Follow These Principles To Achieve Best Results In Your Dental Practice

Follow These Principles To Achieve Best Results In Your Dental Practice

A recent article I wrote discussing when to ask for the money, raised an interesting conundrum, especially with one reader.

Last week I had eye surgery performed.

On me.

This involved a private hospital visit and day surgery.

So, this one reader contacted me about an article I wrote last week.

In that article, I wrote about my objection to receiving a phone call from the hospital on the morning before my procedure, about their fee [bill], and the money, before I received a call from them about the agenda for the day visit.

This reader told me that he felt that I was being unreasonable, and that he saw no problem whatsoever with their approach.

In fact, the reader “assumed” that because I had scheduled the day surgery, that I was in total acceptance of their procedures and processes, and that for me to question the order of their processes was actually unreasonable behaviour by me.

Well, let me put it like this:

When you bake a cake, is there a time when it is better to ice the cake, or can you ice the cake at STEP 1?

Of course, it makes sense to prepare the ingredients, mix them in the recommended order, bake the cake, and then ice it?

That’s why we have an order of instructions when baking the cake…. So that we achieve our best results, consistently.

At my dental practice, we found there was an order of events at the end of the appointment that worked best for our practice, and for our patients, that allowed the practice to achieve its best results.

And going for payment first was not doing it for our results, and for our patients.

What we found was that when we arranged our post treatment discussion, and worked out the best order for discussing things, well, that’s when we started to notice a dramatic decrease in cancellations, and a dramatic decrease in patients leaving without making a next appointment.

So, at your dental practice, in what order do you place these events [listed below] at the end of a dental appointment?

Are some of these subjects taboo in your dental office?

A. Take payment

B. Schedule next appointment

C. Discuss today’s treatment

D. Social conversation about the patient

E. Social conversation about practice employees

F. Social conversation about the dental front office employee’s plans for the weekend.

G. Discussion about world happenings and events.

 

Every dental practice should have a simple, and repeatable process that creates stellar results.

That’s just common sense.

And so is this thought:

When you get dressed each morning, there’s a reason why it’s wiser to put your underwear on prior to your shirt and trousers, and not the other way around….

There will always be a preferred order of events that gives best results.

Hopefully this hospital [and my reader] will work out their own preferred orders….

*****

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

 

Is Your Dental Practice Guilty Of “The Switch”?

Is Your Dental Practice Guilty Of “The Switch”?

Last Friday I had a phone call scheduled with a dental Practice Manager to discuss some issues they were having at their practice, and whether or not I would be able to assist them.

This call was scheduled by the Practice Manager after I had exchanged a couple of emails with her.

Here’s what happened:

At the agreed time, I phoned the dental practice.

When the phone was answered by the dental practice receptionist, I told her my name, and explained that I had a call booked at this time with the Practice Manager [who I named].

The receptionist responded gruffly:

“Where are you from?”

And

“What are you calling about?”

And of course, she said:

“What was your name again?”

The switch had been made….

As soon as the dental receptionist came to the realisation that the purpose of my call WAS NOT to make a dental appointment, she switched her demeanour immediately.

My call was placed on hold.

When the receptionist resumed my call, she explained that the Practice Manager was “busy” and would return my call at a later point in time.

The Dental Receptionist took my number.

And the call ended.

Why is the switch bad?

The switch is not a good move.

The reason is simply this:

Just because the caller has not phoned for a dental appointment this time, doesn’t mean that they will never ever need a dental appointment or want to refer someone to that dental practice for treatment.

The execution of a switch is a very short-sighted behaviour

This is because you don’t know what will ever unfold from the act of just being pleasant and helpful on the phone.

Or for that matter, the act of just being helpful and pleasant to people who might visit your dental practice, or who you might come in contact with in your day to day travels while at work.

Years ago, we had a postman named Jim, who used to hand deliver our mail into our dental practice each and every day.

Jim used to carry the mail in a satchel over his shoulder, but what was remarkable about Jim was that he offered to and indeed did take our outbound mail back to the post office with him.

This was an amazing offer because I know that if that was my job, I’d be looking forward to my satchel getting lighter as I worked each day toward the completion of my postal round.

Now, I figured that my dental practice was not the only dental practice that Jim visited each day. After all, there was a dentist in the suite next door to my practice inside our building, as well as a dentist in the building two doors up the road and another dentist two doors down the road as well.

So I was pleasantly surprised [and honoured] when Jim chose to become my dental patient and completed a course of dental treatment with us.

Because he could have chosen to go to a number of other dental practices instead.

[And, just as an aside, not only did Jim become my patient, he was also a very good referrer of patients to my dental practice.]

The lesson is this:

If any of my dental team had performed THE SWITCH on Jim, and treated him as “just the postman”, then we’d have never had the opportunity of becoming his dentist and treating him, along with those patients that he referred to our practice.

Yet so many times, especially with phone calls to practices, I hear dental receptionists switch their persona to “prison officer” or “gatekeeper” mode, often for no other reason than JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN.

And I know, there will always be hawkers and canvassers who phone dental practices, trying to sell their wares to the dentist.

But just because they do, doesn’t mean that it’s OPEN SEASON for being rude to all of these people.

Bonus:

So, what did I learn from my phone call to this practice?

I learned that in the first instance, the practice needs to ELIMINATE THE SWITCH from their dental receptionist.

And if that doesn’t work, then they need to re-deploy their receptionist.

Secondly, this dental practice needs to review it’s on-hold message recording… too many big words, too many dental words, and too much me-me-itis…. And not enough points of difference…

*****

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

 

The Benefits To Your Business Of Seeking Professional Advice, And Taking Action

The Benefits To Your Business Of Seeking Professional Advice, And Taking Action

On Tuesday morning last week I had significant eye surgery to remove a very large floater from my left eye, which had been obscuring my vision, for some time.

When I consulted with the surgeon the week before the operation, and asked him how big this floater was, he said that on a scale of 1-10, where 10 was the largest, this one was a 9.

A NINE!

He said it was one of the biggest floaters that he had ever seen!!

However, getting the surgery done was not a simple process.

Initially, the surgeon had wanted for me to wait another four months, because he said, that sometimes these floaters have a chance of breaking up on their own.

When I questioned him about the chances, he suggested maybe this one had a 30% chance of dispersing.

But I wasn’t convinced.

I was sure that if I was to wait four months, the odds were going to be against me of any improvement, and it would be four months of my life wasted.

It would mean I would return to see the surgeon after that four months, with an increased hatred for him for wasting my time.

And I didn’t want that to be what happened.

I was ready….

Although, I’ve got to say that with an eye operation, and I mean any eye operation, as a patient you have to have concerns and doubts as to whether you’re doing the right thing.

The surgeon had warned me that although this procedure was, for him, a routine procedure, and although he probably did more of these operations than many other surgeons, there did exist a chance of one in five thousand that I could go blind.

And although he was highly skilled, there was that chance.

And the thought of going blind does weigh heavily on your mind when you decide to have the surgery.

Nobody wants to go blind.

So what happened?

Well, after the operation, you have no vision in that eye for the first twenty-four hours, and that’s probably because the darned thing is bandaged up and closed, so you cannot see through all that even if you wanted to.

Finally, on the day after surgery, you visit the surgeon and he looks at his work on your eye, and he says:

“Your eye looks very good. I’m happy with how the operation went and with how your eye is healing. I’ll see you again in five days at my rooms.”

The vision you have through that eye could best be described as looking through some swimming goggles filled with water.

It’s quite blurry.

And the post-operative paperwork tells you that with time, the “appearance” of fluid in the eye will reduce, and vision will be restored.

Indeed, it is a definite LEAP OF FAITH.

Well, fast forward three days to the Saturday morning and I wake up and the water level in that left eye has dropped down and I am surprised at the improvement in my vision in the top half of my eye.

There was a dramatic improvement in the clarity of vision that I had.

I went out for a morning walk, and as I went for my walk, I was able to see things that I had not been able to see or hadn’t been seeing for some time.

And so with that improvement, I literally cannot wait and I am really looking forward to the rest of that fluid in that eye dissipating and gaining full vision back, in that eye.

So what’s my point?

My point is this:

What’s just happened to me with my eye is the same thing that happens to a lot of people, but with their lives and with their businesses.

Things start going bad, gradually, and they don’t realise that things are indeed going bad, ever so gradually.

I didn’t realise that my vision was gradually getting worse and worse and worse, until it got really, really bad.

And then I reached out.

I reached out for help.

But a lot of people don’t ever reach out when their businesses are going bad…

Or they reach out, but it is to the wrong people.

They reach out for advice from uneducated, well meaning friends and relatives, whose sole aim is to save their friend from any benefits that could be gained by making possible improvements to their lives.

You know I spoke to the surgeon and he wanted me to wait for another four months, but I knew that I needed to take action.

But sometimes with our businesses and with our lives we could have a problem, and when we discuss it with someone, that person says:

“You’re doing all right compared to other people…”

Or

“What are you complaining about, just pull your head in….”

Or

“Things will be alright let’s just keep going as they are…”

Sadly, people do that.

They ask the wrong people.

They take this sort of poor advice and they do nothing and procrastination kills their lives and kills their businesses.

Instead, they should have taken action.

It’s only that taking of action that results in improved clarity.

That’s what I did. I took action.

I said to the surgeon we need to get this done now.

I told him:

“I want to get this done. It has been impacting on my daily functions in terms of computer work, in terms of seeing things at golf, when driving, when working at the radio station….”

It really was affecting my day to day life.

And I’m so glad that I took that action.

Sometimes in your business you need to do exactly what I did.

You need to bite the bullet, get the help, and move forward.

If there’s something that’s bugging you, then seek professional advice. Get somebody with the ability to provide that professional advice that you need.

And take action.

Advice without action is pointless.

Seek that advice because the clarity comes from having somebody else there to look at your problems with you and help you solve those problems.

There is always help.

There is always help out there.

You’ve just got to ask for it.

*****

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

 

How To Insult Your Patients Easily And Efficiently Without Even Trying

How To Insult Your Patients Easily And Efficiently Without Even Trying

Last week on Tuesday I had to have some eye surgery on my left eye.

As you can imagine, eye surgery is a fairly invasive procedure, which can be risky. And with that level of risk comes a small sense of anxiety for the patient.

The patient might think:

“Am I doing the right thing?”

Well, at least, that’s what I was thinking…

Anyway, the procedure, or SURGERY, is performed in a hospital. And although you’re not “knocked out” for the operation, there is a need for the patient to be VERY HEAVILY SEDATED.

After all, the patient can’t be operated on if his eyes are shut closed by the anaesthetic, I guess.

So, with the operation being on the Tuesday, my wife asked me on the Sunday morning what the “schedule” for the day was going to be.

I told her that I was expecting a phone call on the Monday to fill me in on the usual details, like arrival time, operation time, release time, and what time I was due back to see the surgeon on the Wednesday for review, etc….

So, at 10:30am on the Monday I have a missed call on my phone from the hospital…

I return the call, expecting the hospital to be updating a few details and arrangements for the following day.

No. That’s not why they called.

The hospital had phoned me because they needed to update my private health insurance details.

They were calling to ensure that they were going to get paid.

Here’s how the phone call went:

Me: “Hello. I just had a missed call from you. I’m having a procedure done tomorrow.”

Hospital person: “What was your name?”

Me: “David Moffet.”

Hospital person: “What was your date of birth?”

I gave her my date of birth.

Hospital person: “I’m just ringing about your health insurance and your payment. Do you have your health insurance membership number there?”

Me: “Well it’s not normally something that I carry around with me, but I do have it here nearby to where I’m sitting..…just one moment.”

I rummaged around, found the membership card, and read out the number to her.

Hospital person: “Thank you.”

Me: “Before you go, can you let me know the details about what I’m having done tomorrow.”

Hospital person: “Someone from the doctor’s rooms will ring you about that around 1:00pm today….”

Me: “Thank you.”

If you want to insult your patients easily and efficiently without even trying, that’s what you do…

The best way to insult your patients first and foremost is to go for their wallets before you’ve earned the right to…

If you want to earn the respect of your customers, then the first thing you need to do is to build a relationship WITH THEM over and above anything else that you do for them.

In business, your customers really want to know how much you care, before they even want to think about handing over their hard-earned to you.

In this case here, the hospital seemed more intent on finding out whether or not they were going to be paid, before they reached out to me, as real live human being, with senses and feelings and emotions….

Years Ago…

Years ago, in fact, many, many years ago, I employed a dental receptionist who greeted every patient emerging from their treatment room with:

“That’ll be NINETY FIVE.

Or some other number.

[Where the words “NINETY FIVE” or some other number represented the fee for today’s treatment (in dollars)].

There was no compassion, or chat, or small-talk.

There wasn’t even a reference to dollars per say, or to the treatment.

It was a straight grab for the wallet first.

And as you can imagine, this was not a very well thought out strategy by her.

In fact, it was not a very practical or functional step or process for our business.

And my only excuse for this was that this was what she chose to say BEFORE my dental practice established its Ultimate Patient Experience procedures and protocols.

There Is A Place

There always needs to be a place for asking to be paid. However, it should not be first place.

In the dental practice, we knew that collecting payment was important. But we also knew that it was to our advantage to be preceding the request for payment with other discussions, so that the request for payment was “massaged into” the discussion in a well-managed manner.

Maybe somebody needs to let this hospital know that there is a more palatable order of proceedings for their day?

Although most of the hospital patients will be going ahead with the procedure regardless, it is nicer for the paying patient to feel as if the payment of the hospital fees is not a bittersweet transaction.

~~

PS. As an after comment, the procedure went swimmingly, and all the hospital staff that I met and dealt with during my visit were  absolutely fabulous.

*****

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

 

The True Cost And Effect Of Allowing and Tolerating Dental Appointment Cancellations

The True Cost And Effect Of Allowing and Tolerating Dental Appointment Cancellations

Sometimes things get invented to assist us with our day-to-day tasks…

And other times you wonder what the heck we are doing wasting our time with things that could be simpler?

Computers are great, but sometimes, when you want to buy a ten cent newspaper, and you have a ten cent piece, why the heck does the newspaper need to be scanned, and processed…. Do you see where I’m coming from?

Sometimes the computer does a heck of a lot more than “just the transaction”… but at whose expense?

Why does the customer have to wait while the computer is used to perform a “back office stock control process”??

At the expense of the customer’s time?

Recently, on a dental chat forum, the following questions were posed:

“Why do people not utilize the broken/cancel list? Why do people create a second appt instead of pulling an existing one with all the exact details in it??? Others leave dozens left in the pinboard or on appt book prior to work hours. Another question: why do people not clean up the list when its dozens of pages long? Help me understand …”

This topic has been a bug-bear of mine for years…

Sometimes dental appointment book software is invented and created by someone who has never had to actually manage a dental appointment schedule…. The programme has been created to LOOK PRETTY but actually functionally, it’s a lemon…

Let me explain:

Here’s my answer to the above question:

“This question would be irrelevant if dental patients were trained to accept and keep their made appointments, and if dental team members were more diligent in making sure their patients didn’t reschedule (because they had a hairdresser appointment.)

The easy drag and drop feature is designed by a software engineer who has probably never had to reconstruct a daily schedule that fell apart due to a lazy last minute cancellation creating a domino effect.”

I went on to say:

“When I owned my dental office we had a column spare each day where cancelled appointments of that day had to be placed… sure it was extra work, but if we could prevent the caller from cancelling we would save that extra work.

Lastly, at the end of every day we could look at the cancellation column and count up how much scheduled production our office had allowed to re-book… sometimes that number…it was scary…”

I then said this:

“Dental software that creates “off page” lists can look pretty and tidy… but sometimes we (the doctor and the team) need to have a constant reminder that rescheduling appointments is a loss for the practice, it’s a loss for manpower, and it’s a loss or deferment for dental health.”

This is because ‪ALL CANCELLATIONS are the results of patients leaving the practice without clarity and certainty about their next step.

‪The dentist must be crystal clear about what the patient must do next, and when, and what will happen when they DO NOT do what the dentist says.

It is the dentist’s PRIMARY DUTY to ensure that the patient totally understands this.

Without these ingredients [what the patient must do next, and when, and what will happen when they DO NOT do what the dentist says] you will always have unnecessary cancellations…

Aren’t all cancellations unnecessary?

‪The less cancellations the better.

What this really means to your practice…

I was then asked this:

“My concern is there are so many offices available. Patients’ mindset will be… ‘well, if I am going to be “punished” I will go somewhere else…’ for a small practice with a small number of patients … what do you do: do you risk upsetting the patients with a cancellation fees or do you schedule them another appointment?

I replied:

 “If you feel that the dentistry you are offering is a commodity then you will always be worried that your patients will “just simply go elsewhere”. if you are truly offering world class service to your patients there is NO WAY THEY WILL EVER THINK OF GOING ELSEWHERE…. you need to build that relationship and live up to it..

When you truly decide to do this, I mean REALLY DO IT, then things change.

If you want to offend your patients and never ever see them again, then go ahead and FINE THEM for late cancellations and no shows… remember, people who respect you and value you will never cancel or no-show… Cancellations and no-shows are a direct reflection on the poor relationships that a practice has set up.

When you build a practice based on providing great service you can charge more and patients will still beat a path to your door… I did this in a low socio-economic area… it does work.

*****

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

 

Is Your Dental Receptionist Undoing Your Treatment Diagnosis?

Is Your Dental Receptionist Undoing Your Treatment Diagnosis?

One of the things I hear quite often on the dental office phones is something like this:

Patient: “I need to cancel my crown appointment”

Dental Receptionist: “Oh…. That’s Ok.”

Patient: “I can’t afford to do the crown, so I’ll just have the tooth out”

Dental Receptionist: “Ok. When would you like to do that, then?”

Let’s take a look at this:

More often than not, this conversation occurs on the dental office phone with no reference by the dental receptionist to the clinical notes written by the dentist…. and as to why the patient is in need of having this crown.

When we let the patient cancel their crown appointment and have the tooth extracted, the dental receptionist is allowing the patient to self-diagnose that they will be quite OK and be able to function and chew with one less tooth.

And the dental receptionist is [subliminally] saying that the patient will be fine and there will be no untoward consequences of the patient losing the tooth.

Which we know is wrong.

And we know that the dentist has spent time with the patient at a previous appointment explaining all of the reasons why the patient needs to keep the tooth and how debilitating it will be for the patient to not have that tooth any more…

Losing a tooth should always be conveyed as a treatment of the very last resort, and not a solution that the patient would ever consider to be equal to the processes required of saving a tooth.

Often we hear this sort of assumptive diagnosis in the conversation:

We hear the dental receptionist putting, or trying to put, words into the caller’s mouth:

Dental Receptionist: “Are you experiencing any pain?”

Patient: “Yes I am”

This conversation would best be replaced by:

Dental Receptionist: “Can you tell me what you are experiencing here?”

Patient: “I’m feeling X, Y, and Z….”

Letting the caller explain what they are experiencing offers far more information than having the caller reply “Yes” or “No” to a series of prompting questions which are the agenda of the receptionist rather than the subjective experiences of the caller, and may not even be relevant.

When we ask more specifically open and probing questions on the phone we can glean a lot more information from the caller that will save the dentist a lot of unnecessary clinical toing-and-froing.

Getting back to the cancelled crown appointment…

Often appointments for significant restorative treatments are cancelled by the patient because the patient has not been educated about the VALUE and the importance of the proposed treatment, and the dental receptionist is uneducated in the importance of their own role in keeping the patient “on track” with their diagnosed treatment.

After all, the decision by the patient to have diagnosed dental treatment completed is not the same as them choosing whether or not to get a new hairdo….  The dental treatment is essential treatment that needs to be completed to improve the health of the patient.

Sadly, some front office team members are never trained regarding the vital importance of their role here.

And even worse, sometimes some front office people believe it is not their role to keep the patient on track with completing their diagnosed dental treatment….

*****

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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