Archive for Dental Practice Customer Service
Two Different Doctor’s Offices
Boy, if this doesn’t hit the nail on the head, I don’t know what does!
Two patients limp into two different medical clinics with the same complaint.
Both have trouble walking and appear to require a hip replacement.
The FIRST patient is examined within the hour, is x-rayed the same day and has a time booked for surgery the following week.
The SECOND patient sees his family doctor after waiting 3 weeks for an appointment, then waits 8 weeks to see a specialist, then gets an x-ray, which isn’t reviewed for another week. And finally has his surgery scheduled for 6 months from then.
Why the different treatment for the two patients?
The FIRST is a Golden Retriever.
The SECOND is a Senior Citizen.
What differentiates your dental practice from the next?
In their book, How Full Is Your Bucket?, Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton provide the student of practice management with a powerful lesson in understanding human potential and motivation. The metaphor in this book suggests that each person carries an invisible bucket of emotions, along with a dipper, which he or she can use to either add to other people’s buckets or to dip from them. In the end, research shows that filling someone else’s bucket benefits both parties — the person who gave the praise and the person who received it.
The Gallup Organization surveyed almost 4 million workers on the topics of recognition and praise. Some of the startling results:
• 65% of people reported receiving no recognition on the job last year,
• an estimated 22 million workers are “actively disengaged,” or extremely negative in their workplace.
Those practices smart enough to recognize the impact of employee satisfaction and have begun offering recognition and praise report see the following results:
• increased individual productivity—higher income to the practice and team
• better safety records/fewer accidents on the job—reduced costs to the practice
• employees stay with the practice longer—HUGE cost savings to the practice
• higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers—positively impacts the bottom line with increased revenues to the practice.
Consider the following strategies, adapted from the Gallup organization, that you can take now. The many small interactions or moments that make up your day — approximately 20,000 moments by one study’s count — weigh in on either the positive or negative side. These moments influence who we are, how we feel, and how we perform.
Here are five strategies for reducing the negativity in your culture:
1. Prevent “Bucket Dipping.” Increase your own awareness of how often your comments are negative. Work toward a ratio of five positive comments to every one negative.
2. Shine a Light on What Is Right. Try focusing on what employees or peers do right rather than where they need improvement, and discover the power of reinforcing good behaviors.
3. Make Good Friends. People with good friends at work have better safety records, receive higher customer satisfaction scores, and increase workplace productivity.
4. Give Unexpectedly. A recent poll showed that the vast majority of people prefer gifts that are unexpected.
5. Modify the Golden Rule to the Platinum Rule. Instead of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” you should “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” Individualization is key when filling others’ buckets.
Talk to your team; rid yourself of “stinkin-thinkin”; and by all means put yourself in charge of your morale. If you allow attitudes in your office go sour, your employees will be mentally down and out. Create higher expectations; take charge of filling people’s buckets; Act upbeat, and you and your team will feel better, perform better, and………..you will create a dental office where people will want to come to work.
If you think using those “pre-scripted,” post-treatment survey questions offered up by the digital texting and appointment reminder services will serve as your self-appraisal, I fear you are misguided.
Patient feedback is vital to running your practice.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get…a Coach Ron-ism. When you ask your patients for what they want or how you’re doing, you will be amazed what you will learn. Use simple surveys that give your patients the opportunity to provide you and your team feedback. Consider doing office surveys at least twice a year. What you can expect to receive is information that will help you grow your practice…as well as your income.
Keep in mind that measuring patient satisfaction isn’t as easy as slapping a few questions on a card. The process needs to be carefully mapped out – from the way you ask questions to the way you respond to results.
Consider the following guidelines:
- Determine the objective of your survey. What do you want to learn? What do you want to improve, grow, change, and expand? What decisions do you want to make with this valuable information?
- Ask the right questions. Choose questions carefully or your survey won’t give you the information you really need. Be very specific about what you want to learn about your practice. Do you want to know how well your patients are being greeted? Do you want to know how your patients feel about how well their teeth were cleaned? Do you want to know if your injections are painless?
- Keep your surveys short and sweet and easy to read and understand. People are busy (or so they think) and when surveying patients, we need to be sensitive to their time constraints. Think like the customer and make them simple and brief.
I have additional guidelines, should you choose to request them.
“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” ~ Jimmy Johnson
What three “extras” will you provide in your workweek that will set you apart from the others?
Have you ever gotten up in the morning and feel “punk?” You know the feeling…not too perky – a little “off” – perhaps a bit grumpy…and for no good reason. You just woke up that way.
Well that happened to me the other day. Aside from feeling not so bubbly, I struggled to get on my bike for my 6-10 mile early morning exercise ride. I managed to get on the road and in traveling mode around the neighborhood at 6:30 am. I came across an inordinate number of people walking their dogs, jogging, even other bike riders.
As I came upon the first person, I yelled out a not-too-energetic “Good Morning” and was returned with a resounding, “Good morning to you. I hope this is a great day for you.” Her response immediately perked me up. When I came upon the next person and the next and for the remainder of my ride, I found myself positively expressing an unambiguous “GOOD MORNING” to everyone I encountered. And, everyone reciprocated accordingly.
Forty-five minutes later when I returned home and dismounted from my bike, I felt energized. At that moment I realized I had shifted my thinking from a lousy day to a fabulous day. I had Good Morning’ed my way into a better day. My little hissy-fit morning turned into something so much better and it reminded me that a bad attitude is like a flat tire – you can’t get very far until you change it.
How do you turn a challenging day into a great day? I’d love to hear your thoughts here, or on my facebook page.
At EVERY point of contact you have with your patient, guest, or client, are you and your team delivering Real Service?
Without an honest inventory, we will not know what we don’t know! For practices that feel like they are struggling, I suggest they wake up and re-evaluate your direction and vision. Real Service is the distinctive competency that will separate you from all the others. Period! From my experience, less than 5% of those business owners will take the information I share around service and service excellence and apply it. That means 95% of those who have heard, read and have been trained in delivering Real Service won’t take advantage of this remarkable practice and life-builder.
Where does that leave you? In a “sweet-spot!” Do what the 3-5% of those who implement do and set yourself apart from the rest. Don’t be fooled by a slick speaker or some “institute” to think that having the latest and greatest technology trumps Real Service.
Here is an exercise I invite you to do with your team at your next Monthly Gathering. Ask the following questions with the team and record the responses. Answer honestly. Don’t be afraid to identify any blind spots, as this is your opportunity to correct them. Then prioritize your list of ideas and identify a Champion (leader) for that initiative. Empower them with both the responsibility and the authority to take the task to completion, all with a time-line, budget and measurables.
- Customer expectations are always changing and today are at an all-time high…and rising! How are we keeping up with these expectations? Provide 5 examples from the past month.
- “There is only one boss, the customer, and he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” ~ Sam Walton. What is our “attrition” rate in this business? How much is going out the back door and for what reasons?
- You can say what you want about who you (think) are, but people believe what they experience. What is the “experience” our guests receive at every point of contact with our business (phone, marketing, face-to-face, hand-offs from one team member to another, financial discussions, personal contact, follow-up, etc.)?
- We want our standards to be what our competition considers above and beyond. What are our minimum standards? How do we define above and beyond? How do we differ from other service providers?
- “Different is not always better, but better is always different.” ~ Dale Dauten. How are we better? How do we know it?
- A recession is a terrible thing to waste. What are we doing to, not only survive, but thrive as we come out of the most current recession. Remember, in the majority of the cases, it’s NOT the economy!
- “In the end…there is only one point of view that matters, there is only one perspective that matters and there is only one perception that matters – the customer’s.” ~ Jeffrey Gitomer. Do we know, really know our customer’s perception? How do we know? How often do we check?
- Why is it so hard for many businesses to understand the need to focus on the way their customers look at them?
Be honest with yourself. Let me know how it goes.
Antithesis-Juxtopposed-Opposite…Real Service vs. Crappy Service…there is a clear distinction!
And for service providers and we business owners, we damn well better recognize that Social Media is turning the idea of customer service upside down. And I’m doing it right now.
Sweetness and I, for over 10 years, have loved our queen-size Tempur-Pedic mattress that we purchased from Mattress Matters in North Olmsted, Ohio. Wanting to expand our sleeping quality, on March 28, 2014, we revisited this store and purchased a new king-sized Tempur-Pedic with the built-in cooling feature. How exciting for old people…I can tell you first hand.
At the time of the sale, we were told the store needed to order factory-direct, as our “kool/cool Tempur-Pedic” was not available in the warehouse. We were unaware of the extended delay in delivery that required two phone calls from us to discover the “when” on the delivery. When it arrived, the very contentious deliverymen indicated that when they opened the packaging, there was an obvious flaw in the mattress covering and that, while not structural in nature, could be handled with a new cover. The salesman was notified and we were told this was IMPOSSIBLE in the words of the factory folks. They promised to replace the cover and all would be “peachy-keen.”
So, as of May 27, 2014, over two months later and several follow-up phone calls and still no resolve. Here is my resolve: Never will I purchase from these folks…and now you know it too. I love the mattress; I really dislike the local service and “lip-service” about how “we take such great care of our customers.” BS! Tempur-Pedic, while a sleeping delight, also is a substantial investment. I would have expected something different. No thank you note for your business, no follow-up from the store to rectify the problem…only Crappy Service!
Now here is the ANTITHESIS…one of my favorite eateries is Hyde Park Grill in Westlake, Ohio. Being a HUGE steak-lover, I purposely visit this store because of the great attention to detail they direct to, not only their food, but to their “guest care.” This place is sooooooo good, that the presumption is that you will never have a bad meal. As is typical, I was served with panache’ by Rachel Gregor, Jonathon Bates, and hosted by Ornela Kryeziu. They made my guest and me feel like we were the only people in the place. I love rib-eye steaks and was suggested to get their most “tricked-out,” super-duper, ultra-aged, bone-in rib eye.
Taking their recommendation, I ordered and continued on with my wonderful evening with my guest, Camille. Her food was prepared to perfection. Mine was quite rare (I ordered medium). I requested it be cooked further and when returned was still rare. The third time was a charm! That steak was unbelievable! I felt like a cannibal as I feverishly devoured it. (I know, for you vegetarians or save the whale-type folks, this is sacrilege, so forgive me). Then, in a stealth-like fashion, Mr. Scott Mehl, the General Manager of the restaurant, approached me, stood with confidence and poised in front of me, placed his card to my left and said, “Dr. Ron, I regret your meal was not cooked to your liking and it took us three times to meet your needs. Your dinner is on me.” Leaving as stealth-like as he arrived, he would not accept anything but my recognition of gratitude. No “lip-service” here. This man and his team delivered Real Service.
So, whom would you like to do business with? Folks who bullshit and tell you all the fluff and accolades about what they “will” do for you…or the folks who tell you they are about excellence and then LIVE IT?
Often, it is not the company’s product or service that distinguishes it in the marketplace, but rather how a company interacts with its customers. I choose Hyde Park Grill in Westlake, Ohio.
Is There a Place to *Herd* Sourpusses?
Recently I was out taking my 3-mile power walk through my neighborhood on an unusually warm and sunny early afternoon, when I came upon an elderly man and women (funny I use this descriptor as I too am old) who were doing some spring clean-up in their front yard.
With a pleasant smile on my face, I called out to both of them, “Good afternoon to you both.” Together they looked up surprised. In a stern-like fashion, with cold eyes glued to mine, the wife blurted out to me, “What is there to feel nice about?” The husband, standing about 10 feet away, shook his head dumbfounded, almost apologetically…like he knew she was a nutcase.
I immediately stopped in my fast-paced tracks and looked directly into her cold eyes and said to her, “Ma’am, just about everything is good and I’m declaring this to be a great day.” I resumed my walk and, as I was passing her husband, I leaned into him and uttered in a quiet voice, “I don’t envy you!” His immediate reply, “Please take her off my hands.”
Now I know there will be some of you reading this who will share or lecture me the following platitude(s): “Hey Dr. Ron, cool your jets. You should be more loving and caring as everyone is carrying some kind of heavy load, or she’s having a bad day…blah, blah, blah.” I am proclaiming NONSENSE! How in the hell do you turn a “good afternoon” into a negative – particularly towards a swell guy like me simply walking down the sidewalk? Post Script: This is the third time this lady has barked out to me and/or my wife.
Please join me in declaring “I will not allow others to rain on my parade!” I am prohibiting sourpusses from invading my space and I am consciously surrounding myself with folks who inspire and believe the world looks brighter from behind a smile.
Sourpuss reminded me that you can’t change how people treat you or what they say to you. All you can do is shift how you react and whom you choose to be around. The next time I see Sourpuss, I intend to wish her a happy day regardless!
Be happy. Be yourself. If others don’t like it, then let them be.
Happiness is a choice.
You bet I do! For all fifteen years of my Coaching practice, twice a year I have surveyed my clients. I want my coaching services to be world-class, legendary, and 5-star. That’s what sets me apart from others. It is my distinctive competency and anything less than this standard is an opportunity for growth.
The survey results are in and here is a brief summary of what my clients had to say:
1. How well is Coach Ron meeting or exceeding your coaching expectations?
Completely Satisfied: 100%
2. What value do you place in Coach Ron creating the “Eagles Nest,” a private Facebook page for team members to glean “best practice” ideas from other practices in our coaching family?
No Value: 0%
Little Value: 37%
Very Valuable: 63%
3. How responsive has Coach Ron been to your needs (i.e., extra calls, document review, resource information, support with your team, etc.)?
Completely Satisfied: 100%
4. What do you most value in our coaching relationship and why?
- The opportunity to develop ideas and bounce them off an experienced expert.
- Experience, wisdom and honesty.
- Consistent excellence.
- The feeling that there is always someone in my corner who understands me.
- I depend upon your candid, even painful, insight to keep me on track and away from preventable dangers.
- Personal relationship and how well Coach Ron knows my strengths, my weaknesses, my personality traits and me.
- Your balance and clear-headed thinking.
- Your availability, the expanse of extra materials and ease with which they are received and your openness.
- Encouragement and a person to exchange ideas with.
5. How well do you believe the presentation of your Simplified Business Plan to the Mastermind Group prepares you for the FUTURE of DENTISTRY?
- The plan is useful in articulating my goals and plan for the future. Who knows what hidden traps and ploys from others this may keep me from.
- It is “essential” to my survival.
- It keeps your clients focused on future visioning and possibility thinking.
- Awesome idea! It has really stretched my way of thinking and planning for the future.
- This business plan idea has continued to open my eyes to existing ideas and other ideas that I never even considered.
What have I learned and what ACTIONS will I take as a result of the survey?
- I need to remain vigilant and be certain I “under promise and over deliver.”
- My private Facebook page, Eagle’s Nest™, needs more of my attention and to set a timeline as to when to pull the plug if interest does not grow.
- Acknowledge and recognize my clients for their support, love and loyalty. As a consequence, I have prepared a special gift for them all.
Action Item for This Week: have you surveyed your clients (and patients) yet this year? If you need ideas on how to do this, I’ve got you covered, here.
Dad may be a Dork…but maybe he’s not so stupid after all
When my two daughters reached the age of 12, for their birthday, I confidently gave them a beautiful, leather-bound (with zipper) Franklin Goal Planner. Each was complete with calendar, visioning & planning tools, special ruler, and matching pen accouterments. I was so proud of myself. After all, I wanted my girls to grow up and be anal retentive, organized and future-focused like their Dad!
I knew this tool had been helpful to me in creating my vision for my dental practice, my family and my life and I wanted to pass on this wisdom to Ashley and Brianne. Can you imagine my dismay when they were less than impressed on receiving this gift and in both cases they declared, “Dad you really are a Dork. Who would ever give a Franklin Day Planner to their daughter on their 12th birthday?”
I’ve been in a state of constant depression for the past 17 years, afraid my daughters had no direction. (Tongue-in-cheek) I feared they were not listening to the old man’s words of wisdom. I was horrified at the thought they would be wayward in their direction.
Alas, no longer am I disheartened. Just this week my “favorite youngest” daughter, Brianne, sent me the following photo of her nearly completed VISION Board!
I rest my case…the kids were listening! Dad is hopeful knowing that she has taken the action steps to create her future of choice. I am renewed. She is amazing!! Brianne has reminded Dad “the future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.”
Your action step: Create a vision board to support the Core Values of your Dental Practice, and share it with your staff as a daily reminder. Let me know how it goes!
Right after the Christmas Holiday, Trish and I took down all the decorations and the tree and stored all the Santa ‘stuff’. In the process, we decided we wanted to add some “pizzazz” to the house and start the New Year off with some positive energy. Friends and family suggested we get rid of a lot of stuff and go out and buy new stuff. What we knew was that we had been happy and comfortable with our ‘current stuff’, yet, we wanted to “turbo charge” a new look with what we currently had throughout the house.
We decided to shake up the look of several of our rooms by shopping our own home. Our friend’s first thought was what we would buy. Probably true in some instances, yet, we felt it would be more satisfying, both for our psyche and our bank account, to scour the house for pieces of furniture and knick-knack’s that may be the perfect solution to an energized living environment. We discovered that swapping just one piece of furniture for another or moving a rug from one room to another, had the ability to give the room just enough of a shake up that it could feel fresh and new without necessitating a full-fledged makeover.
Also known as “use what you have” decorating, shopping our house entailed searching our own home for forgotten treasures and looking at what we already use with fresh eyes. We did a walk through of the house, looking in every nook and cranny for forgotten items. We then took photographs of everything so we could determine what would work where. We decided we would remove, not just add items…particularly those pieces of furniture, rugs or items that just didn’t seem to fit any longer.
The end result – the house looks delightfully different – it cost us nothing other than our creativity and labor (it did take a lot of physical moving of stuff) and we were already comfortable with the ‘stuff’ we had accumulated over the years and it served us well. You may want to try this yourself…the results just might surprise you like it did us. We have a new home with relatively no effort and expense!