Archive for Tips from The Dental Coach
You’ve planned and are looking forward to having a remarkably productive first month of the year to set the stage for an amazing 2015 and…
- Monday morning your Chairside Assistant calls in sick 20 minutes before your first patient who is scheduled with you for a three-hour appointment!
- You have your most productive and interesting day of the month going smoothly until 10:45 a.m. when your air compressor craps out! The repairman can’t get to you until tomorrow.
- You have Mrs. Smith sitting in the chair at 8:00 am to seat six anterior veneers, and two minutes into your welcoming conversation with her, you’re informed that the veneers are not here!
- You’ve seated the denture yesterday and Mr. Brown was delighted with the fit, feel and appearance. You patted yourself on the back because it was a challenging case. It’s now 4:50 p.m. and your Appointment Coordinator advises you that Mr. Brown is coming in right now because his wife hates the color of his teeth and the dentures makes him look hideous!
If you have never experienced any or all or some permutation of these, you obviously have just graduated from dental school and have not had the opportunity to experience “life”.
It happens to all of us…that Whack-a-Mole process where by we think we have taken care of that ornery mole and then he pops his head up again in some other place. Just when we think we have everything under control, he pops his head up again! Uggggh!
Click here to read more about Whack-a-Mole Dentistry.
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!
Whether it is 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 or more years in your professional life, what “is” making you or what “will make you” successful by your definition of success?
I am coaching all my clients through a process of crafting their own life business plan and have challenged them with many questions that demand that they look deep and introspectively into what is important to them…to help them determine what they want…to define what success will look like to them.
Below are only a few of those questions. On the surface they appear inconsequential or ‘stupid’, as I had one former client tell me. If you will take the time to be in a “quiet place” and ask yourself these questions, you may discover, as one of my current clients has said, “These questions make me uncomfortable as I’m obligated to look at myself in a way I have never taken the time to do in the past. I am also discovering I need to shift my thinking to create my vision of success.”
Now, you try these questions on for your future:
- If I were to ask you to BRAG on yourself, what would you brag about? (This is not the time to be shy!) (Personal or professional…regardless of how big or small)…list on a separate sheet of paper.
- What do you want?
- When people are around you, do they say “OMG”…in a positive or negative way?
- How much “fun” are you?
- What makes you different than any other dentist (businessperson) up/down the street?
- Are you the type of person who walks into a room and says: ‘Well, here I am!’ or do you say, ‘Ah, there you are.'”
- What do you see as possible for you and your business and/or life?
- How do you want to operate your life as a person? How do you want to operate your business?
- Who are you and what do you do?
- What business am I in and what benefits do the purchasers of my service receive when they choose me?
Refuse to answer these kinds of questions and you will likely be “undescribable.” Take the time to answer these kinds of questions and you will likely be INDESCRIBABLE! and it just might not take you forty years to become an overnight success.
Father’s Day was a few weeks ago and, because of the gifts my two daughters gave me, it reminded me to think of how truly significant they were to me personally. My “favorite oldest” daughter, Ashley, knows I love really funny (sometimes off-color) movies and particularly the movie,The Campaign, with Will Farrell and Zach Galifianakis. Guess what she gave Dad along with a love note? The Campaign. Brianne, my “favorite youngest” daughter, knows I cherish quiet, private time with my girls. What did she give me? Lots of hugs and “I love you Dad” along with an afternoon where we were together, bunched up on the couch while she took a nap next to Dad and I thanked GOD for my family.
Below is a communication Ashley shared with me many years ago and is worth repeating. Both my daughters recognize that, by identifying what Dad values and cherishes, they customize their gifts in the most meaningful ways.
Do you know what the word FAMILY means?
FAMILY = (F)ATHER (A)ND (M)OTHER (I) (L)OVE (Y)OU
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.“
Here are several ideas for you to recognize and “be present” with the good fortune you have in your life. With your permission, I’d like to offer up some simple, seemingly common sense and innocuous ideas for your consideration to add Thank-fullness to your personal and professional life:
- Look in the mirror and thank YOU for all you do and have done for your family, others, those you serve, and yourself! I know you may think I’m lame yet, after surviving a heart attack at 41, I have had to learn to love ME before I can be of value to others. It’s called being SELF-FULL.
- Purchase some Post-It notes (get the 4×6 ones) and write love notes: why I value you, what makes you so attractive, what about you makes me smile, what I am proud about you, and any other thing you can acknowledge to your spouse and kids. Put them on the fridge, in the shower, in the underwear drawer, under the windshield wiper of the car, or simply mail it to them!
- Craft and send a “Just Because” note to every member of your team…addressed to their spouse where you thank them for all they do for the practice, even though you know it takes away from their family and personal life.
- Send an “I am Thankful to YOU” letter to every one of your guests/patients/clients. Nothing long and overly mushy…just an “I appreciate you.”
What step will you take and by when? You know in your heart that Thank-fullness is NOT an option!
I like to model my coaching through leading by example. That’s why, twice every year, I “survey” my clients to determine if I am delivering a service that meets or exceeds their expectations. I also want to determine if I need to add, delete, modify, or adjust elements of my deliverables. I always have a bit of trepidation as I read the results because I want to be perceived as doing a great job, yet, I know there is always an opportunity for growth and improvement.
Seventy-eight percent of my clients responded to my anonymous electronic survey. One of the constructive suggestions on how to better facilitate our monthly Mastermind calls said:
“I just wish we could keep the phone calls to 1 1/2 hours or less. While I love the conversation, it does take away from my family time and that is important to me.”
Thanks to this kind of feedback I can adjust quickly. The adjustment I made to my coaching was to give a ’10 minute warning’ to the group so anyone who needs to leave the call can finish their thoughts and exit and those who wish to stay can do so.
However, I must admit, I really enjoyed several of the positive comments:
- “Coach Ron, on short notice, you provide important verbal skills that enable me to communicate effectively with staff. These are skills you don’t seem to have to prepare for at the moment, which means to me you have honed them over many years. Thanks for coaching!“
- “You are sensitive and responsive to my “concern of the day.” You lead me, rather than force ideas upon me.“
- “The personal touch on your part. Coach, you are always there for us especially on our toughest moments.“
If you know of someone who would benefit from receiving these tips, please feel free to forward this along to them.
This week, I wanted to address what I feel is the most critical element to building a successful and fulfilling practice – business. It’s pure gold! I believe that success lies in what we declare as our values.
Values are those guiding principals that identify, for each of us, what is “right” and “wrong”. For me, they are very personal. They are the principles I hold as “truth” against which I make my decisions, what I perceive as “right” and honest, my list of all that is important to me, something I prize and has a positive influence on my life, they are what I hold dear and strive to live by each day.
Below are some steps to consider when identifying YOUR business and life core values:
- A core value is something I have chosen freely and with consideration for the consequences of my choice.
- A core value is something I prize greatly and has a positive influence on my life.
- A core value is something I want to publicly affirm.
- A core value is something I am willing to act on.
- A core value is something I would repeat…if given the circumstances, I would respond in the same way.
Many dentists will tell you this is all just a bunch of right-brained, “fluffy” stuff. I challenge you to evaluate yours. I have discovered for myself, as well as my clients report back to me, that sometimes our values get knocked out of whack and that’s when we get into trouble. The key is to come back to them and you will be amazed at how you can quickly become centered.
This is life and business-changing if you will only take the time to do it!
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.