each and every one of your team members. Give them an allowance of between $25 and $50 every month that they MUST spend on your guests/clients/patients in any way they deem to be helpful – a way to express gratitude or to make up for a service defect.
Examples of uses for this Secret Service Allowance:
- Gift card to Starbucks for running behind schedule.
- A practice anniversary gift.
- Cookies by Design for a guest’s birthday.
- Movie tickets to the guest that was cooperative during a difficult procedure.
- A bottle of wine for completing a large case.
What other ideas can you come up with? I would love to hear them in the comments below, or on my Facebook page.
Here’s a thought: “Don’t ask the customer what they want. Give them something they cannot live without.” I’d call it genuine care, service and attention.
Too often, I hear dentists and their teams say:
- Our business is off.
- The economy is terrible.
- Patients don’t want to schedule.
- We are understaffed.
- It’s impossible to find “good people”.
The list goes on…it is much too easy to place the blame on things outside ourselves. All businesses go through cycles and it’s even easier to invent excuses.
What’s the possibility that you and or your team may be getting in the way?
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. However, stop complaining and DO SOMETHING. Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.
Here are some ideas to help us adjust our “bad weather-day thinking”:
- What if you spent your day catching people doing things right? Then praise them.
- Check to see if you are using the Mushroom Management Style: keep everyone in the dark and expect them to grow. If so, be more transparent in your business.
- Incorporate the idea that you can’t promise your patients sunny weather, but you can promise to hold an umbrella over them when it rains.
- Affirm daily that your glass is half-full.
Creating new habits can be scary and fun at the same time and, if you do it correctly, the results can be fabulous!
For the past 2 years I had thought about the value and benefit of hiring a personal trainer to help me tone my aging body, add years to my life, and encourage myself to be more active. I knew the benefits would be positive; I simply needed to take ACTION.
This past winter, while living in Phoenix, Arizona, I did just that and signed up for 28 sessions with a personal trainer. The first 7 or 8 sessions were brutal as I had been so out of shape and neglected myself for so many years. Oh, I do my daily 3-mile power walk but I have to tell you…strength training is a whole new ballgame. Eventually the visits became more comfortable. My weight was beginning to drop. I could see and feel more strength developing in my major muscle groups. And, probably more importantly, I was feeling better about myself because I had made a commitment to improve and I STUCK WITH IT (not easy incidentally).
Moral of the story: When you are sick and tired of being sick and tired and finally decide you need to do something different to make your situation better, take the first step; believe that you can and you are half way there.
I was visiting with my very cool nephew, Chad Dennis, and we chatted about his job at Starbucks. At first blush, I thought he was simply selling coffee. After a few minutes of listening to him passionately explain about Core Values; the need to create “enthusiastically satisfied” customers and employees; developing innovative and flexible solutions to bring about positive change….I was mesmerized. This young man explained how he has a responsibility to create an atmosphere where guests are treated as guests, and that presentation and reliability are keys to the “Starbucks Experience”.
It was refreshing and astounding to hear these kinds of words come out of the mouth of a 20 year old. He went on to detail the value and positive experience he gained through the two week training program: where he had to learn the Starbucks value system, how to make certain the customer always gets what they wanted, as well as how to make great refreshments.
I’d love to be served by more Chad’s…a great smile and an eagerness to learn.
I know you’re saying, “But Coach Ron… It’s not even April 15th yet!” Tax management is an integral element of the entire financial picture. By working with a talented accountant – year round – you can take advantage of all the legitimate tax reduction opportunities provided in the Internal Revenue Code, that are appropriate for you. I coach my full contact coaching clients to be cognizant of their financials, just like a CEO of a corporation would do.
- Understand how proper planning can save taxes. You will be more likely to maximize legitimate and appropriate deductions that are provided by law. Proper planning will benefit your practice by minimizing taxes. This needs to occur all year round, so keep it front of mind.
- Schedule your annual tax-planning meeting in September. It’s just around the bend. Request and expect tax savings recommendations from your accountant at this meeting. This enables you adequate time to make and carry out recommendations in a timely fashion, like purchasing new equipment before December 31st.
- Think before you act. Before acquiring equipment, review the tax ramifications and the lease versus purchase considerations. This can help you save money and enhance cash flow.
How much have you shared with your team regarding your practice numbers? What do they know about the financial statements? When did you last discuss the profitability of your business at a Morning Huddle?
Too many Dental CEOs operate under the philosophy that practice revenue numbers are top-secret. To the Dental CEO, the numbers should be kept in Fort Knox.
In my experience as the Dental Coach, I’ve seen that failure to share key financial information misses a huge opportunity to get everyone involved in growing a profitable dental practice.
Use an Open Book management approach to teach your employees how their individual function contributes to the profitability of the company’s profits.
- Educate your team to what each line item means and how it impacts the practice profitability.
- Ask your accountant to develop easy-to-read financial statements.
- Track important numbers each month and share the significance with your team. Examples are production, collection, treatments recommended vs. treatment accepted.
- Invite the team to make suggestions for places to cut costs.
Open Book Management enables employees to make better decisions and leads to explosive growth. It implies that you trust your team, believe they are capable of understanding the business and have faith in them.
“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes