Archive for Dental Practice Customer Service
I have supported, on a P.R.N. basis, a young dental doctor beginning his private practice. To generate income to support his family, he is working, in the interim, at a corporate dental facility. In addition to delivering patient-centered quality care in his private practice, Dr. Tom’s focus is to deliver extraordinary guest service as well as grow his team through positive recognition and acknowledgement. As one of the lead doctors in this corporate facility, he received an interesting communication from the owner prior to their Morning Huddle and he passed the communication off to me for my review:
“Coach Ron, The hardworking staff at this (Corporate Dental Facility – will remain unnamed) work 13 &14 hours each day, no lunches, for industry low pay, with no dental benefits, no 401k matching, etc., etc. They still produce $130k per month operating with two assistants, two front desk administrators, and one doc everyday. This is our inspirational morning huddle message from corporate. Have fun laughing like I did.”
NOTE: Below is the exact message with the exact language, spelling and choice of words. The only thing modified is the name and location…
The following message is from “The Owner”: “ABC” location needs to improve and improve quickly – if we are going to constantly worry about patient’s pocket and not about their dental health – we will continue to have days with less patients and low production. I know that you all work hard and want to have great days just as much as me but if you are unable to educate patients to make dental needs a priority – it indicates to me that something is stopping you to be successful when the time comes to take an action. Please call me tomorrow and let me know – what is that things which is stoping you to gain same day full mouth Tx acceptance from patients. Daily observances: National Tradesman Day. Employee Signature acknowledges the review of today’s huddle information (ALL STAFF)
There you have it…makes you feel warm all under doesn’t it?
The older I get the more I appreciate Thanksgiving. Consider this…..On the surface, what comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving?
Often our minds conjure up images of delicious turkey dinners with all the trimmings: potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, fruit salad, dinner rolls with butter…my mouth is watering already! (Remember, I’m the Turkey King.) Yet, in reality, is that what Thanksgiving is all about?
This year, perhaps more than most in recent past, is a time for all of us to commit to living our life out of a place of gratitude. Turn on the TV, read the newspaper, or glance at any of the magazine covers and you will be reminded of all the negative forecasts for the market, the ugliness in our politics, and even learn of what Nostradamus had predicted for us.
We have a choice: plan for our future and practice daily thankfulness or “buy into” all that is perceived as wrong with the world. I choose planning and thankfulness as I have read that when gratitude rules, grumbles dissolve.
It’s impossible to be grateful and angry, or sad, or discouraged at the same time. I believe we are in a unique position with our patients/clients and our families. We can, by intention and planning, help those we serve, including our employees to find reasons to be grateful. Grateful people are more resilient and have a much easier time overcoming obstacles. They don’t take others for granted.
In our businesses, we have the ability to make gratitude a “signature strength.” As business CEO’s, we get to set the example by planning out our new year on how we will regularly express our gratitude. By being thankful we make our practices and business different from all the others.
As the CEO, when we choose to live and practice our personal and business lives out of gratitude we will soon discover how others behave: they will feel inspired, energized, happy, eager to help our customers, and they will be much more content with themselves and their environment.
Last month we celebrated Bosses Day.
One of my clients was stunned, startled and star-struck by what his team did for him. They knew the most powerful and predictable people-builders are praise and encouragement.
Dr. Della Bella’s team wanted him to know how much they appreciated him and flooded him with all kinds of acknowledgements. He described it as follows:
“A nice surprise awaited me this morning as, unbeknownst to me, it’s BOSSES DAY!!!! It started off with pastries and coffee for our morning huddle. As I went back through the clinical area of the office, EACH treatment room is adorned with Bosses Day balloons and laminated messages taped to each unit. Flowers and balloons awaited me in my private office and gifts – Flat Alex Coasters and a Bosses Flask were presented.“
This office has a culture of acknowledgement and they proved that by acknowledging the acknowledger with the effect that Dr. Alex felt loved, valued and appreciated.
ACTION ITEM: What can your team do this month, the month of Gratitude, to unexpectedly thank their doctor for what he/she does on their behalf…and Doctors, what fun ideas might you conjure up to recognize your team mates.
Keep this thought in mind: “All children (and adults) wear the sign: “I want to be important NOW.” Many of our problems with them arise because nobody reads the sign.” What will you do today to read someone’s “I need to be important NOW” sign?
Click on this link to see how the Della Bella team surprised Dr. Alex…P.S. check out the amazing corn beef sandwich.
For years I have listened to my doctor clients as they disappointingly ask me, “My team always wants me to praise and acknowledge them, day in and day out, and yet, how come they never do the same for me?” I can tell, at times, they feel empty, unvalued and unappreciated. (Does this sound like the same comments and feelings echoed by the team?)
I know…to some this may sound like some sentimental, non-self-actualized, “woozy” doctor. However, stop for a minute and put yourself in their shoes. They are expected to be on their “A” game every day, have the proverbial smile on the face, always be aware of all the wonderful things the team is doing, and finding every opportunity to pat individuals on the back while acknowledging their performance.
Now, on the other side, the most effective Leaders are on their “A” game routinely, do wear an engaging smile every day, and are catching their team members doing things “right” and acknowledging them liberally.
So, what’s the big deal? I believe we are ALL drowning in information and starving for attention. As our world becomes more digitized and less “human touch,” we must, if we want a successful business and practice, create and live a culture where acknowledgement is the norm. Whether you are the Leader or an employee, anyone too busy to say thank you or who fails to look for opportunities to acknowledge team members will get fewer and fewer chances to say it.
I was recently “gifted” by my clients when they individually offered up positive comments and accolades about their personal experiences with my coaching. The result was a glow of appreciation unmatched and an inspiration to do even more for them.
You may want to ask yourself: “Who can I acknowledge today?” It can be a co-worker, your boss, a spouse, your kids, or even a patient.
How do you BRAG about your team or what YOU do to take care of your patients, your family, and your friends? God forbid we say or do something that is not PC (Politically Correct)!!!
- Thank you, Denise, for taking a strong position on our practice Value of not lying about submitting dates on Mrs. Smith’s dental treatment…even though she is pissed you wouldn’t change them. I want to BRAG about you!
- Dr. Della Bella, with your permission, I want to share with the dental world how you are turning your Morning Huddles into fun playgrounds. I want to BRAG about you!
- Zel Ostro, the kinds of special poems and phrases you share with others has a way to make their day better. I want to BRAG about you!
- Dr. Pavicic, how you have trained graduating dental students at the Case College of Dental Medicine to be prepared for their future by telling them the truth is worth BRAGGING about!
- Debbie, at Dr. Valo’s office, what you have done to keep everything together during some really tough times is REALLY worth BRAGGING about!
- Aunt Brenda, the way you have been a guardian to our two daughters is more than remarkable. I want to BRAG about you!
Do you get the “drift”?
“Silent gratitude isn’t worth very much to anyone.” Why not Brag about someone today?
So, to make your business or practice look different, why not look for the good in other people and tell them what you see?
Want more? If you really want to learn and care…Simply ask me for more.
As a “Secret Agent,” certified by the DiJulius Group, I have encouraged my clients to establish a special system in their practice that takes advantage of Visual and Auditory cues from their patients…guests (a term coined by my client, Dr. Imm). That is, every member of the team needs to be a DETECTIVE to be on the lookout for those “things” (preferences, life values, and/or preferences that are impactful for your guests).
We become detectives for F.O.R.D...
- F (family)
- O (occupation)
- R (recreation…things that interest your guests)
- D (dreams and desires)
Just like my daughters, Ashley & Brianne, who identified what Dad values and appreciates (as I shared in my last post) and then either delivers that or supports that or acknowledges that is what F.O.R.D. can do for your practice. Imagine if you instituted a system (if not already in place) where you collect important information about your guest’s family, occupation, recreation interests and their life dreams and then address these important elements with them when they are visiting your office? It’s called relationship building.
Your practice will be like no other in your area…GUARANTEED.
I know most will say: “This is common sense and we do all that and our patients love us.”
Coach Ron says: “Common sense is uncommonly practiced.” Why not take an inventory to determine how consistently you and your team F.O.R.D. your guests and what do you do with it?
Want more? If you really want to learn and care…Simply ask me for more.
I only support successful dentists who would rather be in control of their business as opposed to their business controlling them. The result for them is they think, act, and behave like an “ethical” CEO where they create life balance, a practice of choice and make more money sooner.
As an example, I received the piece below from one of my clients, Dr. Alex Della Bella, and even more specifically from Heather Ferris, RDH, his talented, guest-centered, and energetic hygienist who was in charge of their Morning Huddles during one of their leadership rotations. She used it as a positive tool to ignite the team to look for opportunities to serve their guests by taking individual responsibility.
A Poem about Everybody, Somebody, Nobody & Anybody
Once upon a time, there were four people…
Their names were Everybody, Somebody, Nobody and Anybody.
Whenever there was an important job to be done, Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. When Nobody did it, Everybody got angry because… It was Everybody’s job!
Everybody thought that Somebody would do it, But Nobody realized that Nobodywould do it.
So, consequently, Everybody blamed Somebody… When Nobody did what Anybody could have done in the first place!
~ Anonymous (of course!)
Heather, we need you to help more of us realize accountability resides in Everybody!
Last week we talked about Consistent Consistency in Service, today’s article is about evaluating and incorporating persistent consistency in the dental office.
- What have your patients/guests come to expect from you and your team at every visit? Are you on time all the time?
- Does your administrative team greet every guest every time with a smile and hello using the patient’s name?
- Do you always call your patients in the evening after a challenging procedure? Every time?
- Are your restrooms spotless and stocked with toothbrushes, toothpaste, the rubbish can empty, and the mirror spotless? All the time?
- Do you have a fail-safe system in place when there are service defects (and we know they will happen as perfection is an impossibility)? Service recovery is magnificent in growing your brand loyalty!
Wait before you declare that this Dental Tip is useless. Think of this:
“Successful people do ALL the time what less-than-successful people do SOME of the time.” ~ Coach Ronism
There are few things more frustrating than a dental practice that offers outstanding patient/guest service on one visit and miserable or miss-attended service the next. Service consistency is an expectation of all patients/guests at all times; they want peace of mind and no unpleasant surprises.
I know this isn’t your office yet I invite you to take an inventory…an honest inventory.
Inconsistency is the cornerstone of many less-than-successful dental practices and businesses today since customers/guests do not have the patience or inclination to continue to visit a business where they do not ever know what to expect.
Here are a few PERSITENT CONSISTENCY tips:
- Review your practice core values regularly to determine that they are being considered in every interaction with your patients.
- Recognize those employees who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty.
- Educate your entire team to what you WANT and EXPECT (that means you have to do the work to determine what you want and expect). Do you back that up with training and other resources to help them be successful?
- Make your Morning Huddles energizing, guest-focused and service-oriented.
- Set Standards that focus on consistent results time after time.
- Make it all about the RELATIONSHIPS! Relationships, whether professional or personal, are built on the solid foundation of trust. Do I like you? Do I trust you? If so, I will buy from you!
- The Ten-Foot “Hi!” Make it a rule that if any employee is within 10 feet of a guest, patient, employee, owner, UPS delivery person, or maintenance person, you acknowledge that person with a “Hi, nice to see you!” (Thank you John DiJuliis)
Now, what will it take for you to be a “DUKE” with your practice? Remember my Ronism: “Successful people do ALL the time what less-than-successful people do SOME of the time.“
While wintering in Arizona, I engaged a personal training service to help me reduce my “pudge” and increase my strength.
The owner reminded his members that his facility was different from others: it was well maintained and clean. The first 14 visits of my pre-paid 22 visits were met with the owner and facility being very professional and clean, all the equipment was working perfectly and the restrooms were spotless. Short of my “robust” tummy, those 14 visits were met with a very positive “image.”
However, on the 15th visit, I discovered that one of the treadmills had a taped sign that said “Out of Order.” No big deal I thought. However, it remained there for the next six visits. I then noticed on the last two visits the bathroom was untidy, rubbish not emptied and a less-than sanitary sink. NOT GOOD! My initial perception of a persistently consistent experience in this gym was replaced with disappointment and displeasure.
On the other hand, I have had the opportunity to dine nearly a half-dozen times at a wonderful restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, called Mastro’s Ocean Club. I have come to expect the most personalized and exceptional service EVERY TIME I visit.
Because of many client visits to our winter home, we had the opportunity to take guests to the Ocean Club twice in two weeks and be served by Mr. Duke Hornia, CS. This man demonstrated PERSISTENT CONSISTENCY with every visit. My clients and I were made to feel like we were the only folks he had to serve; his smile was from ear to ear and his care and concern for our every need was anticipated in advance. Everything, including the restrooms, were spotless and as I had experienced from the very first time.
Thanks to Duke, I know what excellence and consistency in service looks like. Next time you are in Scottsdale and want a superb dining experience, ask for Duke at the Ocean Club. He demonstrated that our behavior speaks louder than our intentions.
Do you have a story about outstanding customer service to share? I would love to hear it in the comments below, or on my Facebook page.
How likely is it that you can remember everything all the time? What would be the value of checklists for your business?
A client was upset with her chairside assistant because, routinely, something was missing from the set up and during the majority of procedures the assistant had to get up, leave the room and retrieve an instrument or supply item. The doctor was going crazy! I coached the doctor to work in concert with her chairside to create a checklist that would assure that the necessary items were ready and available. Problem solved! Click here for example protocol.
I had another client whose team members contacted me very upset about the haphazard way their Morning Huddles were conducted. No structure, no direction, and no one really never knew what was to be accomplished in this early meeting time and they were directionless during the day. I coached this team to develop a checklist-type of Morning Huddle agenda with specific measurables and identify a Huddle Cop that would lead and orchestrate the checklist process. Problem solved! Click here for an example.
I welcome any ideas you have for additional checklists you have used successfully in your practice. Please share in the comments below, or post to my Facebook page.