I was asked a couple of weeks ago to comment about an opinion in the dental community that dentists who were taking an interest in their customers other than their teeth and gums were really just sleazing.
The commentator felt that his own BS meter went off when ever he was in a business conversation and he was told how “lovely” it was to talk to him.
To me, saying something like that in a business situation is simply a common courtesy extended to identify that there is a human element involved in the equation.
Sure, if you were using an ATM [automatic teller machine] and it asked you if you had plans for the weekend then that would be a little odd, but if you were at the bank and a teller asked you the same question then you’d be grateful for the fact that they were showing an interest in you as a person rather than simply processing your transaction.
And it’s amazing how a simple question, such as:
“How’s your day been?”
has the ability to break down barriers and create connection between total strangers.
Most of us go through our lives craving attention.
If we did not then there would really be no good reason for ironing clothes and combing our hair each morning?
Or for makeup and perfume?
In 2014 when I announced my departure from the dental office that I had owned and operated for more than half my life, one of my patients particularly took the time to thank me personally, face to face, for looking after her.
This lady, who was in her eighties, had become a patient of mine in 1998 when her dentist, whom she had seen for ever and a day, sold me his practice and retired.
When I thanked her for her kind words after she had thanked me, and I said to her,
“well Ken [before me] would have also looked after you in a similar way”
“Oh him? He never said ‘boo’. All he used to say was ‘Open wide’ at the start of the appointment, and ‘That’s all now’ at the end of the appointment, and never much else, ever.”
And then she said this:
“ You people are really different. I always feel welcome here”
So whenever I hear someone tell me that providing great service gives a poor ROI, I think about this lady.
And sure, she was loyal to poor service before she met me, but only because she didn’t know that better was possible.
However, after meeting me and my team, she was *SOLD* on the great service that we provided her, and she recognised the difference.
Twenty to twenty five percent of the population out there do not care what your competitor charges because they consider the service that you provide them is of an excellent standard.
And that’s not in dentistry.
That’s in lawn mowing and pool cleaning and even comes down to the lady that does your wife’s nails.
It’s a nice twenty to twenty five percent of any market..
That’s a nice section of the marketplace to work in….
We are all given the same twenty-four hours each day.
How each of us uses that twenty-four hours determines our worth to the market.
It’s all about time management.
Be you Warren Buffet or Neville Nobody, you have the same twenty-four hours.
When I look at dental offices, I see a lot of them operating with no structure to their days.
And that means there is no structure to their weeks and months and years as well.
Let’s reverse engineer the dental day.
I’d like to think that a dental office knows how much revenue it needs to collect each year to pay expenses, to remunerate it’s dentists and staff and to repay loans and to make a profit.
Once we know that figure, it is simply a matter of dividing that figure by fifty to determine a weekly collection number that needs to be achieved.
Once we have that number we can further divide that weekly number by four or five or whatever to determine a daily revenue that needs to be collected.
From this number, we can then work out what sort of procedures need to be performed each day to achieve this daily collection number.
This is what I did.
I did not want to rely on hope.
I did not want to get to the end of my week or the end of my month and see whether or not I had made my target.
I wanted some predictability to my income.
I also wanted to create some consistency to my income.
I wasn’t a big fan of creating unpredictable peaks and troughs in my practice collections.
So with this daily number in mind, I was able to reverse engineer my days so that the procedures I performed each day created a balanced income for the practice to budget around.
I had a patient who was a District Court Judge, and as I farewelled him one morning after his early morning dental appointment and wished him a good day, he said:
“Of course I will [have a good day] David…. I’m in control”
I see a lot of dental offices where the dentists are NOT in control of their daily schedule.
And so their schedule runs their day, instead of them running their day.
To me this makes no sense.
I used to hate those days where I worked my tail off doing the “rats and mice” sort of dentistry all day for little or no financial reward.
And I also thought it rather stupid to be collecting big on one day each week doing high end restorative, only to be grinding myself into the ground another day dealing with the rats and mice for no reward.
A balanced appointment book creates a well-balanced mind.
And once we have that balance each day, it is then that we can look at ways of increasing our efficiencies to achieve better outcomes each day.
This is how I made the plan that made the changes.
There’s no point trying to improve performance when you are starting from disorganization and rabble.