When I first met the best Dental Coach I ever had he said to me:
“We can go into a Dental office and find one employee there costing that practice over $200,000.00 per year…”
And those words sent shivers down my spine.
Because I knew then at that moment that he was talking about my very own practice.
And he hadn’t even been there, yet.
To my Dental Office.
But I knew he had to….
I knew I needed his help.
You see Dentists are a self-righteous bunch, really.
It takes brains and lots of study to acquire a Dental Degree.
We know that.
And in knowing that, we as dentists start to think that we know it all.
And we may know a lot, but it’s the little things we do not know that are costing us big time.
They cost us time.
They cost us patients.
They cost us money.
All of which are limited valuable resources.
What was it that was costing me those hundreds of thousands of dollars, each year, back in the 1990s?
That’s a very good question.
I hear you say:
“After all David, you’re a smart guy. You’ve done well. How could you have missed this?”
And I thought I knew it all.
I thought things were going along well for me.
But in the back of my mind, back then, I had a feeling, a gut feeling, that something just wasn’t right in my office.
Here’s what I had….
Patients were loving me.
In the treatment room, we could do no wrong.
Patients were leaving the treatment room with overwhelming expressions of gratitude towards me and my clinical team members for the care and the work that we were doing for them.
We had a wonderful new facility.
Fully renovated rooms.
It couldn’t have been better…
But indeed, it could have.
And it needed to be.
In the back of my mind, I knew there was a problem.
You see, despite the fact that I was receiving platitudes in the treatment room, there just seemed to be a never-ending number of vacancies in my appointment schedule.
And there seemed to be no diminution in the number of those blank appointments.
Why were we not getting busier?
If patients were loving us, why were they not returning?
If we were doing such a great job in the treatment room, why were we not seeing that reflected in more and more bookings?
As good a dentist as I was, and as good a clinician as I was, the problem was still there, and it wasn’t going away…..
But we had to find the problem….
My coach had said to me:
“When we find that staff member who is costing you big time, we’ll need to change her, or we’ll need to change her….”
And that’s what happened.
My coach identified with me that the behaviours of the person working on my reception desk were not in sync with the philosophies and goals of the dental practice.
And so we set about changing her behaviours.
“What were those behaviours?”
You may be wondering what were her behaviours?
To put the answer simply, this woman operated her station with a very abrasive manner that did not endear her to those that she dealt with in her role as “the face of the practice”.
And patients were reacting to her nature by not making appointments, or by making appointments and then cancelling them later.
It appeared that as much as she behaved pleasantly when other team members were around, sadly, when she was on her own up front her persona became “difficult” in manner.
I’ve described the effects of her manner as if she were stroking a cat backwards while holding it up by the tail.
So here’s what we did.
We tried firstly to encourage a more pleasant demeanour from her, when dealing with patients.
We asked her to follow better ways of saying things to patients that would endear her to those patients when she was scheduling their appointments and processing their payments following their visits.
We asked her to show more interest in the patients when dealing with them, when they called, when they arrived, while they were preparing for their treatment, and following their treatment.
And you’ll be pleased to know, we had a very happy ending to this story….
You may ask:
“So what happened in the end, David? How did it all end up?”
We identified that we needed to change the way this employee spoke with and dealt with patients.
Sadly, we were not able to change the way she behaved.
So we changed her.
We were able to broaden her employment opportunities, and the new lady we then hired to be our new front office manager filled the roles that we required of her in so much of a better way that things at my Dental Office improved dramatically in such a short space of time that well, the rest is history…
Things got better.
I hear so many stories about Dentists who hang on to the wrong staff member for way longer than they should.
To the detriment of their Dental Practice.
It costs them hundreds of thousands of dollars, year after year after year, because they fail to see, or they fail to act on the disruptive behaviours that this team member is displaying.
And that money lost, by failing to act quickly, is never recovered.
In one case, I knew of a Dentist whose wife along with his marketing guru had encouraged him for what seemed like more than five years to divest the Dental practice of a very “limiting” employee!
Five years is a lot of water under the bridge.
The point of the process is that we need to identify the problem, excise the offending problem, and move on.
An independent second set of eyes is a great asset in this situation.
Having a coach that helped me to correct this deteriorating long-term problem was a blessing for me.
In the past twelve months I have worked with two specialist dental offices that have excised employees who they thought were appropriate but were wrong for their businesses.
And the resultant improvements have been dramatic.
Do you have any questions about the people on your bus?
Is everyone on your team pulling in the same direction?
Because if they are not, it’s costing you.
My upcoming in depth two day workshops will be held in London in August.
You can reserve your places here: Click Link To Order
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 email@example.com
Did you like this blog article? If you did then hit the share buttons below and share it with your friends and colleagues. Share it via email, Facebook and twitter!!