Every couple of weeks someone prepares a payroll for your office. Every month someone pays the bills, and as owner you get to take what’s left. This commonplace occurrence tends to mislead doctors and team members into thinking they were hired to do a particular job and that if they do it with excellence, they will be richly rewarded. Here in lies the problem. What you physically do every day is not your real job, and it certainly is not what pays your salary. Let me explain.
Too often I find that team members and doctors don’t fully understand what their real job is. If you work at the front desk, you might think your job is scheduling, answering the phone, and taking the money. This is what you do, but this is not your job. Your job is to be compassionate, caring, confident, and competent, while reading each patient’s body language and what they say in such a way as to “inspire” each patient so that they cannot help but tell everyone they know about your office. Inspiring the patient is what you get paid for. Everything else is just what you do. How do you know if your front desk people understandtheir job? Look at the results. If they just try to fill the schedule so that there areno blank spaces, they do not understand what they are paid to do. If you have an appointment from 3:00 to 4:30 and it gets extended it to 5:00 so that the page looks full, someone is clueless. If they lengthen appointments just in front of lunch because you never finish on time and they never get lunch, they do not understand. Their job is to inspire patients so that they can engineer your appointment book with people who know this is the only place in town that makes them feel good.
Consider the Hygienist. She cleans teeth, educates the patient, and takes xrays and medical information in order to present the finest dentistry that you can perform. She thinks her job is producing 3X what she is paid and doing a great job diagnosing and treating periodontal disease: Kind of your in-office “gum doctor”. The trouble is nothing happens in your office until the patient says yes. The patient will never say yes until you are able to inspire them. Patients vote with their feet. If you are constantly seeing the back of their heads as they leave for a second opinion, you can be sure you are not inspiring them. Your hygienist should inspire your patients by listening to what they want and what their budget is and then tell them what they need. They should always understand that whatever they find is worse than what the patient expected.
Assistants think their job is seating the patient, setting up the room, assisting the doctor and breaking down the room and dismissing the patient. This is what they do; it is not what they are paid for. Their real job is reading body language, while being compassionate and caring. This is what inspires a patient to show up on time, follow through with treatment and refer everyone they know. This is what inspires patients to want to be part of your practice. Don’t confuse what you do with what your job is. All those things, like sucking spit, handling instruments and cleaning up are just what you do while you are doing your real job: Inspiring the patient.
Jeff Foxworthy’s entire comedy career is based on a one liner that completes the statement: “You may be a redneck if…………” In much the same way, you may not be “Inspiring your patients if…………”
- Your marketing doesn’t work. People call but they never schedule. (Front desk did not inspire them by coming across as caring and compassionate).
- Your Cancellations and No-Shows are increasing.
- Patients always want a second opinion.
- Patients need to check with their spouses before making a decision.
- Your employees go somewhere else to have their dentistry done. Don’t laugh, it happens all the time.
- Your production is spiraling down. You are only busy about 50-60% of the time.
- When asked if they want to make an appointment, patients just say they will call back. They never do.
- If you are never on time, and constantly run over or late.
- There is always more month left than money.
- You have trouble paying your bills and staff.
- You go to family reunions to get a date. (That was Jeff’s but probably works here, too.)
Hope you get the idea. There was a movie a couple of years ago called “He’s Just Not That Into You” Long story about failed relationships and how people make excuses to avoid one another. It is the same thing here. If you are not inspiring the people you work with or the people you work on, you can be sure that “Your Patients Are Just Not That Into You”. The only way to reverse this is to start inspiring them. Each one of them is different, and everyone is special. Take a hard look at what you’re doing and start doing something else. Inspire your staff, your patients, and yourself and there is no limit to where your practice will take you.