Every patient who walks in through your door needs a reason to stay and not go to other practices. Reset your mind and think about your practice and the services you are offering. Are you any different? How are you better than the rest? What reason do you give a patient to walk back into your practice and not go anywhere else? There are hundreds of dental practices just in Lahore. “Are you the one? Or are you just one of them?”
If we restore our integrity, learn how to run dental office as a triumphant business, create a great team, give them the right systems, we can run an office which will produce results on its own .This will help us get finances in order, and that will aid quality of care. If we can change context of treatment from just “taking care of pain” to a “complete health model” and preventive dentistry, we will be able to provide the best for our patient and win as a practice.
“Wealth is created by creating value.”(Randy Gage)
Steve Jobs built his computers to make sure his consumers had what they wanted and not make his product and then figure out how to sell it. You must start with clear goals in mind, what standard of practice you want to establish, what kind of clientage you want to cater to, what kind of revenue turn over you want to have. Once our goals are clear in our mind about the type of dental practice, then we know exactly where the office we need to have, the type of staff we need to hire and the systems which need to be in place. A study on Harvard University graduates showed that there were 3 groups as far as setting goals were concerned. 84% of graduates did not set any goals for themselves. 13% had goals and made twice as much as the ones who did not have any goals. 3% of graduates had written down their goals made twice as much than the 13% who just had goals and did not write them.
We can’t expect a high revenue generating practice if we have a mediocre setup in a rundown area and hire low educated team who are not even professionals. . A soccer team can’t win just because they have a great striker, rest of the team works as a unit. One person can’t perform all the tasks efficiently, that is why a team with good support systems and quality of coaching is required to go to the finish line. In order to have a productive self-sustaining dental office we must invest in skills, team, systems, technology and setup.
There are 6 main ingredients that can help you be the talk of the town!
In dental schools we are graded quantitatively and not qualitatively. It’s important to do 250 amalgam fillings, irrespective of quality. We do unsupervised crown preparations and root canals, rather than doing it according to standard of care or assuring its long term prognosis. Basically, we never learn adequate restorative techniques. It is already embarrassing enough that we do this on human beings and not on phantom heads. Fortunately, we can always find ways to improve our clinical skills. But the first step is to acknowledge the fact that we don’t have the necessary skills to provide patients with proper standard of care. It is recommended for everyone to practice and take up hands courses in order to improve your skills. These improved skills will not only help you but also make the community healthy.
Patients don’t know what skills you have until they get their treatment done. They will judge you based on what they see in the first meeting. That includes the appearance of your office and the attitude of your staff. A good setup helps build your brand. Setup is the reflection of who you are and what type of personality you have.
A good friendly comfortable setup is very crucial to closing cases. The idea of getting dental treatment done is already very intimidating to a lot of people; we should do whatever is needed to make them feel more comfortable.
Your systems can be your best-selling tool. If they are updated and are in order, they will speak for the quality of your services. Good organized system should be diligently planned to run a practice efficiently and increase the quality of care you provide to your patients. It improves productivity and brings in more revenue.
As a dentist your only duty should be to do your clinical work and not worry about collections, sterilization, instrument supply, etc. These tasks should be relayed to team members and they should own their responsibilities. You should not hire a team and then assign roles; you should determine roles and then hire team members appropriate for the job.
Practice management software helps you drastically improve the quality of care. It saves you from the hassle of maintaining records (medical, financial, or treatment). It helps you efficiently manage your patient schedule, so that you can focus on providing them with the best dental work.
When a team works together, it improves overall performance, services and reduces stress. Most people see payroll or hiring more team members as an expense. They try to hire lesser number of people and give them minimum salary for maximum number of hours. This leads to development of feeling of being over worked and under paid. Consequently, the individual loses his positive attitude at work and fails to give his 100%. They are not appreciated and therefore remain ungrateful. These negative feelings build up and affect other team members and on a larger scale the practice suffers. They should be appreciated and acknowledged for their work. This will motivate them and keep them on the right track. It will also encourage everyone else to try to deliver more than what they are already doing.
“Hiring a great team and training them professionally is the best investment one can make after developing clinical skills and building your setup”
We can empower our patients by educating them properly which will help them make the right decisions for themselves and they will own the treatment needed. When you look into a patient’s mouth, don’t just focus on his problem area, we need to look beyond chief complaints and do comprehensive exams, our goal should be to make our patients disease free and maintain oral health. Focus on consequences! Nobody wants to lose their teeth unnecessarily. Tell your patient if he does not get his cavities filled he will end up getting root canals or an extraction. This cannot be done in a consultation that lasts just for 5 to 10 minutes. This calls for you to spend more time with your patients, show them the bigger picture and educate them on oral health’s effects on our body.
Seeing is believing. Show them what you are talking about. Support your diagnosis with the help of x-rays and intra oral photographs. Most patients never realize that the severity of their disease has increased, simply because they cannot see their problems. When patients see their teeth on a bigger screen it surprises them! It is a total game changer. It helps patients visualize and understand what they are getting into and it removes all possible doubts or concerns they might harbor.
You need to treat your patient like how you want to be treated yourself. When you visit brand outlets, their representatives greet you, seat you and help you choose your desired product in the right size, smile at you and thank you when you leave. You feel so important and you see value in the money you spent at this outlet even though it was expensive. It’s because you had a sense of being valuable as a customer. Given a choice you would shop at the same luxury store again!
Good customer service should be the heart and soul of your practice. You need to cater and adjust to the needs of the people who walk in through your door. A new patient will be judging your practice on how his first appointment goes. It is how politely he is talked to over the phone. How warmly is he welcomed and facilitated by the people in the front office. How concerned is the dentist? First impression is going to be the last impression.
Ideal Smile is product of 15 years of hard work on skill development and working with Practice management Companies. It helped me realize and materialize my true potential. I first thought of Ideal smile in Lahore in 2013. I made my purpose, mission statement, values and business plan early in 2014. I hired my team months before we started in August 2015. My success is a product of all factors working synergistically. We still put in a lot of effort on daily basis to ensure our work is always at 100 %. We do make mistakes but always own them and try to rectify them. Our continuously growing patient pool is central to this prosperity. They see value in what we do and how we do it. 78% of patients who walk in get their treatment done, which is actually better than the average in USA.
Not many people could believe all of this was possible in such a short time and against all odds. The success of Ideal Smile speaks volumes of what can be achieved when you clearly set out your goals. If we can do it so can you!
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”