Six primary mistakes

Mary Fisher-Day says avoiding these six everyday mistakes will create positivity and increase success

1) Failure to say ‘thank you’

Two simple words when used together, mean so much, yet aren’t said nearly often enough. Research has shown that the feeling of being appreciated is one of the top motivators for employees.

I fully believe this is the same for patients. People tend lean toward those that make them feel appreciated. If you haven’t in the past; Say thank you and show your team and your patients that they are appreciated. This effort will pay off in a huge way as you see the mood of your practice become more positive. It will become the kind of place where people want to work and where people want to visit the dentist.

2) Assuming you are competent

Assuming your administrative team has sufficient training and are competent to take on tasks essential to the success of your dental practice. This assumption costs practice owners more money than any other ‘ordinary mistake’ made by owners and managers.

Proper training of your team can seem like an investment, but it’s one of the best investments you will ever make. Practices with well-trained teams have less turn over and, are more efficient and profitable. In addition, owners and managers with well-trained teams spend less time, when away from the practice, worrying about work related matters. This is an absolute fact.

3) ‘Do as I say, not as I do’

Projecting an leadership style, is one of the biggest mistakes a dental practice owner or manager can make. You must lead by example. If you want your team to care about your practice, you must show that you care. Come to work on time, stay late when needed, involve yourself in all team meetings, participate, discuss, and listen when your members of your team speak up. Whether or not you agree with what they say, knowing that you have heard them, goes a long way towards positive team morale.

Be a leader, not a boss. A leader works with his/her team to accomplish a goal. A boss tells the team to achieve the goal and, often without direction. A leader will always get more out of his/her team than a boss.

4) Minimising the importance of technology

Patients are very much aware of new technology available. It is written about in magazines and advertised and promoted on television. As our lives become more busy we have a higher appreciation of technology and it tends to help business move along more quickly and save time needed elsewhere. Busy people will seek out dental practices with same-day crown technology.

Digital radiography technology: Patients know about it and are aware of the difference in the amount of radiation emitted from digital radiographs vs ordinary radiography. People appreciate that digital radiographs can be emailed should they need to see a specialist.

Digital impression technology is another example of advancements in technology that patients are happy about. No more choking while sitting with nasty tasting goop in our mouths for what seems like an eternity.

The preceeding examples were just three of hundreds of advancements in technology to improve the patient experience. Dental practices should embrace technology and invest in it. I’m afraid those that do not, will be left behind.

5) Passive communication with patients

Dentists who zip in and out of the treatment room, without looking the patient in the eye, forgo relationships with patients. In addition, the same dentist does not receive referrals from patients and miss out on the opportunity to treat the friends, family and co-workers of these patients. Tip: Look your patient in the eye and sit at their level. Explain needed treatment and say ‘thank you, it was good to see you’ (or something along these lines). It will go a long way to building relationships with your patients and the business you desire.

6) Failure to enquire

Every patient should be asked these two questions: Are you happy with your smile and is there anything you wish were different about your teeth? By failing to do so, you’re failing to show patients that you care about what they want and you’re very likely missing out on potential treatment. You can very easily add these questions to your patient questionnaire.

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