Think Twice Before Proceeding In This Manner

Think Twice Before Proceeding In This Manner

Recently American Express have begun emailing their customers ahead of time reminding them that their upcoming credit card payment is almost due.

I’m not sure why they’ve begun this email system of notifying customers in advance?

The reason I’m confused about this is because customers who miss their payment due date and pay later are hit with significant penalties for doing so.

And those penalties would represent a profit source of sorts for the company.

Now, I’m not sure whether this pre-email situation is an Australian exclusive or whether it’s an across the board and across the world implementation to everybody out there who owns an American Express Card.

But here’s my take:

Let’s look at another industry:

In Australia, when you fly, well at least when you fly with Qantas, there are flight boarding announcements made inside of Qantas airline lounges at the airports alerting passengers to proceed to their gates for departure.

In the USA, well, when you fly with American Airlines, there are no such announcements.

American Airlines believes [and I subscribe to that view], that their customers are adults and as such should be solely responsible for their whereabouts at the airport.

I’m with them on this.

If you’re old enough to buy a ticket, then you’re old enough to be able to get yourself to the gate and get yourself on board on time, without having to be reminded and called.

So back to Amex:

I’ve been an American Express customer since 1984.

And the thing about being an American Express customer is that their card is a charge card and it needs to be paid off in full each and every month.

In fact, if you repeatedly fail to repay your card in full, they will relieve you of that card, I’d imagine.

[I’m not sure, because I always repay my Amex card in full each and every month].

With that being the case, and Amex being a charge card for regular users who pay down their balances each and every month, it beggars the question:

“Why are they emailing their valued customers to remind them that their payments are due?”

I don’t know what you’re thinking, but to me, it’s as though Amex doesn’t trust their customers any more?

Emailing people who have always paid on time to remind them to get their payments in seems to me to be a really big slap in the face for those customers.

Sure, if you have problematic customers then emailing them in advance could well be one way of reducing the incidences of late payments.

But if they are not recalcitrant customers, in my view, sending a blanket email out to all customers suggesting a behaviour to them that they are already following is pedantic, and slightly hypocritical.

And insulting.

I’m sure Amex have the ability to segment their list and send their necessary emails to a more specifically targeted audience.

Or maybe I’m already in that targeted group….

But if I was, I’d surely know already, wouldn’t I?

In dental…

What have you developed as “policy” in your dental practice that may be targeting a too large, non-specific audience of patients that needs to be better focused?

Are you sending out messages by machine gun, hoping to hit something, but not really trying to hit something specifically?

Could you be sending out a message that could be considered inappropriate or even offensive to some of the recipients?

When was the last time that you truly analysed your signage and your messages?

I used to say:

“Don’t ever put up a sign or make a rule that is directed at the 2%, but offends the 98%”

In business, it’s not very clever to be sending out mass messages that offend law abiding customers…

Because such messages, all they do is herald an internal problem to your customers that most of your customers really aren’t aware of.

And that’s not really a smart thing to do…

*****

Need your phones monitored?

Are you concerned about the number of calls that are not being answered as best they can be?

You need Call Tracking Excellence.

For the cost of a less than one cleaning per week, you could have your phones being answered much much better….

Convert more calls into appointments…Click the link: http://www.calltrackingexcellence.com

Call Jayne on 1300 378 044 or email Jayne@theDPE.com  for more details.

*****

Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order

*****

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

 

Only Do This If You Want Your Dental Practice To Look Needy And Greedy.

Only Do This If You Want Your Dental Practice To Look Needy And Greedy.

You won’t believe what I was reading on an online dental chat forum the other day.

I read about a dental practice that had decided to “draft and adopt” itself a CANCELLATION POLICY.

This long and wordy document that the office had drafted was crafted with the skills of Wordsworth.

It was beautiful.

It was precise.

It was logical.

It made absolute sense.

The consultant loved it….

But it was pointless.

Here’s why:

The letter explained that cancellations cost the business money.

The letter explained WHY the cancellations were costing the dental business money, and the impact that these cancellations were having on the employees of the business.

The letter explained how the dental business, being a small business, was not in the same league as big businesses, and was not able to absorb or deflect the expense of downtime.

It was a heartfelt letter.

But it was pointless.

Here’s my take on this:

The practice has identified the problem, but the practice has not identified the cause of the problem.

It’s like watching a family trying to mop up a flooded living room, without identifying that a tap upstairs in the bathtub needs to be turned off.

Because that’s where the water is coming from.

I replied to the thread:

I said:

“In my practice we never used a cancellation policy. We never had one. We never charged for a missed appointment even if the patient wanted to pay us.”

I said:

“Businesses should never put in writing things that need to be said face-to-face. Signs, letters and policies are simply crutches.”

“Every cancellation happens for a reason. What the dental practice needs to do is to help the patient get through those things causing them to cancel their appointments.”

“In so doing, the practice needs to be their friend, and needs to not be a policeman.”

“If the patient cannot improve their behaviour then we need to gift the patient to another practice. But only after trying our best to help them.”

I said:

“If you have a great practice then patients will beat a path to your door.”

“If you have patients cancelling, you have a system problem.

You have not created enough urgency and concern for that patient to want to attend.”

You have not presented the outcome of delaying treatment to the patient for that patient to want their problem rectified as soon as possible.

You have failed to communicate this urgency in the dental treatment room, and your team have failed to continue that theme of urgency in the handovers of the patient to the front office employees and the scheduling coordinator.

And when new patients are cancelling before they ever even come to your office, well that’s because whoever took their call failed to create value and urgency with respect while making the appointment for that caller.

In this practice mentioned above, the problem is not a cancellation problem. This dental office has a communication problem.

If this dental practice worked on its communication skills and mastered its handovers, then things would be dramatically different there.

The really sad thing in this practice, is thinking about all the time wasted in crafting their beautiful CANCELLATION POLICY.

It’s really only useful as a fire starter.

Lastly….

I’ve always been a very strong believer in the fact that no matter how badly the economy is going, nobody out there really cares if a dentist is doing it tough or has been hard done by.

Nobody.

So don’t waste your time bleeding how tough things are and how much your actions of compensation are justified.

Nobody cares.

And nobody will care.

Ever.

*****

Need your phones monitored?

Are you concerned about the number of calls that are not being answered as best they can be?

You need Call Tracking Excellence.

For the cost of a less than one cleaning per week, you could have your phones being answered much much better….

Convert more calls into appointments…Click the link: http://www.calltrackingexcellence.com

Call Jayne on 1300 378 044 or email Jayne@theDPE.com  for more details.

*****

Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order

*****

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

 

Business Lessons From Harry and Meghan

Business Lessons From Harry and Meghan

The recent announcement from The Duke and Duchess of Sussex that they will be retiring from the British Royal Family has highlighted a few things that can happen in every business and need to be kept front of mind

And yes, the British Royal Family is first and foremost a business.

The British Monarchy, as a business, has the role of inspiring and leading the subjects over whom they reign.

And that’s their business.

And their business revolves around stability and solidarity.

Lesson #1.

If there is turmoil on the inside, try to keep it on the inside.

Your business customers don’t need to know about your troubles.

They just want to know that things are “BUSINESS AS USUAL”

Your customers just want their regular product.

Without the drama.

There’s no need to overshare behind the scenes dramas in your business with your customers.

Usually, those in business who do overshare are either the inexperienced, the weak, and the immature.

The strong and the sensible do not overshare.

The strong and the sensible keep their cards close to their chests.

Lesson #2.

The pedigree of company directors needs to be well vetted.

In business, the addition of new partners or board members can be a “breath of fresh air” for a business.

But sometimes the “new blood” can also bring trouble.

With new blood comes new ideas.

New ideas may not always be good ideas.

New ideas may be just that: ideas.

They may only be thoughts without any substance or scientific foundation.

Lesson #3.

Changes from what has been “usual” may not be well accepted by senior management.

New company directors may try to implement changes, state their position, and stamp their authority in a manner that is not usual and customary to the way that the business has been run in the past.

Often the adage:

“Because that’s the way we’ve always done it around here”

needs to be adhered to and considered by new arrivals in the business.

New change may not always be seen as good change.

Lesson #4

If you’re going to make an announcement about your business plans that affects your whole business, probably best to not use Instagram as your first choice of medium.

And also might be wise to let your business colleagues have a “heads up” before you go telling it all to the world.

Nothing gets peoples goat up more than reading about things in the newspapers and the press that they should have been told first hand.

Again, using the media, or social media to spruik an announcement to the world before sharing the decision firstly with those that you should, shouts of hypocrisy, of immaturity and of downright vindictiveness.

It’s childish and nasty.

And highly unprofessional.

~

A lot of wisdom can be learned by studying the actions of the Queen.

She’s a seasoned professional.

If she’s made a mistake before, she’s learned from it.

In life, there are a lot of free lessons out there to be learned form observing others.

Many mistakes are made from failing to study history and events.

*****

Need your phones monitored?

Are you concerned about the number of calls that are not being answered as best they can be?

You need Call Tracking Excellence.

For the cost of a less than one cleaning per week, you could have your phones being answered much much better….

Convert more calls into appointments…Click the link: http://www.calltrackingexcellence.com

Call Jayne on 1300 378 044 or email Jayne@theDPE.com  for more details.

*****

Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order

*****

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

 

Yes This Really Just Happened To Me

Yes This Really Just Happened To Me

The story I’m about to share with you really just happened to me.

And I bet you’ve probably been guilty of doing this yourself… I know that I have.

Let me explain… here’s what happened:

I had an upcoming medical appointment that I needed to reschedule.

Please don’t judge me…let me explain.

My upcoming medical appointment was fast approaching…. In fact, it was only twelve days away.

And the reason I know this is because I had a handwritten appointment card in my wallet with the day, date, and time of my next appointment.

And as is the case with appointments like this made way way in advance, occasionally something else can come up for us to do that means we may need to reschedule that appointment.

As an aside, my hairdresser always makes me an appointment for my next haircut with him as I am leaving his salon. And I’m notorious [to myself] for not making a physical note of that next appointment date, but rather just relying on my memory and then waiting on the phone SMS confirmation to arrive.

Well actually, this year I’ve taken to making an entry about the haircut appointment on my phone calendar while I’m at the salon [and that’s working fine for me so far]

But there are at least three electronic calendars on my Mac.

You see, I still like the paper diary, with the pen or pencil entries. Call me old fashioned then, but there is something nice about paper.

Actually, I still like reading paper books, rather than electronic books, and audio books.

Anyway, I needed to change my medical appointment.

So I phoned the medical practice to do so.

Well, much to my surprise, when I called, I was told that my appointment was not in their schedule.

Now, the receptionist was very apologetic, and immediately was able to find me an appointment that did not clash with my schedule.

So no harm done at all. Of that I would like to be clear.

But what could have happened?

Well, what if I had turned up for my appointment on the day, with my handwritten appointment card in my wallet, only to find that someone else was in my time and I could not be seen?

Would I have been happy?

[Actually, I think all dental practices have done this once or twice. I know that this occasionally happened in my own dental practice, unfortunately.]

I know that I thought it was odd that I had not received a courtesy SMS or phone call about my upcoming appointment. As I have said, I kind of used to rely upon those SMS messages from my hairdresser.

I know these things can easily happen.

I get that.

An error like this could happen because the appointment scheduler, or receptionist, may have been distracted by a ringing phone, a front door arrival, or a question from a clinical team member.

After all, we all make mistakes now and then.

Well, anyway, in this case, because of my own schedule and availability, a disaster, or an incident, was averted.

Because when these mess ups do occur, there is always an embarrassment for one party.

We’ve all had dental patients turn up on the wrong day, either early, or late. I remember once phoning my hairdresser apologising that I was going to be late for my appointment that day with him due to a traffic incident, only for him to tell me that I was already a day late for my appointment!!

Here’s my take on all this

What if I’d turned up for my medical appointment at the time written on my card, and not have been able to be seen?

If I was a D-type highly stressed fully booked, not a spare minute type of company executive and had driven out of my way on an already very busy day just to see my doctor, then I might have been a tad upset.

What would have happened if I had driven a long distance just for this appointment. After all, some patients do travel a long way to their doctor, or dentist, or other medical professional.

Fortunately for this doctor, these days I’m able to accommodate an unexpected change like this in my schedule. Even if I had actually turned up at the practice, it really wouldn’t have been too much bother. After all, according to Siri, I only live twelve minutes from that doctor, and I probably work a similar distance away.

But here’s a tip

Because I phoned to change my appointment, I probably did not need to be told by the practice that my appointment [that I had written on a card] was actually not in their schedule.

They probably could have simply and easily just gone ahead and offered their next available appointment without alerting me to the fact that they had suffered a process or procedure failure.

After all, really, how was I to know?

And there are other things you don’t need to overshare with your patients….

While I’m on the topic of oversharing, here’s a few things in dentistry that you need to not tell your patients.

I’ve heard some dental practice staff tell patients that their dentist is always running late.

I’ve heard dental practice staff tell patients that their practice always gets cancellations.

Have you heard dental practice people put down their lab, their supplier, their hygienist, their cleaner?

Other staff tell patients about fixtures and equipment that is faulty, damaged or overdue for repair or replacement…

There are a whole long list of things that don’t need to be shared ever with patients.

You could probably add some doosies to this list…

*****

Need your phones monitored?

Are you concerned about the number of calls that are not being answered as best they can be?

You need Call Tracking Excellence.

For the cost of a less than one cleaning per week, you could have your phones being answered much much better….

Convert more calls into appointments…Click the link: http://www.calltrackingexcellence.com

Call Jayne on 1300 378 044 or email Jayne@theDPE.com  for more details.

*****

Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order

*****

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

 

Building Out Your Dream Dental Practice

Building Out Your Dream Dental Practice

Some dentists have a vision of what their “DREAM” dental practice is going to look like.

I mean, they know in their mind what their facility will be like from the front door and every pace and step to the back door.

“If you build it he will come.

Other dentists never have this sort of vision.

Other dentists purchase an existing practice, with an existing clientele, and they adapt their purchase over time.

[For some dentists in this situation, they want to make changes from day one. And other dentists “take their time”. More on that another day.]

During my twenty-eight years of owning and running my own practice, and during my thirty-five years of being a dentist, I never ever had the “dream” of doing a start-up.

Never.

Ever.

To me, buying a cashflow, buying an existing dental business, made a lot more sense than building something on hope.

And after all, if I ever grew that business, I could build out a new facility in a new location and bring my clientele across to that facility, couldn’t I?

After all, a lot of dental practices do this relocation very successfully, don’t they?

 

[Funnily, I had two dentist friends each working in Newcastle NSW at the time of the 1989 earthquake there.

Both of my friends believed that the earthquake, and the subsequent rebuilding that the town was going to need, would impact negatively on the town’s economy, and on dentistry.

What my friends reported was that in contrast to their predictions, both their dental practices became busier and increased business despite of the destruction in the town.

And that extra business they experienced came from new patients to their dental practices who had been patients of other dentists whose practices had to relocate.

When my friends explained to these new patients that their (affected) dentist had temporarily relocated and was still working, but in rooms nearby, the common answer from these patients was:

“Yes, I know. But we felt like changing. And this gave us the chance to.”

Interesting….]

I think, around that same time, or just after, I was looking to relocate my dental practice that I had purchased, into a newly constructed building across the other side of my town.

Ultimately, for one reason or another, I decided not to relocate, and in the end over the twenty-eight years that I owned and operated that practice, I was fortunate enough to be able to expand my facility into adjoining suites in the same location.

You see, what I learned from my friends in Newcastle was that people primarily are creatures of habit, and they often don’t like change.

Especially change applied to them without consultation on their behalf.

It can be disruptive and disorienting.

[In fact, recently I spoke with a dental practice owner who under the advice of an employee dentist who wanted to “buy in” to the practice, built a new facility and relocated.

As things were proceeding with the build, the employee dentist had a change of mind and decided to leave the practice and work elsewhere, leaving this dentist with the problem of finishing the build and relocating the practice on his own.

End result:

New facility.

More overhead and cost.

Less business.

Financial disaster]

In fact, one of the things that dissuaded me from relocating my dental practice back in 1990 was when my then landlord brought a neighbouring dentist around to look at renting the rooms I was about to leave.

This kind of got me thinking that maybe I needed to seriously rethink whether the reason for my intended relocation was actually logic based or whether it was simply an attack of the BIG SHINY OBJECT syndrome.

What I learned:

What I learned was that dental practices aren’t really about facility so much.

They are really about people.

Because without the people, without the patients of the practice, all you really have is the walls and the floor and the ceilings.

And your practice doesn’t have a heart.

It’s the people who you serve that make your dental practice what it is.

And so long as your practice is clean, and tidy and friendly, and you do good dentistry, you’ll always have patients beating a path to your door.

I couldn’t have imagined how tough I would have made my life by relocating my dental practice into that brand new building and giving myself a huge financial burden to administer?

As you know, what I ended up doing was to grow that original practice into a thriving practice in its original location and then sell it for several million dollars.

That counterintuitive decision to not relocate into a big grand brand new facility allowed me then to invest more wisely in myself as well as in other non-dental assets.

Don’t get me wrong:

There is a lot of opportunity in building out a brand new dental office.

But at a cost.

And not only the financial cost.

A friend of mine built a new dental practice in a new suburb in north western Sydney.

Which was fine.

Until the next year another dentist did the same.

And the following year another dentist came to town.

And all of a sudden his “so-called” market was being divided up by new competition coming to town.

A factor that my friend had not even considered.

Also, a few years ago the Australian Government gave grants to dentists to help them build start up practices in rural locations in Australia.

And some of these start up practices have been very successful.

Other dentists who participated in this programme were disappointed to find out [after they had committed] that some rural towns were getting multiple start up dental practices being approved [unbeknown to each other].

Just because others are doing it

You see, just because others are doing something, doesn’t mean it’s the way things should be done.

In 2009, Dr Omer Reed told me that in the USA, ninety-five percent of dentists reaching the age of sixty-five cannot afford to retire and still need to keep on working.

With the opportunity that a career in dentistry offers, that statistic is a tragedy.

What that statistic tells me is that ninety-five percent of dentists are doing it wrong.

They’re following the wrong plan.

And so I need to ask…

I need to pose the question.

Whose plan are you following?

*****

Need your phones monitored?

Are you concerned about the number of calls that are not being answered as best they can be?

You need Call Tracking Excellence.

For the cost of a less than one cleaning per week, you could have your phones being answered much much better….

Convert more calls into appointments…Click the link: http://www.calltrackingexcellence.com

Call Jayne on 1300 378 044 or email Jayne@theDPE.com  for more details.

*****

Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order

*****

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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