Archive for Dental Practice Management Tips
What questions do you have related to your business that you would really like to get some feedback on?
Your list of questions might include…
- How am I doing as your boss?
- What kind of a leader am I?
- What can we do better to make your visit with us special and different?
- What is the customer service level you perceive in our practice?
- Who treated you exceptionally well during your last visit?
- Where can we improve our service?
- When and how would you like to be reminded of your next appointment?
If you REALLY want to know, take the time and ask the questions! Be prepared to learn a lot; share your survey results; articulate what ACTIONS you intend to take as a result of what you learned.
Use this surveying of your customers as a way to train your team and grow your profits.
If you would like a copy of my simple survey, “How Am I Doing As Your Boss” click on the link below, take it yourself then make copies and invite your team to take it anonymously, then compare the results. I suspect you might be surprised and you will have some concrete action steps for improvement in your team relationships.
Click here for the How Am I Doing as Your Boss survey.
What is the possibility you are “enabling” your employees? If you are enabling, you are offering help that perpetuates rather than solves a problem.A doctor who allows a team member to arrive late routinely to the morning huddle because she claims she has to drive through heavy traffic is enabling irresponsibility. The doctor that tolerates an employee who constantly has to get up and down from the chair to retrieve additional instruments or materials is enabling inattention to detail and inefficiency. The team member who is “barked at” by the doctor in front of the patient is enabling disrespect.
It can be a fine line between helping and enabling. Some leaders enable people to remain dependent or unengaged. Stop making excuses and covering up for others!
The word empower is often over-used. Many employers talk about empowering their employees but, often, employees feel disempowered. Here are four of the top 10 things you can do that will really empower your employees, according to employees, not employers!
- Allow employees to actively participate in team and company goals.
Look for every opportunity to include employees at every level of the organization – in being active participants. Employees often report getting one-way directives instead.
- Allow employees to suggest better ways of getting their jobs done.
Ask for employee suggestions for other ways of getting the task or project accomplished. Listen and be willing to really hear the employees’ comments. Employees often report that they have no input and are told exactly how to perform their jobs, leaving no creativity.
- Provide positive reinforcement.
Always listen and acknowledge your employees. Employees often report that their decisions and actions are second-guessed and that most, if not all, feedback given is negative.
- Clearly delegate responsibility and give the employees authority along with the responsibility.
Do you give inconsistent messages? Do you ask the employee to handle a problem or project and then give them negative feedback or give them an assignment and then say “never-mind?” Employees often report that they are given tasks and then told they did it wrong.
To receive the remaining six of my Top Ten Ways to Empower Your Employees, send me an email with Top 10 – Empower in your subject line.
What are the implications for you as a Dental CEO regarding the message I shared last week? This Dental Tip (if you apply it) will enable you to enhance your office culture, have more patients choose to have their dentistry done by you, enrich your team’s morale, make you feel better, encourage staff retention, and make you a lot of money…AND it will cost you NOTHING!!
It’s called the Ten-Foot Rule, so coined by John DiJulius of the DiJulius Group, the author of the book, What’s The Secret.
Just like saying GOOD MORNING had a magical effect on shifting my day from funky to spunky, the Ten-Foot Rule will have the same impact on your business and on every member of your team.
It’s remarkable in its simplicity and like I said, it costs nothing. Are you ready for this?
Tomorrow morning you declare to your entire team that, from this time forward, every time and any time (no exceptions) you are within a ten (10) foot vicinity of any human being in your office, you acknowledge them with a hello, a nod, a positive comment, a pat on the back, a simple smile, a “high-five” – ANY form of greeting that lets them know you see them and know they are a living human being. No looking down. No ignoring. No looking away pretending like you never saw this person. No looking straight ahead like a zombie or like you just got out of bed. You give your own positive version of Good Morning…even if it is afternoon.
- There are no exceptions!
- There are no excuses!
- Even if you just saw, spoke to, or interacted with this person only moments earlier!
- And it starts with the Leader of the business!
Coach Ron’s One Week Request: Everyone in the office (Doctor included)…no matter how silly, stupid or ridiculous this 10-Foot Rule sounds, is expected to behave with this new approach. Do this and I promise you that you will notice the following:
- It will enhance your office culture
- You will have more patients choosing to have their dentistry done by you
- You will enrich your team’s morale
- It make you feel better
- Encourages staff retention
- It will make you a lot of money!
Lest you tell me I’m nuts or worse yet, unsubscribe from my incredibly valuable blog, JUST DO IT! Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.
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.
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.
If not, you are among the fortunate. I’ve got coaching stories that would cause you to “gasp” if you heard how some people act towards customers, team members and supervisors in professional settings. I bet you have one or two of your own. It seems that so many dental practices or businesses I interact with have at least one individual – often on the “front line” – who seem to have a chip on their shoulder or is carrying some kind of a cross that they want others to bear with them. They’re often wrong yet never in doubt!
To determine if you have a Sourpuss in your midst, consider the following:
- Look up, pay attention, and discover if there is anyone on your team not greeting guests like friends and family who visit your home. Anything less is a Sourpuss.
- Anonymously survey your team and the guests you serve. Be specific and ask in your survey if there are any Sourpusses in your midst. Oh my gosh – we don’t want to be so brash and frank. Yes you do as your business success demands it! Ok, change Sourpuss to “Grumpy” or some such word.
- Ask yourself privately this question regarding every person on your team: “When standing in front of this person and interacting with them, do I feel *more* or *less* energized and enriched for being in their presence?”
In our current economic environment, there is NO ROOM for a single Sourpuss in a successful, caring, customer-centered business!
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring – all of which have the potential to turn a life around. It can turn a business around as well.
Keep in mind…a bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can’t get very far until you change it. When you have to start compromising yourself and your values for the people around you, it’s probably time to change the people around you. Herd them out of your business and your life.
Learn to appreciate the things you have before time forces you to appreciate the things you once had.
I recently received a communication from one of my incredible clients, Dr. Alex Della Bella, describing a circumstance that arose for he and his beautiful wife, Jennifer, just this past week. After discussing with him, I pleaded with him to allow me to share this remarkable and random act of kindness with my readers. Please take the time to read it…
Friend & classmate of Jennifer Della Bella
“Coach, I just wanted to share an experience Jen and I had this weekend.
A friend and classmate of Jen’s, a married mother of three and a really nice lady, died suddenly of a heart attack on Wednesday evening.
Through other friends, Jen learned that the family had no money for her funeral so the friends set out to do a fundraiser. They could only raise half of the $2000 needed for the expenses and everyone was worried about what to do. Jen and I discussed it (for about 10 seconds) and decided to write a check to the funeral home for $1000, which I did this afternoon. Jen gave it to the deceased’s husband this evening.
I just wanted to tell you how good it felt to be able to give back in this way to such a needy family in their hour of agony. It graphically helps us realize how truly blessed we are.“
What a spontaneous gesture of love, kindness and outreach by the Della Bella’s…all the while realizing gratitude for the bounty they have. Dr. Alex and Jen remind us all we need to learn to appreciate the things you have before time forces you to appreciate the things you once had.
Thank you Della Bella’s for your compassion, gentleness and humanity.
This random act of kindness teaches us that, instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we would be better to compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow man. It then appears, as Dr. Della Bella wrote, we are among the privileged.
“Coach Ron, I need a ‘bunch’ of new marketing ideas!”
This is the common comment I hear from dentists. My response is an emphatic:
No you don’t! Instead be persistently consistent with just a few things.
For some reason, we seem to think we need to come up with fancy, high-tech, innovative ideas to grow our business when, in fact, we know the ‘truth’ already. The truth is we are looking for a magic pill – something that is easy and requires little effort. Nonsense. We know what works. Just a few things that you do better than others and to do it more consistently…just like Rick from Clean Sweeps Chimney Sweeps.
Consider the following epiphanies:
- Non-negotiable service starts at the top. The more you talk about persistent, consistent service, the more it becomes a priority and a part of your business culture.
- Who’s losing sleep? Do you have a Chief Experience Officer in your business that keeps this priority alive?
- We’re in a ‘relationship economy’ and ‘touching’ people (metaphorically as well as physically) in the simplest ways will set you apart from the pack.
- Be better today than yesterday. Systematize the few things that you do better than others and do it more consistently.
What are your ‘few things’ that you do consistently that will bedazzle your patients? Sounds like a team-meeting topic.
This is the key to Rick’s business, Clean Sweep Chimney Sweeps, Inc. This man has mastered the art of service with panache. He’s taken what many might perceive as an innocuous business and made it remarkable.
Every three to four years I call Rick to clean and maintain my fireplace and chimney and every time he bedazzles me with just a few things that make his craft unique. His simple marketing approach sets him apart from others.
EVERY time (persistent consistency) he has been to my home he:
- Is on time.
- Lays down rugs at the doorway and into the house protecting wood floors and carpets; generously ‘drapes’ his work area to prevent any rug damage or soot accumulation.
- Puts on ‘booties’ every time he enters the house, regardless of how many times he needs to go back to his truck for materials or equipment.
- Is meticulous on his technique with no dust or soot flying around the house.
- He is invisible…that is, the only way I knew he was here is I had a clean fireplace!
Rick is persistently consistent in just a few things…the few things that make a BIG difference. No need for a lot of ‘bling’…just simple, effective, customer pleasing – real CUSTOMER CARE.
I have and will continue to recommend Rick to anyone who wants excellence in his or her chimney care and maintenance. How much does he charge? Who cares. When you hire Rick, price is irrelevant. Watching this master craftsman is worth the fee.
Action Step: What can you do today to make your Dental Practice “persistently consistent”? Share your ideas below, or on my facebook page.
I believe it’s a terrible thing to see and have no vision.
Brianne has shared with us a simple, yet remarkable, lesson and tool for those who want to create a future of choice.
What is your practice/business Vision? Is it in writing? Do all your employees know it by heart? Do you know it by heart?
If not, below are some ‘thoughts’ on crafting a Compelling Vision document that will provide all the direction you and your team will need to make 2014 and beyond a reality.
Defined: A vivid description of how the future of the business will be. It must capture the imagination so that people are prepared to devote themselves to transforming that vision into a reality. A compelling vision enables people to feel that the end results are worthwhile – it gives a sense of direction and provides criteria so that people can judge what is important or irrelevant.
Your task: To write, in not more than fifty words, a compelling vision for your business. Imagine this will be presented to every employee.
Writing Your Vision
Here are some questions that you may want to ask yourself and your team as you create your practice Vivid Vision. Additional visioning questions available on request.
- What do I want my life to be like?
- What do I want my practice to be like?
- What type of patients do I want?
- How many patients do I want?
- What kind of dental care do my patients require and expect?
- What kind of facility do I want?
“A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” ~ David Gergen