Are you showing your customers that you value their time?
In a dental office there are several time bottlenecks where your patients will feel that they are not being appreciated.
But most dental offices do nothing to address these failures.
Most dental offices believe that it is more important to clean and sterilize dental instruments than it is to sit with a patient who is not being treated.
Well I’m telling you that the dental offices that are the most popular are those where patients are kept constantly engaged and are never left to wait alone.
In the hygiene room.
A lot of dental offices do hygiene exams the wrong way around.
They do them when the dentist has time, rather than waiting until the hygienist has cleaned all the teeth and completed the charting and record taking.
When the dentist does the examination at HIS own convenience and the patient’s mouth is only partly cleaned he will create less value and less connection with the patient than if the patient has completed their cleaning and then the dentist is summonsed.
Don’t believe me? Try it and see. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the “connection” you make with the hygiene-completed patient.
Patients arriving at the dental office are often apprehensive and need to be greeted immediately by a warm smiling concierge. When your valued patients are greeted and recognised as soon as they arrive they immediately bond with the office more compared to those dental offices where the patient is left alone waiting unattended for a period of time while the dental office staff are either on the phone, or assisting down the back or are spending time with a departing patient.
If you find that your arriving patients are being ignored then it might be the time to look at the allocation of manpower in your dental office and whether there is a better use of that manpower.
I had a client in Pennsylvania who built a wonderful brand new facility for his dental office. Nine operatories. Five hygienists. Two dentists. Three front office employees.
Can you see the problem?
At the end of each hour there was seven patients trying to leave the office but they were being serviced by only three employees.
Do you see the bottleneck?
It’s like when you go to Nordstrom Rack and you’re laden up with shoe boxes and when you reach the check-out there’s a line and only two registers open out of eight possible.
Can that scenario ever make any sense?
So my client needed to solve his bottleneck issue and solve it quickly.
How can it be acceptable behaviour to make your valued patients wait around to settle up bills worth several hundred and maybe thousands of dollars?
In the dental treatment room.
I see it regularly.
A patient seated in a dental operatory, in the dental chair, with a bib on, and about to have expensive restorative treatment done.
And they are in the room alone.
Because the Dental Assistant does not know the value of engagement.
She thinks that if the dentist is not there yet then her time is better spent away from the patient.
She thinks that her time is better spent scrubbing instruments, or stocking cupboards, or even better still, talking to another staff member about nothing in particular.
And that is so wrong.
What should we do then?
Small children spell “LOVE” as T.I.M.E..
And patients will spell it exactly the same way.
Make sure you are not neglecting your patients.
Make sure that you are always engaging each of your patients.
Make sure your patients are never left unattended or alone at all.
I’m surprised at how few dentists are on top of their serious numbers when it comes to running their dental offices.
Whenever I talk to dentists their number one problem in their own eyes is always:
“I just need more new patients.”
They already know their [supposed] solution.
But is more new patients really the answer?
At a dental symposium that I attended recently, I was horrified at how few dentists knew EXACTLY how many phone enquiries their dental office was receiving each and every day, week and month.
And it goes to say, that if the practice was not tracking THAT simple number of phone enquiries on a daily basis, then they also WERE NOT TRACKING the number of appointments that were being scheduled each day, week and month from those phone calls.
So if a dentist doesn’t have any idea what these two numbers are each day, then he certainly won’t know what his CONVERSION RATIO is then on a daily or weekly or monthly basis, will he?
And if the dentist doesn’t know what his conversion ratio is, then he certainly won’t be able to tell whether his lack of new patients is being caused by insufficient or poor marketing [resulting in not enough calls coming into the office], or whether he is actually receiving sufficient calls but the phone call conversion ratios in his office are low and not many callers are scheduling.
Depending on the nature of the problem, there will be two solutions, and those solutions to each of those two scenarios will be completely different.
If the problem is poor phone conversions, then pouring more money into marketing that brings in more enquiries is not going to have the desired effect, especially if the receptionist believes that the dental office has sufficient new patients already for that day, or week.
And, on the other hand, if the phone is not ringing, then having highly skilled phone answerers is not going to make too much difference either.
So you need to know the exact nature of your dental office deficiency because knowing will determine which course of action will be the correct action to take.
If there is one thing that your customers are silently screaming out for it is recognition.
And most businesses do very poorly when it comes to recognising their customers.
I don’t mean “recognising” them in so much as knowing their names…. what I’m talking about is taking the time to spend quality time with your customers so that they know that you truly care about them and understand them.
Because most dental practices treat their patients like they are a credit card and a tooth only.
“Won’t be too long. Just take a seat”
“See you next time. Have a nice day.”
If these are phrases used at your office you may be guilty of failing to recognise your customers as the human beings they really are.
It is the duty of your business and of every employee in your business to make each and every client feel welcome, comfortable, important, and understood.
When your business and your employees start to look in this way at each and every interaction that they have with each and every visitor to your dental office, then and only then will you be able to say that you are offering truly world class service.
Look at what goes on in your dental office:
Are your arriving patients always greeted by someone as soon as they enter your premises, or do they have to wait for one of your employees to appear because your employees are all doing something else?
When your departing patients have finished their treatment, do they have to line up to settle their payments and to schedule their next appointment?
Are your patients being left alone unattended in a treatment room at any time before, during, or after their procedures?
Does your office rely on technology too much to transfer information about the patient while they are in the office, when well planned verbal communications could be used far more effectively to keep the patient engaged?
These are just four examples of hundreds of areas in dental practices where patients are being ignored regularly.
Every time that a patient is ignored their emotional involvement in your business begins to slide downwards and it then requires extra additional effort to lift their engagement back up to a point where they are re-involved and re-engaged.
Involved and engaged patients make appointments and keep them.
Patients whose involvement and engagement is left waning do not make appointments so much, they cancel more and they no-show more.
Recognition. Babies cry for it and grown men die for it.
Are you really making your patients feel welcome, comfortable, important, and understood?
Children spell “LOVE” this way: T.I.M.E.
Your patients spell it the exact same way…..
My next Public Speaking Event will be in London England on Saturday 4th August 2018 where I will be presenting “HOW TO BUILD AN ULTIMATE PATIENT EXPERIENCE WITHIN YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE WITHOUT HAVING TO SPEND AN EXTRA PENNY ON MARKETING”
Also appearing will be Jayne Bandy, who will be presenting her popular masterclass on “HOW TO DRAMATICALLY IMPROVE YOUR DENTAL OFFICE NEW PATIENT NUMBERS WITHOUT HAVING TO SPEND AN EXTRA PENNY ON MARKETING”
VENUE: The Amba Charing Cross Hotel. Book your seats here.