Last week I was interviewed for an upcoming online dental event.
One of the key points that arose from the interview was the major disconnect that is occurring in dental offices between the patient and the office as a result of the over-use of automation.
Dentistry is about connection and business is about connection.
Whenever there is a disconnection in a relationship of any sort then there is a massive question that arises regarding the survival of that relationship.
Relationships are built upon trust and respect and connection.
Without these then all we have is a process.
And a process is like having an enema.
By that I mean it creates an “Are we there, yet?” response.
Whereas the response we are trying to elicit is:
“I have so enjoyed today.”
Can we create an atmosphere of “I have so enjoyed today” in our dental office?
You bet you can…. but you need to go back to some good old fashioned interactions and processes.
Turn off some of the automation!!
Just because some geek invented an application in your dental software that he’s excited about doesn’t mean it has a purpose and needs to be used.
The number one mistake I see in dental offices is the replacement of the personalised handover by a computer-generated transfer of information.
In the modern-day dental office here’s the scenario I see over and over that is killing those dental offices….
Patient is brought out from the treatment room to the front by the dental assistant and is left at the front with little or no verbal handover. Employee at the front then tells the patient:
“I’m just waiting for the dentist to enter his notes in the computer”
Then, notes appear on the front office computer. These notes usually contain the codes and descriptions and fees for treatment completed this day, and if we are lucky there may be a computer-generated request or instruction for the patient’s next visit.
How exciting does that sound?
It’s about as exciting as a cold shower on a cold day.
There is little or no engagement of the patient.
The attitude of the staff members is nearly always….
“Well it’s in the computer so it must be the truth…”
and is followed by:
“I’m sorry. I don’t understand why you need to talk it over with your spouse?”
when the patient stalls and says that they need to think it over…
Or, the patient schedules their treatment and then cancels the appointment or simply fails to attend for their treatment.
That would never ever happen really, would it?
You see, the presumption from the computer geek is that the feature of terminal-to-terminal data transfer is a major benefit, and can be used “real time” in a dental office to save time so that employees can leave patients and go and do more important things, like scrub instruments and fill out lab sheets…
The thing is that the de-personalisation of the patient transfer to the front office creates cancellations and no-shows in the schedule This is because of the difficulties this process creates because of its dehumanising nature.
If you want to improve your treatment acceptance numbers and you want to decrease your no shows and reschedules then you need to ditch the dependence on computers in this end of treatment process and go back to face-to-face-to-face handovers.
Whenever your patients begin to feel that they are only bit-players and are only acting out a part of a de-personalised process, they will vote with their feet and go and find somewhere else for their dental services.
If you want to grow your dental office exponentially then you need to stick with the personalised handovers.
Spend the time and reap the rewards.
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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 email@example.com
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