“It doesn’t matter how good the baker is if the cashier spits on your cake.”
And it is so true.
It doesn’t matter how nice everybody is at your Dental Office if there’s one person, one policy, one “broken window”, that undoes every bit of good, and more, that everybody else is doing in your Office.
It only takes one thing.
One little thing.
I’ve often said that the Dentist can be doing all this really good and cool stuff over one side of his Office, but if a patient has accidentally left a dirty tissue under one of the chairs in the Client Lounge, and if other patients see that, then those other patients might start to think that the Office isn’t as clean as it should be…
[Maybe the people who work at the Office can’t see the tissue while they’re standing up? Only the patients seated in a certain chair can see the tissue underneath another chair?]
You know what I mean?
Have you ever stayed in a hotel room and found the cleaners had not done a one hundred percent job in making up the room?
You know it…
You start to think that maybe that hotel is over-rated…
Have you ever been in your hotel room working or relaxing and watched how quickly some times [sometimes *too* quickly!!] the hotel maid staff have made over your room, including the bathroom?
It gets you thinking negative thoughts.
And like Laurie Guest says:
“It doesn’t matter how good the baker is if the cashier spits on your cake.”
You’re not going back for those pastries if that cashier’s going to be doing bad things, undoing all the good work of all the other people, including the baker.
Do you have a person or policy or a thing at your Dental office that’s undoing all the good work of everything else and everybody else?
It could be killing your business.
And that’s why you need to have a *Complete* evaluation of *Everything* that is done in your Office sometimes, or even regularly, so that these sort of unexpected and initially unrecognized incongruences don’t eat away at your reputation or your status, without anyone from your organisation knowing or realizing what is going on.
As you know, I fly a lot.
And I see these little incongruences when I fly, now and then.
And often they are no big deal.
Well this week I got hit right between the eyes by a major incongruence.
I was at Portland International Airport, to check in for my flight to Cleveland via Chicago.
And on my itinerary I had read the flight number as being American Airlines.
When I went to check in with American they informed me I was actually on an Alaskan Airlines flight, Code Shared, and they directed me to the Alaskan counters a bit further down.
No big deal, I had arrived with plenty of time, and I had not lined up too long.
I had also, a few days earlier, flown Alaskan Airlines from Los Angeles into Portland, so I was not about to experience anything new, so I thought…
As I approached the Alaskan Airline check in, I was greeted by a woman who was paid as a greeter, asking me if I’d like to check in at a kiosk or whether I’d like to check in at the counter the old and regular way.
This was an immediate, positive point of difference for me.
Most, nearly all other airlines, do not employ a greeter.
Not at all.
With most other airlines you have to take potluck some times, and hope that you check in OK by yourself.
So the presence of the greeter had me believing that this was indeed going to be a different sort of experience.
And it was.
As I joined a very short line of three people it moved very quickly, and as I reached the head of that line I was motioned or beckoned immediately to the check in counter by not one not two but three different ladies working there at their check in stations.
And that was different.
Often you’ll reach the front of that line, at other airlines, and all of a sudden it’s as if you’ve become invisible, and the people at the counter become engrossed in their screens as if they’re standing at an ATM.
But here, at Alaskan, it was palpably better.
Twice in two minutes.
My check in lady was a very pleasant young woman.
She worked efficiently, engaging me in chat, while she processed my two boarding passes for my two connecting flights, and then while she tagged my one check in suitcase.
Until she told me my one bag was eleven pounds over weight.
I informed her that I was on a First Class Ticket.
First Class Flyers can have extra baggage and extra weight allowances.
Not at Alaskan it seems.
That’s their policy.
My bag weighed sixty-one pounds.
It needed to be fifty.
She asked if I could take out some things and put them in my carry on.
My carry on was already full.
And full of paper and books.
Which is heavier.
She offered me a heavy-duty plastic bag.
She said I could take an extra carry on bag on board, if I was willing to remove eleven pounds of clothes and stuff them in this clear heavy-duty bag.
The thought of me walking round an airport, boarding a plane, running through the O’Hare terminal with a large bag of laundry, flashed before my eyes.
It was not a pretty image.
I did not want to become part of that picture.
The young lady mumbled something that if I had an additional suitcase I could have checked that, and redistributed the offending eleven pounds into the extra bag and all would be O.K.
Which made no sense.
Because her solution would have taken up far more cargo space.
To move a measly eleven pounds.
She mumbled something about distributing the weight in the hold, but in reality, they could have easily balanced it up with other luggage being checked by other people.
So that did not wash with me.
Then she hit me with the Fine.
“Seventy five dollars.”
And I said:
“You know what? I don’t like it. I don’t agree with it. But I’ll pay it rather than open up my luggage here and now, stuff some of my dirty laundry into a clear sack and carry that sack through this airport and halfway across the country to Cleveland.”
She generously reduced my penalty to Fifty Dollars.
And processed my payment.
And in so doing, she spat on my cake.
All of a sudden, it did not matter all the niceties that I’d recognised and committed to memory of all the greeters and others involved in the check in process.
All of a sudden all that other stuff did not matter one little bit.
One company policy had brought it all undone.
And for what?
For a measly fifty dollars.
Yes, congratulations Alaskan Airlines.
You’ve just purchased Fifty Dollars of bad advertising.
Now I know it’s a First World problem…
And I know I was flying up the pointy end of the plane.
But if there was no First Class Cabin then the rest of the Coach Tickets would rise in price considerably.
Do the math.
My point is that if your company, your business has one policy that’s incongruent or upsetting, then all will be undone.
And Alaskan Airlines did it.
For a measly eleven pounds of First Class luggage.
Alaskan Airlines bean counters obviously believe it is.
How’s your Dental Office?
Do you have an “Excess Baggage” policy that’s undoing all your great Customer Service, without you even knowing that it is?
I think you may…
****** My One-Day Workshops in July cover in greater depth how to address simple changes that create BIG RESULTS. For more details about my Australian workshops in Melbourne in July, CLICK HERE.
It still surprises me how often the ringing of the Dental Office Phone is treated as an interruption by those whose job it is to answer it.
Even just this weekend I heard an alarming statistic that only thirty four percent of Dental Office New Patient Enquiry calls were being converted into physical appointments by those Offices being measured.
And that’s alarming.
Because these offices, by virtue of the fact they *are* being measured would indeed be providing a number, or a stat, above the norm, or average, compared to all those other Dental Offices out there.
I believe, that across the board, the statistic is around the twenty percent mark.
One in five only!
Which means that four times out of five a New Patient Enquiry Call to a Dental Office is *NOT* resulting in an appointment for that caller.
In 2015, there is no reason why this number should be so low.
In 2015, as opposed to 1985, the caller now has so much information available to them about your Dental Office, so that by the time they come to pick up the phone to call your Office, they’ve already made the decision that they want your Office to be their Dental Home.
At least this once.
If not longer.
In 1985 there was no Internet.
In 1985 all that a caller to your Office had to base their decision upon was a list of names from A to Z in the Yellow Pages, and how “nice” your name sounded.
They had little else to go upon.
In 1985 there were no websites.
In 1985 there were no *Meet the Team* pages for would be customers to scrutinize and “virtually” interview you and your wonderful team.
In 1985 there was no opportunity for New Patient Enquirers to do an online tour of your Office.
In 1985 there was no Google Earth or Google Maps for them to see a snapshot of your premises.
In 2015, now, more than ever, when the Dental Office Phone rings, we know that the caller is different.
In 2015, we now know that the caller has already made the decision that ours is the Dental Office they now want to be treated at.
And it is the responsibility of our Front Office Team answering that ringing phone to confirm in the caller’s mind that they have indeed made the correct decision.
A New Patient Telephone Enquiry is not a “shopper”.
A New Patient Telephone Enquiry is not calling about an insurance cover.
A New Patient Telephone Enquiry is a person with a genuine Dental need who we are yet to convince that our Office is the best place and the only office for them to solve their Dental issues.
When they come to call, they’ve already done their homework.
They’ve seen what your Office looks like from online photos.
They’ve read everything about your wonderful team and also everything about your wonderful Office.
If there was anything there that they did not like they would not be calling.
They WANT you to be their Dentist.
Otherwise, they’d be calling somewhere else.
And that’s a light bulb moment!
When Dental Offices and their teams begin to make this realization, that the ringing phone is indeed their friend, then providence moves.
Because now the phone is answered in a different way.
And when that happens, the caller knows:
“Hey, this place is going to be different”
The caller is now receiving signals of confirmation from your phone answerer, that they have indeed called the right place.
When your team realise the value of that ringing phone, and the fact that that caller is so pre-qualified, and the advantage they have in knowing this, then the team rises to the occasion.
And the Phone Enquiry Conversion rate rises significantly.
Education, enlightenment, and the correct training of your team is critical in determining the successes and improved success that your Office has in making sure that your caller knows that they have indeed now found their new Dental Home.
Your place, your office, is now their Dental Home.
Sometimes I meet Dentists, sometimes I hear of Dentists, who are simply only meandering through their Dental careers.
They are leading from the rear…
Or maybe not even leading at all.
They are drifting.
Drifting through the years of life.
I met a lady yesterday who was looking to work in a bigger, more modern Dental Practice that performed more interesting procedures.
The conversation with her was enlightening.
The Dental Office where she is currently working was thirty years old, and among “things”, had no computerised data management for the records or charts of their patients.
And without delving into the “story” of this Office with her, I just wondered about the *Why* that would keep the patients of that Office returning their for treatment.
Because surely the Patients would know that things at their Dentist were maybe, just a touch, antiquated?
I’ve heard of similar frustrations, theme-wise, from employees at other Dental Offices.
I’ve heard employees at some Offices become so excited when their Dentist decides to engage in Practice Management Education.
Because they kind of never thought that he would.
And although these team members knew that this was what the Office really needed, they simply just resigned themselves to the future that the Office was starting to “mark time” rather than progress into the future of Dentistry, direction-wise.
However, the flip can also be true.
Sometimes the Dentist wants to lead from the front and drive change and improvement, but he’s fearful of a mutiny from the back because of this pursuit of a higher goal, of a greater plan.
And that’s a very sad conundrum.
In this sort of scenario, the Dentist’s personal and financial future and destiny is being influenced dramatically by others without any skin in the game.
People with opinions but without any commitments.
And we hear these sorts of excuses thrown around all the time…
“ My staff would never let me do that.”
“I checked with my friends and they didn’t think it would be a good idea.”
“My wife doesn’t want me to do that.”
Taking control of your own destiny sometimes requires a leap of faith.
A step out of your comfort zone.
There will always be times when the thought of the unknown is intimidating.
Will this machine return on the investment?
Should I buy a scanner?
Will this ad work?
Do I need outside help to improve my practice?
I’m in the process of reading a book at present that amongst other things, explains the philosophies of the Wright Brothers, and Ernest Shackleton.
People who did not instinctively ask “why”, but moreover just went ahead and made things happen.
Omer Reed told me five years ago that ninety-five percent of Dentists reach age sixty-five and are unable to walk away from their drills because they truly have not reached financial independence.
Only one in twenty Dentists gets to sixty-five and can retire.
And is this result because of this fear of leading from the front?
There is always a better way of doing things.
And that way does not need to be made up.
Others have done it.
Others have already beaten a path, or blazed a trail.
Last weekend, last Saturday in fact, I presented my one-day workshop to a great group of motivated Dentists at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney.
The group, all full paying, had individually travelled from various parts of Australia to attend my presentation.
And it was pointed out to me, that Gordon Christensen was also in town, presenting to Dentists, at a fee a lot less than I was charging.
As is customary, when I present, I like to stay, on site, overnight, on the night before and the night immediately following the presentation.
It allows me to prepare and get “in the zone” before the meeting, and then after, after I’ve given it my one hundred and fifty percent, well, it’s nice to just decompress without having to jump in a car and negotiate Sydney traffic.
For my wife and I, it was a trip down memory lane, because it had been twenty-five years since we’d stayed in this Hotel.
In fact, back then, the building was known as “The Regent Hotel”, and it was where we spent our wedding night before flying out to Asia the next afternoon for our honeymoon.
As is customary, whenever I’m overnighting anywhere, I like to go for an early morning powerwalk through the city to start my day. And even in my hometown, it’s always nice to get out and see the sights when there’s next to nobody around.
So early Sunday morning, my wife and I are leaving the hotel lobby for that walk, and there, just outside the entrance door, very unobtrusive, is a small table with clean towels, tissues, alongside a cooler with cold bottled water.
On the table was a small note with the Sydney weather forecast.
I said to my wife, “it’s the little things that make the difference”
And it is.
I’ve stayed in dozens of hotels in dozens of cities, and I’ve yet to see this attention to detail.
And it’s simple.
Most hotels provide towels and water of some sort in their fitness clubs for their exercising guests.
So who’d have thought to “hold that thought” and apply the same thought to the exercisers who choose the city streets rather than the treadmills as their vehicle of fitness?
When we left the hotel for home at 11:00am, the water and towels were nowhere to be seen. They were obviously placed outside the door each morning purely for the guests who chose to exercise.
And it’s simple.
Because routinely, when departing a Hotel for a morning street walk, I’m often greeted with a “you must be crazy” look by the doormen of the day.
You know the thought?
That “why aren’t you upstairs still tucked into a warm bed like all the other normal people?” look.
How can we apply this thought in our Dental Office?
What’s the relevance of this moment?
The relevance is, that somebody has taken the time to think, and ask:
“How can we go Above and Beyond?”
How can we exceed our guests’ expectations?
Because at the Four Seasons, that’s what you get.
You get multiple little well thought out strategically placed “Touch Points”.
And when you see them, when you receive them, one upon another upon another, you know that this is not just some random act of kindness.
You know that it’s a well thought out planned series of events to make your visit to the Four Seasons different, very different, than any other Hotel.
Are you looking at the visits of your patients to your practice, and making it different for them?
Different than anything they’d ever expect at any other Dental Office?
Different from most other places that they go for any business?
Because when you do, when you go Above and Beyond, in a systemised regular manner, your clients, customers and patients will know, and will appreciate, that your Dental Office is different…