There are some interesting lessons to be had in life out there that we can apply back to how we run our Dental Office and how we communicate with our valued patients and customers.
If we fail to take time to observe and ponder on these lessons, we miss some really valuable learning opportunities.
Free lessons that we can learn from and therefore amend our behaviours for the better.
I’ve always said that running a Dental Office is all about our relationships with our patients.
It really has so little to do with our degree of skill and our dexterity and how narrow our margins are compared to the dentist next door.
When you go to a barbeque, when you’re out at a dinner party, you never see guests curling up their fingers and retracting their cheeks to compare the degree of marginal adaptation of “my crown” versus “your crown”.
No it’s never like that.
What the discussion is always centred around is how nice the people who work at that dental practice are and how nice these employees make those patients feel.
It’s about relationships.
The public believes that mostly dentists are well trained and will do a great job.
That’s their perception and rightly so.
If you pass your exams, and get your shingle, it’s assumed that you’re competent at dentistry.
Otherwise you would be a panel beater, and not a dentist.
So what happens to make patients not return to the dental office?
What is it that causes patients to stop going to the dentist?
Or to start going to another dentist?
Does a Dental Practice really simply let patients *slip through the cracks*?
We did it…at my office.
I can still recall the day when I was told about the reactivation call to Ken and Molly Smith, who we had not seen for a while.
Molly told us:
“Oh, we started going somewhere else. We hadn’t heard from Dr Moffet and we thought he didn’t care about us any more.”
That one hurt.
As the Eagles sang:
“Did she get tired or did she just get lazy?”
Did we get lazy?
Is that what Ken and Molly thought?
Did they think we didn’t care any more?
And maybe that’s the message we sent subliminally, as we chased the new patient “shiny object”, and neglected our valued existing patients?
Did we not try hard enough to convince Ken and Molly to have their necessary treatment as it was needed?
Did we let them “think about their options” where doing nothing was OK, because we told them it was?
Is that how we lost their trust in us?
Were we bored with our existing patients?
So much so that the Smiths thought we had forgotten about them?
The Smiths were justified in thinking we should have tried harder…
Were we too presumptive to think that the Smiths were simply waiting to be reactivated by us?
Do we just presume sometimes that we can take back up where we left off?
Years ago I met a chap at a Chamber of Commerce Networking Event, who was the older brother of a very dear primary school friend of mine.
I asked the chap to send my regards to his brother, and asked whether maybe his brother, my old friend, and I could meet up again to remember old times?
The reply came back later that yes, he had told his brother.
But no further action.
Another time, I tried to connect on Facebook a few years ago with a very good high-school friend. My friend was listed as only having one friend on Facebook.
When I approached that other person to open up the lines of reconnection, she came back at me with a message that John did not want to reconnect and that he “wished me luck in finding all my friends”.
What would you do?
Do you think John and I just grew apart, and that I was living in Fantasyland thinking we could reconnect?
Ouch number two, I guess.
Finally, last month, on Facebook, I received a Friend Request from a woman living in Northern Queensland Australia.
We had no mutual friends on Facebook.
Although I did not recognise her name, her face looked vaguely familiar.
A close look at her photos had me convinced it was an ex-girlfriend of mine from thirty-two years ago.
I was surprised and flattered by the Friend Request, but I thought that not much good could come from reconnecting here.
After all, if she’d have tried harder thirty-two years ago, maybe things would have been different.
In all these cases, disconnection has caused a breakdown in the relationship.
One side thought that there was no reason NOT to reconnect.
But the other side had moved on….
So the lessons are simple.
If you want to maintain your friendship, your relationship, you need to keep in touch.
Because time moves on for some.
And when it does move on, it creates a chasm some times.
To prevent the disconnect, you need to stay in contact.
In your personal life as well as in your professional life.
Are you going out of your way to keep in touch with your friends?
Are you going out of your way to keep in touch with your valued customers?
Cards, hand-written notes, small gifts.
It doesn’t really take much more.
All these little things will say:
“I’m thinking of you”
And that’s priceless……
Stop GUESSING. Ask me and I can help you here. Email me david@theUPE.com
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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