Why One Treatment Plan Option Is Always Better Than Two

Why One Treatment Plan Option Is Always Better Than Two

There are a number of schools of thought about diagnosing dentistry.

Are we healers, sales people, business owners?

As Dentists, what are we really?

One school of thought will tell you that to *SELL* Dentistry is wrong.

“Let the patient decide” is what you’ll hear.

“Give the patient choices” is a phrase often espoused.

But what good are choices if the patient takes the poorer option?

Whose fault is it then, if the patient chooses the treatment that fails?

“Well I offered them two choices. They chose the wrong one.”

Thirty-one years ago a patient gave me the best bit of advice you’d ever want to hear.

He said:

“What are you telling me all these options for? You’re the one in the white coat.”

And then he said:

“That’s why I come to you. For your expert opinion. I don’t want choices. I just want you to tell me what I need to do.”

When I go to the skin specialist, I don’t want to hear what might work.

I just want to know what needs to be done to fix that sucker.

Sure a Band-Aid will cover over the lesion.

But it won’t fix my problem, and that is, the lesion needs to be removed.

So don’t tell me Band-Aid options.

Now in Dentistry, decay’s not going to kill you if left, like a skin cancer would.

But still, I think sometimes the real reason we feel the need to offer treatment choices, is not for the patient, but to appease the non-salesman in us, the Dentist.

We like to offer choices to make us feel better about it.

And a lot of the time that’s just wrong.

Have you ever jumped in a cab at an airport, told the driver where you want to go, and he asks you which way you want to go?

NO!!

He makes the [correct] assumption that the last thing you want to be doing is to be spending one more minute than you have to be, stuck in traffic in his hot, fragrant cab.

So he takes you the quickest way.

The way that he knows is best to get you there quickest.

Because most of the time, he knows far better than you which is the best way.

In this instance, the cab driver is wearing the white coat.

I like to think that when I’m offering treatment, I’m offering the treatment that if Dentistry were free then this would be the treatment that is best.

I often like to say to the patient:

“If you were my son/brother/father, then this is the treatment that I’d be doing for you.”

Because, for a relative, you’d want them to have the best possible treatment.

And second best, is sometimes a long way second.

“Daylight second”.

In dentistry, sometimes the thing about offering second best as an alternative is that when second best fails, we kick ourselves over and over that we should have been more forceful, more persuasive, in making sure that the patient had chosen the better option.

Sometimes even when we’re performing the second best treatment, we as the dentist wish that we’d been more persuasive, because the second best treatment is really not an option at all.

It’s often just a stall.

A limp, sloppy, lazy old stall.

Maybe, sometimes, when telling the patient what they need to have done, we do tell them the other options, and explain to them the shortcomings of those options.

But we need to be sure we’re not confusing the easily confused.

Most of the time, our patients don’t even want options.

They just want the guy in the white coat to tell them what they need.

They want to know what’s the best thing to do, and when.

And that’s it.

In a nutshell.

******

My One-Day Workshop in May covers in greater depth how to address simple changes that create BIG RESULTS. For more details on the Philadelphia workshop CLICK HERE.
For more details on my Australian workshops CLICK HERE.

The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

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The ONLY Way To Refer Your Valued Patients Out For Specialist Care

The ONLY Way To Refer Your Valued Patients Out For Specialist Care

There is so much opportunity for providing World Class Customer Service to our valued patients who we refer out for specialised Dental Treatment.

And that’s simply because in most cases, the model for referring is so poor, so insincere, so flaccid, that it does NOT take much at all to be better, *HEAD and SHOULDERS better*, than what’s being offered up at other Dentists in town.

Traditionally here’s what happens.

The patient, your patient, needs to have her wisdom teeth removed.

And you don’t do it.

So you refer her for an OPG, and you may or may not review the OPG.

Then, you write her a referral to an Oral Surgeon, and your Front Office Person gives the referral to the patient and tells them to give the specialist a call.

She may say something along the lines like:

“We’ll get a letter to let us know what happened”.

And that’s as good as it often gets.

Same for endo.

“You need a root canal. Here’s your referral. Give them a call and make an appointment. They’ll send us a letter when you’re finished there”.

Not very Customer Service focused, is it?

Not really *World Class Care*?

Imagine if *YOUR* Dental Office staff did this….

Here’s what happens at an Ultimate Patient Experience Dental Office:

At the Ultimate Handover, the Dental Assistant informs your Front Office Person, Jenny, that Mrs. Smith has had a dressing put in her tooth because of infection and decay entering the nerve cavity and pulp chamber. Jenny hears, as does Mrs. Smith, that the dentist wants Mrs. Smith to see Dr Johnson, the Endodontist, to have the tooth treated as soon as possible, “in case the infection spreads”.

Once Jenny has thanked the Dental Assistant and received Mrs. Smith, she then turns to Mrs. Smith and says:

“We’d better go ahead and see how soon we can get you in at Dr Johnson’s.”

Mrs. Smith agrees.

And Jenny goes ahead and calls Dr Johnson’s right then and there, in front of Mrs. Smith, while she waits eagerly.

Now Tina, at Dr Johnson’s loves getting calls like this.

Because the alternative, which is quite shameful, is that there are patients who ring Tina and say:

“I’m not sure what I’ve got to have done, but my Dentist told me to give you a call.”

Now that’s not a very inspiring call for Dr Johnson’s office to take, and it certainly isn’t an inspiring call for the likes of your Mrs. Smith to have to make.

With the Ultimate Referral, Mrs. Smith, gets to see that Tina and jenny have great repartee and that it looks like, to Mrs. Smith, that she’s going to be receiving the same exceptional care at Dr. Johnson’s Office, as she receives at her own Dentist’s Office.

Mrs. Smith sees a continuation of that care.

The other thing about having Jenny call Dr Johnson’s for the appointment is that it maintains the *URGENCY* of treatment, and treatment continuity, that your Office has nurtured with Mrs. Smith.

Traditionally, referring out to a specialist can act as a hand brake on treatment pace, at best, sometimes.

This way, not only is Mrs. Smith “on her way” to Dr Johnson’s, but Dr Johnson will also maintain the Urgency and make sure that Mrs. Smith is back in *your* appointment book as soon as possible for the completed restoration.

I’ll hear some Dentists say that this sort of process, of calling the specialist *WITH* the patient, while the patient is still in the Office, is too time consuming.

But having to follow up patients who are handed referrals and told to “Do It Themselves” and then who fall through the cracks can be even more time consuming.

And losing those patients can be costly.

Imagine your patient, Mrs. Smith, at a dinner party saying to her friends:

“Oh no. My Dentist doesn’t do *that*. My Dentist calls the specialist right then and there, and makes the appointment right there, for you!”

And Mrs. Smith’s dinner friends all say:

“WOW!! My Dentist doesn’t do that…”

Finally, when there comes a time that your Office REALLY needs a favour from the specialist, like urgency, because your Jenny has a relationship going with each Specialist’s Front Office because of this process, then she’s more likely to be able to receive the odd special favour when needed.

Another WIN-WIN-WIN situation.

******

My One-Day Workshop in May covers in greater depth how to address simple changes that create BIG RESULTS. For more details on the Philadelphia workshop CLICK HERE.
For more details on my Australian workshops CLICK HERE.

The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

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You Wouldn’t Try Drilling Teeth With One Arm Tied Behind Your Back?

You Wouldn’t Try Drilling Teeth With One Arm Tied Behind Your Back?

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words.

And a Big Picture is Worth Hundreds of Thousands of Words.

When I fly, I rarely watch movies.

Yet my wife will watch many.

To me, I just can’t see the point….

The movie was made for the BIG screen.

Not for some matchbox sized window in the back of some aeroplane seat.

The size of the image on a plane just can’t do a good movie justice.

Really, you may as well go to the cinema with your binoculars and watch the movie through them, looking wrong ways around through them at the same time.

And as for the soundtrack heard through aeroplane headsets on a plane, well that’s doing no justice to the film, cast, and recording artists either.

Now maybe I’m getting pedantic, but if you went to the cinema and it was set up like an aircraft cabin and you had to watch the movie on the back of the seat in front of you…. well you just wouldn’t do it…

Do you ever wonder why no sharp shooting entrepreneur has ever set up a chain of cinemas outfitted like an aircraft?

Because it’s just so darned silly.

Yet I see this same stupidity in dentistry.

I see dentists trying to show patients intra-oral defects using hand mirrors, mouth mirrors, fingers, probes and cheek retractors.

They draw pictures and diagrams on pieces of paper, and sometimes on post-it notes.

Sometimes they may have a small whiteboard.

Or an iPad even…

But rarely an intra-oral camera…

And hardly ever do I see a BIG screen TV monitor….

And really why not?

Intra-oral cameras these days are as cheap as chips and so too are 48cm LED flat screen television monitors.

These are so inexpensive that every operatory should have an intra-oral camera each and two large screen monitors in there, at least.

One monitor on the ceiling and one monitor at least on the straight-ahead view from the Dental chair.

And both monitors connected to the treatment room computer, as well as to video and to television.

The beauty of the large screen, when diagnosing pathology and explaining treatment, is that everything that’s hidden inside the mouth suddenly comes to life in larger than life proportions.

Sure, you can *TRY* and TELL the patient that there’s a vertical crack on the mesial marginal ridge of their upper right second molar? Sure, you can try and make the probe catch that crack and hope the patient hears the click noise?

You can maybe even get cheek retractors and a combination of mouth and hand mirrors so the patient can peer over their own wrists and your gloved fingers to *TRY* and catch a glimpse of what’s glaringly obvious to you?

You can draw a picture of the tooth in blue pen on a whiter piece of paper, and they can take that home to their husband and let the spouse know that they need a porcelain crown to hold this poor tooth together?

Or you can just whack up a couple of monitors, click around on your intra-oral camera, and *BANG*, a big picture worth hundreds of thousands of words appears on your screen, right there!

If you’re not using this inexpensive technology, you’re simply just confusing your patients because they don’t understand your finely drawn diagrams and your attempt at intra-oral Twister as simply as they would a BIG screen image of their tiny sized tooth.

And because of this confusion, they’re often leaving without an appointment…

And if they’re doing this, you’re crippling your patients by sending them out into the outside world with untreated pathology, simply because you haven’t spent the small amount on technology available to improve case presentation by several orders of magnitude.

Instead of patients saying “I’ll think about it” they’ll be begging you for an appointment to fix those GIANT sized defects as soon as possible.

As a dentist, you’d much rather be fixing those defects before they fracture, blow up, or fall apart?

Or would you rather be trying to work miracles on a Sunday morning without a Dental Assistant, when that darned tooth finally splits?

That tooth that you’d been telling them about, and drawing pictures of, but they still weren’t “getting” the enormity of what could, or would happen, when the day of devastation finally came around?

Fitting out your Dental Office with these simple improvements is pennies in the pounds when we look at the return on investment in terms of case acceptance.

You wouldn’t try drilling teeth with one arm tied behind your back?

Yet, without this simple technology, you’re case presenting in a very similar manner.

******

My One-Day Workshop in May covers in greater depth how to address simple changes that create BIG RESULTS. For more details on the Philadelphia workshop CLICK HERE.
For more details on my Australian workshops CLICK HERE.

The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

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Two Major Errors In Service That Are Killing Your Dental Business

Two Major Errors In Service That Are Killing Your Dental Business

The general public really can’t tell the difference between a good filling and a great filling. They don’t know whether your crown margins are thirty microns or fifty microns. They just believe that all dentists do the same work.

They also assume that all Dental Offices know how to file insurance and keep things clean.

The only way the general public can really differentiate between one Dental Office and another is by how nicely they’re treated at those offices and the way they’re made to feel by the people who work there.

If you want your Dental Office to be known as *THE* Go-To Dentist in town then you need to be looking at how your office functions from the Customers’ Points of View, and not from the Office’s Point of View.

And sadly, there’s not many Dentists thinking like that…

Sure, there’s Dentists out there saying “Be nice here” and “Be nice there” to their team, but really, who’s looking at Dentistry *totally* from the patient’s point of view first and foremost, from the moment the patient enters the Dental Office, to the moment they leave, and all the befores and afters as well that are associated with that visit?

The answer?

Not very many….

One of the easiest ways of getting a big *DISCONNECT* from your patients is by failing to listen to them…

I mean, *REALLY* listening to them.

And it’s hard.

Sometimes as a Dentist we get so caught up in the day to day of what we’re doing with our regular patients, who we know, and our staff and team, who we know, and the things that we do routinely, day in and day out, that we know, that we sometimes fail to stop, and really wait to listen, to our NEW Patients, who we are yet to get to know….

And an opportunity can be really missed sometimes.

We’re all guilty of it.

I recall a young adult male patient last year that I saw as a New Patient, who I failed to connect with.

Yes sure, we connected, but in terms of his outcome that he expected from the consultation, I totally missed the mark, because my diagnosis of what was needed to straighten his teeth was not what he wanted to hear. [He wanted Invisalign to correct a skeletal crossbite]

And I totally missed the fact that I had totally missed “satisfying” all his concerns.

Now maybe I was just “busy” all the rest of the day?

I don’t remember how that appointment sat in my schedule…

But I wish that I could have jumped in my time machine and gone back in time to maybe do something different during that appointment.

The second major way that we fail to truly connect is that we talk in BIG words to people who have no real idea what on earth we’re talking about

We use “jargon” terms too often.

And jargon abbreviations.

We just slip back into the lingo…. and the patients sometimes have no real idea what the heck we’re saying.

We ask our Dental Assistant:

“I need an appointment for an extirpation.”

“Can you book me a crown prep on the 11?”

“And then an issue two weeks later.”

And then she goes with the patient to the front and says the exact same thing to the appointment scheduler…

And our poor old patient, who may or may not have been standing on their head for the last half hour, and now is standing up looking over a high counter talking to a woman sitting down with a computer keyboard and a screen in front of her that the poor old patient is really dying to see but cannot….

And we’re asking our poor old patient to hand over her money by the hundreds, or thousands, in what’s NOT really a comfortable environment…

She’s disoriented by the lying down and standing up…

She’s disoriented by all the jargon she’s just been force-fed…

Sure, our Office design functions well from our point of view.

Sure, we know we told the patient what we’re going to be doing.

We know…

But did they *REALLY* get it?

Or are they just nodding their heads to be polite…

The Movie, The Shawshank Redemption, is narrated in the third person by Red, where we watch the life journey of Andy Dufresne thru Red’s eyes.

And maybe that’s what we need to do in our practices, and our Dental Offices?

Maybe we need to have an industry outsider take a good look at what we’re doing, from a fly on the wall perspective?

Because I don’t think The Shawshank Redemption would have been as great a movie and as memorable a movie as it was, as it is, as it will always be, if it had just been made or written without that third person narration

The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

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Are Poor Meetings Killing Your Dental Business?

Are Poor Meetings Killing Your Dental Business?

Dentistry is Dentistry.

It’s the drilling of teeth.

It’s the removal of decay.

It’s Dentistry….

Why does Dentistry need meetings?

Meetings are for business.

Meetings are committees…

Not for Dentistry…

Sometimes I receive strange looks when I ask Dentists about meetings…

You know those looks…

“Are you CRAZY!!!”

“What the heck for???”

“What do we need meetings for? There’s not enough of us?”

Sure, they’re not saying this in words, they’re just saying it with their facial expressions…

Why Does A Dental Office Need Meetings?

 

Firstly, what sort of meetings are there in Dental Offices?

• Weekly staff meetings

• Morning huddles

That’s about it?

“We don’t need morning huddles. We know what we’re doing!”

“Why do we need to huddle? Everything’s in the appointment book”

And of course:

 “We don’t need a weekly meeting there’s only 4* of us here.”

[* Insert your number of choice here.]

 

Morning Huddles

I’ve written about morning huddles previously.

The purpose of the huddle is for each team member to know and understand fully how their day will pan out, who is in, and what needs to be done.

Each team member.

Because there’s going to be interaction required between team members for each and every patient, so we must be “game ready”.

We can’t just wing it.

The huddle prevents that “Now who’s next and what are we doing for them today?” look.

A well-huddled dental office works more efficiently. Period.

That’s a given.

This then reflects with:

• Happier patients who feel wanted, and respected. Patients will appreciate that you are prepared for them. Similarly, patients will also recognize when you are unprepared.

When we are prepared we have everything out.
When we are unprepared, we’re always having to get stuff. This is a really bad look…

• Happier team that knows in advance what’s going on. Nobody likes to have to “make it up” as we go along.

• A smoother day creating less stress for doctors and less stress for team.

• A more productive day. [meaning: happier doctor]

Morning huddles also allow us to celebrate our successes on a daily basis.

• What did we do well yesterday?

• How can we use that to do better today?

Morning huddles are easy to do.

They are also easy *NOT* to do.

The difference, to a dental office, in terms of profitability and efficiency and harmony, is staggering.

Weekly Staff Meetings

The reason Dental Offices don’t do weekly staff meetings is they don’t know what they’re trying to achieve with the meeting.

And because of this, the meetings often end up ending poorly.

Some team members don’t join in.

And wish they were elsewhere.

Other team members, doctors included, use the weekly meeting as a blame session.

A well-organised weekly meeting will be an uplifting experience.

Successes are celebrated.

• How did the practice perform last week?

• On a financial basis?

• On an efficiency basis?

• On a personal connection basis?

How can we celebrate these events?
How can we improve on these events?
How can we apply these lessons learned for future benefit?

• What’s coming up in the future?

o Who’s reporting on these?

o How can we help these future events?

The weekly staff meeting needs to be a meeting of purpose.

And it needs to be a meeting of anticipation.

Not dread.

Other Meetings

A good Dental Office will have regular meetings, with the appropriate team members to make sure that everything is going along smoothly.

These meetings might be monthly, weekly, or fortnightly.
Or they could be bi-monthly, or quarterly.

But they need to be regular.

Not ad-hoc.

They need not be long meetings.

These could include:

• Equipment update report meeting

• Stock control meeting

• Marketing meeting

• Advertising meeting

• Office equipment and supply meeting

• Figures and trends meeting

And then there are the Human Resources meetings.

• Team member reviews

• Team sub-group meetings

o Hygiene department

o Dental assistants

o Office staff

o Dentists

The length and frequencies of these meetings can be determined by each office.

But the meetings do need to be held.

There’s nothing worse than finding out something that could have been avoided if there’d been a protocol for monitoring it .

Similarly, meetings can be used for sharing wisdom, so those less experienced can learn from others.

Training Meetings

We can all learn something.

And meetings for education are imperative if we are to stay on top of our game, as a team, as a business.

You can’t just go to a gym one time and expect to be fit for life.

And it’s the same in business.

You can’t watch The Masters on TV and then go out and shoot sub par the next day.

Heck no!

You need to practice and learn, practice and learn, practice and learn.

Great performers practice, practice and practice.
As a Dental Office, we rarely practice.

We rarely, if at all, take time to rehearse and learn scenarios, so that we become Masters at Our Craft.

Sadly, most Dental Offices just plain old wing it.

An Office that knows its scripts, knows its stages and knows its scenes performs so much better than Office that just makes it up as it goes….

And *hopes* that things work out.

The differences in performance, the differences in team harmony, the differences in job satisfaction, these differences between those offices that train and those that do, are frankly, staggering.

Omer Reed told me that ninety five percent of Dentists reach age sixty-five and are unable to retire.

I’d suggest that ninety five percent of Dental Offices fail to have productive, efficient meetings…

******

My One-Day Workshop in May covers in greater depth how to address these two BIG areas of leakage. For more details on the Philadelphia workshop CLICK HERE.
For more details on my Australian workshops CLICK HERE.

The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

Did you like this blog article? If you did then hit the share buttons below and share it with your friends and colleagues. Share it via email, Facebook and twitter!!

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