“You can’t improve what you don’t measure”– Peter Drucker.
When I talk to business owners about their businesses I’m surprised at how few owners are measuring the things that matter.
Most business owners don’t measure much at all.
A lot of business owners don’t measure anything.
There are some Key Performance Indicators [KPIs] that all business owners should be measuring on a daily basis.
And as Drucker said, if you don’t measure things how on earth can you improve them.
I see dental practices that don’t measure their productions and collections on a daily basis.
Or a weekly basis.
And they wouldn’t know whether May 2018 was a better or worse month for collections and production than May 2017 was?
Or than April 2018 was?
They simply blunder from one day to the next….
I see dental offices who don’t know how many new patients they see on a monthly basis.
And they don’t record whether each of those new patients has been referred or whether they’ve come as a result of specific marketing campaigns and media.
They don’t have any idea how many of their new patients for the month are seeking treatment because something is broken or painful, or whether they are seeking an examination, that may or may not be overdue.
I see dental practices that don’t know how many crowns they seat on an annual basis.
They don’t know how many hygiene visits are being performed on a quarterly basis, and they don’t know how many hygiene patients are on quarterly visits or on six-monthly visits.
These dentists have no idea how many patients are scheduling appointments when they phone their offices, and what that percentage is.
They do not know what percentage of new patient first appointments scheduled are kept, and they have no idea how many of those new patients that do come for their first appointment return for a second appointment or ALL subsequent appointments.
And when you ask these dentists about their practices, they simply say:
“I just need more new patients”.
The trouble is, you can’t keep adding more water into a small rusty bucket that leaks like a sieve….
I can’t understand how people who work serving people can sometimes do so without emotionally connecting with their customers.
Have you ever seen this happen?
Have you ever witnessed a person working in a business who really looks like they DO NOT want to be there?
They make no attempt to make eye contact.
There is no facial recognition of the customer.
And they ask no questions of engagement, except to say,
“Would you like a bag?”
It’s downright pathetic.
Most of the time these people are employees of the business.
And they’re simply going through the motions.
They are not attempting to make any connection at all with the customer.
All they want to do is complete their interaction in as short a time as possible.
The employee simply wants to clear the line.
All the employee is hoping for is no more customers.
And closing time.
And yet, as Mary Kay Ash so eloquently put it, everybody out there is walking around with an invisible sign around their neck that reads:
“Make Me Feel Important.”
It is that simple.
As an employee, as a business owner, all you need to do is make sure that you make every person that you come in contact with feel better for meeting you.
When there is no interaction happening, or worse still, when there is negative emotion conveyed towards the customer so that the customer feels ignored, or belittled, or humiliated, this can only result in a strain upon the customer-to-business relationship.
And that strain applied will result in a tension that can end the relationship, or has the potential to close off the relationship.
And this damage is often irreparable.
I’ve seen loyal customers stop doing business with retailers because of a failure to engage from employees at that business.
Or the customers stop doing businessthere because of a perceived lack of respect for the customer’s feelings shown by the employee.
Every action and every interaction in a business between employees and each other and between employees and customers must be purposefully engaging and uplifting for all concerned.
As an employee or as a business owner there is no better way to behave.
The best thing about owning a dental practice is that you are indeed the owner of a business.
It’s great to think that as a business owner you then can be rewarded MORE for providing a great service and a great experience to your patients than you would be if you were simply an employee in someone else’s business.
As a business owner you are the person who is able to control the experience that your customers receive.
It is in your hands.
You determine how your dental office markets its services and where it markets its services.
You determine the skill level of your team members and how they learn and acquire their skills, and you monitor their use and expression of those skills so that their actions and their voices truly reflect you as the owner of the dental office.
As the owner of the dental office you have the ability to determine all of the systems and protocols that your office needs to follow to be a successful expression of the services and experiences that you wish to provide to your marketplace.
As an employee you do not have the same ability to influence.
As a business owner you have the ability to control your business’s influence in the marketplace.
As a business owner you have the ability to resist outside influences on your business by the way that you structure your business.
If you are not in control of your business, then you are doing things incorrectly and you may need to reassess your plan.
You do have a plan?
All businesses should have a plan.
Without a plan you are simply a cork floating in a stream, being dragged by the current.
Your plan is your rudder and your oars.
Your plan determines how your business manages during good times and not so good times.
When I was a dentist working in my own practice I met dentists with no plan.
I couldn’t see the point of not being rewarded for all of the time and money that it takes to become a dentist and to purchase or set up a dental office.
You owe it to yourself and your family to maximize your return from all of the efforts that you have invested into your dental journey so far.
As a dental coach I still meet dentists with no clear plan.
And I meet dentists with the wrong plan.
Where is your dental business taking you?
Are you in control of your local market?
Only five percent of dentists can afford to retire when they reach retirement age, and the great thing is, that how they did this, is not a secret.
You do have the ability to change your dental destiny.
If you want to improve the status of your business in the marketplace then I’d advise you to stop comparing your business to your competitors.
And start looking at other industries and what’s working in those fields, and see whether your business can learn from those industries and incorporate some of those business ideas back into your field.
Because this is where the true business of being in business is won.
The problem of comparing your business with your competition is that it simply lowers the bar, because all you are trying to do in that instance is to make a in improvement compared to your competitors.
But when you look outside your industry and incorporate ideas from other industries back into your business, you truly can create revolutionary change within your industry.
Take Henry Ford for instance. If Henry Ford had not looked outside of his industry and had simply listened to his customers, then all he would have developed was a “faster horse” as he said, instead of the Model T Ford automobile.
In dentistry, I took ideas from the restaurant industry and applied them to the patient experience at the dentist.
I innovated with ideas from the travel industry and incorporated those into my dental office with dramatic results.
Another thing that I’ve been able to do is to cross-pollenate ideas form my customer service processes into industries like food and beverage, hotel stays, and hairdressing and pharmacies.
Great customer service ideas are everywhere.
You just need to see them and note them and implement them.
That’s all that I ever did….
But it’s something I did with great passion that resulted in comments from my patients that read:
“This business is so different from any other business I know out there…not just other dentists, but all businesses.”
It is your points of difference that determine the value and the status of your dental business in the marketplace.
Nobody wants to be known as the best vanilla.
We all want our business to be known for what it does exceptionally.