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Dental Practice Efficiency

The Quick Short Buck Or The Long Slow Buck? You Choose….

By | Business Coach, Customer Service, Dental Coach, Dental Consultant, Dental Practice, Dental Practice Efficiency, Staff Training, UPE Blog, World Class Service | No Comments

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Dentistry is a really weird business.

Yes really.

Because, as a business owner, you can have two types of businesses in dentistry.

And with that, there are usually two types of customers.

So you get to choose.

You get to choose which type of business you want to be operating.

You get to choose which sandpit you want to be playing in.

Here’s my take on it.

There’s the quick buck and there’s the slow buck.

The quick buck is here today and gone tomorrow.

The slow buck is here today….and it is here next year, and the year after, and the year after, and the year after.

Which sort of businesses of these two models do you think would be more sustainable?

In 1987 when I bought my dental practice I decided I wanted a long term sustainable business.

I wanted a business with regular clients who returned year in and year out and were loyal to me and my dental practice no matter what…

And were happy to have all treatment that they needed, as it was diagnosed, because of their undying trust and belief in me….

And that’s the business I built.

In the next twenty-eight years I took that dental office from a turnover of $140K pa in 1987 to a turnover of $3.6M in 2011.

Yes.

That office grew from a team of me plus one to a team of me plus several, including two other full time dentists, three other part time dentists, three hygienists and seven full time auxiliary staff and two other part time staff.

The business grew from one operatory to seven operatories over two locations.

shutterstock_118521922The model was simple.

Look for the long tail.

Don’t look for the quick buck.

Look for the long-term patient.

Build a relationship.

Build trust and you will build a business.

A trusting customer returns and spends again. And again. And again.

If you only look for the quick buck then you are always going to be looking for a replacement customer for the one you have just served.

“What sort of treatments did you focus on David?”

I was always looking for the long term motivated customer.

I was always looking for the patient who wanted to do what it takes to keep their teeth, NO MATTER WHAT, and were willing to commit to that chosen path.

This meant regular hygiene visits for them.

We always encouraged our patients RELIGIOUSLY to schedule and see our dental hygienists without fail through hell and high water no matter what.

This showed our patients that we were interested in their long term with regards to their mouth. We wanted our patients to know that a solid foundation was necessary for long term dental health, and that that foundation begins with the dental hygienist.

In fact, as a dentist, I WAS NOT interested in seeing people who would NOT commit to the hygienist.

What was the point of that I thought?

Why would they try to even pretend they were committed to dental health if they were not committed to a regimen of regular and necessary dental hygienist visits?

“What sort of visits did you NOT focus on David?”

Any visits or patients that “smelled” like a one-time-only type of treatment were not what I was seeking for my practice.

There was no way I ever wanted my dental office to be seen as a “convenience” or worse still, a “commodity” within my community.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I was always happy to provide EXCELLENT service to single visit patients.

But I never was in the business of encouraging “Price Competition” for business.

IT IS WHAT IT IS….”

When I visited the USA last June this phrase was the cliché of the month…..it was everywhere.

And really, it is appropriate in this situation.

My fees for all procedures were set way in advance of daily catastrophes and fluctuations.

I never discounted my fees. I know some dentists who openly discount their fees to patients without ever being ASKED for a discount.

And I know other dentists who wilt like a dehydrated lily and concede a discount to every patient that even questions their fee.

In both these cases discounting cheapens the service. It says to the patient, and to your team, three things:

  • Firstly, it tells the patients and your team that you believe your own fees are too high.
  • Secondly, it tells the patient and your team that if you could get away with it, you would charge this higher fee.
  • And thirdly, it tells the patients and your team that you yourself do not see value in your own fees.

All discounting does is cheapen you, and the profession.

I was never a big fan of chasing the latest fads….

Whitening? That’s a fad.

Orthodontic aligners? That’s a fad.

The problem with attracting whitening patients and Orthodontic aligners patients is that they are very much wanting a one-stop process.

The patients don’t stick.

They are in and they are out.

And off to the next quick fix…..

It’s sad but true.

Very true.

Take a look at your books and ask yourself this question?

Did all, or any of those whitening and Orthodontic aligners patients bother to stay around for hygiene or for long term restorative, AFTER you finished their initial treatment offer?

Offering whitening and Orthodontic aligners to your existing patients is certainly an option. But in hindsight, using these services to attract new patients only served as “fire sale” material when we looked at total collections in my dental office.

When you offer these two products as a means of attracting new business in your dental office, you soon end up in a price war with your fellow dentists in an effort to create a competitive edge….and being the biggest discounter, or the cheapest dentist, is not a very good business strategy.

There’s Always A Customer Who Is Looking For Great Service

Provided you can deliver consistent great service there is always going to be a client or customer who is happy to pay your prices and does not care at all about what your competition is doing or charging, because to them [your customer] you represent excellence.

And these types of customers make up between 20-25% of the population.

Whether we are talking lawn mowing, pool cleaning, hairdressing or restaurants, there will always be 20-25% of the population who are loyal to their service provider and do not care what the opposition is charging.

The problem is, some businesses are not confident or happy to be playing in a pool where only 20% of the population is. Those businesses feel more comfortable fighting it out for a thin slice, or a scrap, of the larger competitive price conscious market.

Because those businesses are worried about volume.

And they confuse activity with achievement and accomplishment.

There is no point being busy doing unprofitable things.

That’s a tough life to lead.

*****

My next public speaking presentation showing Dentists how to grow their Dental practices will be in Dallas Texas on Friday November 3 2017 with Jayne Bandy.

For more information and to secure your seat click this link here.

I will also be presenting at a Symposium on growing your Dental Practice in 2018 in Sydney Australia on Saturday December 2 2017 with leading experts Kinnar Shah, Angus Pryor, Jayne Bandy and Toni Surace .

For more information and to secure your seat click this link here.

*****

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 [email protected]

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!!

What a Complete Customer Service System Is Not. [Part 3]

By | Business Coach, Customer Service, Dental Coach, Dental Consultant, Dental Practice, Dental Practice Efficiency, Staff Training, UPE Blog, World Class Service | No Comments

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Today we tie together the making of a Complete Customer Service System.

Over the past two weeks I have outlined the initial processes needed to begin building a watertight and complete system for Customer Service within your Dental Office, including thoroughly mapping out the entire journey for each patient [What a Complete Customer Service System Is Not] https://wp.me/p8qVxK-22S , along with the four subcategories you need to divide every stage into [What a Complete Customer Service System Is Not. Part 2] https://wp.me/p8qVxK-22Z . I also mentioned two bonus sub-categories and I touched on the secret sauce about collecting Secret Service Information.

So here’s what you now need to do:

Your dental team members now need to each input what are 4-6 important, different things that should be considered for each subcategory for each of the stages that they individually are each responsible for.

Obviously, this process will take some time. Here is what we did in my Dental Office and this is what I have my clients do in their offices.

Each week, at our hourly team meeting, two team members would each present to the meeting one stage or step of the patient journey through the Dental Office.

The team would all listen as one team member would describe what they thought were the most important Operational Standards, Experiential Standards, Service Defects and Above and Beyond processes for that particular stage.

The rest of the team would then discuss the relevance of each item mentioned and sometimes debate would ensue as to whether items were allocated to the correct subcategory or whether they needed to be moved. For example, sometimes an item was listed as an Experiential Standard but following discussion it could end up being moved into the Above and Beyond category.

Sometimes additional items would be suggested by the team.

Other times team members would congratulate the presenter about something innovative and unique on their lists.

Following the submission and discussion the team would then finalise and agree on the points discussed.

The end result of each meeting is that the team has now written and added two more complete stages about the way that THEY conduct their Customer Service for the patients and customers of your Dental Office.

Rather than simply giving your team a Customer Service Manual designed by someone, and adopting that, your team now “creates its own” and through that process of self-creation they now “buy-in” and own the Customer Service protocol, and Culture, that they are creating.

The beauty of this whole process is that it is also a F.U.N. fun way for the team to unite together.

It is a very character building bonding session, as your employees unite for a common purpose.

Because there are so many stages that your customer goes through in their journey through your Dental Office, I recommend reviewing only two stages each week to reduce team member fatigue. Doing it this way allows you to allocate, for example, that one week a Dental Assistant and a Dental Hygienist each present one stage, and then the following week a dentist and a front office person then present a stage each.

At each presentation, only one team member presents their stage, despite the fact that you may have, for example, more than one hygienist, or more than one front office person performing that stage. By doing it this way, sometimes the review process discovers that some team members may have developed some valuable protocols that even their co-workers were unaware of.

In my own office, as well as in my clients’ offices, these open discussions provide for some of the most valuable discoveries of what is working and what could work better in those offices.

If you’d like help in creating your own version of your Dental Office’s unique Customer Service Protocols then email me [email protected] . I’m happy to help you get this up and running in your office, and sometimes a little bit of outside assistance is needed as opposed to maybe one day trying to work it out yourself but never quite getting around to it, or maybe never quite getting it set up right.

I also have a Complete in-depth How To system for you to use to create your own Ultimate Patient Experience in your own Dental Office https://theultimatepatientexperience.com/the-upe-system/ .

*****

My next public speaking presentation showing Dentists how to grow their Dental practices will be in Dallas Texas on Friday November 3 2017 with Jayne Bandy.

For more information and to secure your seat click this link here.

I will also be presenting at a Symposium on growing your Dental Practice in 2018 in Sydney Australia on Saturday December 2 2017 with leading experts Kinnar Shah, Angus Pryor, Jayne Bandy and Toni Surace .

For more information and to secure your seat click this link here.

*****

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 [email protected]

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!!

Have You Got One Arm Tied Behind Your Own Back?

By | Business Coach, Customer Service, Dental Coach, Dental Consultant, Dental Practice, Dental Practice Efficiency, Staff Training, UPE Blog, World Class Service | No Comments

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One of my dental coaching clients has recently, in the last twelve months, morphed her office from being a high-volume Medicaid patient office to now being Medicaid free.

Actually, I think she completed this task in eight months.

How would you feel having to transform your business in such a short time?

And what do you think would be the results of such a transformation?

shutterstock_388236685A couple of years ago I told you about a dentist friend of mine in USA who sacked more than half of his dental patients and concentrated only on seeing the patients that he liked to see for the dentistry that he liked to do….

How do you think that transformation went?

The answers to both these questions are very very similar

In both cases, the dentists have ended up seeing fewer patients but have ended up with dramatic increases in collections revenue.

How could that be?

The answer is very simple.

Both of these dentists have come to the realisation that the answer is there in the WHAT that you do rather than being there in the HOW MANY that you do.

In the case of the first dentist measured, she has just now closed off the books for a calendar month which has been a practice record in terms of collections.

And this despite the fact that she is now seeing fewer patients.

You see, she is seeing more of the right sort of patients and far fewer of the wrong sorts of patients.

This was the same for my USA dentist friend who reorganized the type of work that he was doing and concentrated on the type rather than on the volume of work.

In his case, collections rose over three hundred percent!!

This is not just a phenomenon exclusive to dentistry.

Recently I heard of a [non-dental] consultant working with a client whose average spend was $300.00 to acquire a new customer.

The consultant wanted the client to target a specific type of new customer, but the average spend forecast for this new campaign was going to be $900.00 per new customer.

Needless to say, the client had a conniption, bit the consultant was able to persuade the client to “dip his toe” and run the campaign.

The result?

New clients as a result of the new campaign, had an average initial spend of $8500.00.

Old clients from the old campaign had an historic initial spend of $3000.00

And the lifetime of all customers for this business was traditionally a four-year period, so there was considerable upside to the new campaign.

What happened next?

Apparently the client persisted with the new campaign, but somehow couldn’t bring himself to come to grips with the fact that he was spending now three times more than he previously had to acquire a customer, despite that customer being considerably more valuable for very little overhead increase.

And so the client morphed back to his old self….

Ask yourself this:

Is there an imaginary line in the sand, an invisible glass ceiling that you are imposing on yourself that is weighing you down and preventing you from leaping forwards and transforming your business into something dramatically better than you had ever imagined?

My dental coaching client said this to me:

She said:

“You know, I probably could have one day worked it out for myself, but without you there holding my hand, it may have been a long time, and maybe never before I’d ever have gotten around to doing anything about it, if at all…”

We all need a helping hand.

Imagine how many poor decisions you’ve made to not do something, and how different things might have been had you done them?

Who’s got your back?

*****

My next public speaking presentation showing Dentists how to grow their Dental practices will be in Dallas Texas on Friday November 3 2017 with Jayne Bandy.

For more information and to secure your seat click this link here.

I will also be presenting at a Symposium on growing your Dental Practice in 2018 in Sydney Australia on Saturday December 2 2017 with leading experts Kinnar Shah, Angus Pryor, Jayne Bandy and Toni Surace .

For more information and to secure your seat click this link here.

*****

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 [email protected]

 

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!!

What a Complete Customer Service System Is Not. [Part 2]

By | Business Coach, Customer Service, Dental Coach, Dental Consultant, Dental Practice, Dental Practice Efficiency, Staff Training, UPE Blog, World Class Service | No Comments

05267 the ultimate experience logo

In my blog post last week What a Complete Customer Service System Is Not https://wp.me/p8qVxK-22S I outlined the initial processes needed to begin building a watertight and complete system for Customer Service within your Dental Office.

In that article, I explained the need for thoroughly mapping out the entire journey of each and every customer and patient of your dental practice.

Once you have that complete process mapped out, then and only then do you need to dissect and review each and every one of those steps or stages.

What needs to happen is that you and your team need to selectively break down the goings on for each and every one of those stages.

Here are the four subcategories you need to divide every stage into:

1. Operational Standards

2. Service Defects

3. Experiential Standards

4. Above and Beyond Opportunities

Operational Standards

Tasks that fall into the category of Operational Standards are defined as those tasks or procedures that would be performed in every Dental Office, no matter where that office is located.

Service Defects

Service Defects are defined as any obstacles and challenges that can occur at any stage during the customer visit that can ruin the customer’s experience.

Put simply, service defects are a list of those things that could go wrong at any time in each stage of the visit.

Experiential Standards

Experiential Standards are defined as a standard that your office sets for a task or step that is a regular item for your office to perform, but is not something that the average Dental Office out there would consider performing.

Above and Beyond Opportunities

Above and Beyond Opportunities are defined as random acts of heroism that your office do that are providing legendary service to each one of your customers.

Along with these four major sub-categories for each and every stage, your team members and you should also be putting together an additional list of the following additional sub-categories:

5. Service Recovery

6. Offer the OfferTM

Service Recovery

Our Dental Office’s service recovery systems and the way we seamlessly swing them into action are what defines us as a business that cares unconditionally about our customers.

While these customers may complain about the service defect that just happened, they will be in awe at the way our business handles that defect through its service recovery processes….

Offer The OfferTM

Offer the OfferTM is our opportunity to make an offer that is rarely taken, where the offer of the offer is just as good or if not better than the doing of the offer.

Finally, throughout the patient visit, and even throughout their offsite communication with our dental office, all team members interacting with the patient need to be alert to the need and necessity of collecting what we call Secret Service Information about each and every one of our patients.

What is Secret Service Information?

Secret Service is defined as “the implementation of hidden systems that enable our staff consistently to exceed the client’s expectations and to make the client feel welcome, comfortable, important, and understood.”

Secret Service Information is therefore relevant and important matters relating to that patient that they the patient mention casually [that are unrelated to their dental needs] that when raised at a later visit or at a later point in their current visit, has the patient saying to themselves, “WOW!!”

In next week’s blog article I’ll explain exactly how you and your team will be able to tie all this information together into a manageable system.

[…to be continued]

*****

My next public speaking presentation showing Dentists how to grow their Dental practices will be in Dallas Texas on Friday November 3 2017 with Jayne Bandy.

For more information and to secure your seat click this link here.

I will also be presenting at a Symposium on growing your Dental Practice in 2018 in Sydney Australia on Saturday December 2 2017 with leading experts Kinnar Shah, Angus Pryor, Jayne Bandy and Toni Surace .

For more information and to secure your seat click this link here.

*****

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 [email protected]

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!!

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