Sweat the small stuff
I am sick and tired of people saying don’t sweat the small stuff. The small stuff matters. Those little, significant details are why I trust my medical doctor. Those tiny details are what transforms our dinner table during the holidays. Famous brands like Neiman Marcus, The Ritz, and fine dining establishments attract affluent customers with discerning taste, because of their attention to detail and remarkable customer service.
Think about it. Most of our problems occur because someone wasn’t paying attention to the details or they failed to communicate those details with others. Failure to acknowledge and communicate details can have an enormous impact on someone’s expectations or the task at hand. In business, exceeding expectations is the magic sauce for creating great first impressions and an illustrious career. It doesn’t matter if you’re a dental office, a salesperson, consultant or doctor. Details bring color to the black and white and transform good outcomes to great outcomes! It’s no secret that tiny details like remembering to say thank you, acknowledging someone’s effort, responding to a client in a timely fashion, cleaning up after yourself or remembering someone’s birthday, matters.
When I receive correspondence with misspelled words and bad grammar I try to ignore it. However, when I receive a text, email or voice message that lacks clarity or requires another touch, I consider it an unnecessary delay. It creates more work and distracts me from other work. Don’t misunderstand me. I am guilty for sending out some dysfunctional texts while traveling or multi-tasking but when I submit business correspondence I am deliberate and proof my work for clarity, accuracy, and grammar. Business people want to work with others, like them. Knowing ones’ attention to detail qualifies them for collaboration and partnership, or not.
The details matter. Your curb appeal and the décor of your waiting room and reception area matter. The cleanliness and friendliness of your office matters. The way your office phone is answered matters. The efficiency of your practice matters. We operate a business with limitations. You can only serve as many people as your practice can handle in the hours you are opened for business. Attention to detail can make all the difference!
Here are a few ideas (DETAILS) for your dental office
- Complimenting patients for being on time goes a long way towards relationship building and it rewards good behavior.
- When the patient is exiting the office after a positive cosmetic or restorative procedures, ask them for a referral.
- Institute a Thank You (reward) program for patients who refer others. Active referrers become repeat offenders.
- Call the patient in the evening after they’ve had a painful procedure. Showing you care establishes trust and builds relationships.
- Customized new patient and medical history forms are important and will provide usable, valuable patient information. It will help in diagnosis, treatment planning and will promote elective dentistry. I.e.: Have you ever considered clear aligners (Braces) to straighten your teeth? Would you like a whiter smile?
- Customize your patient instructions for post-op patient bags. The content in these bags and the instructions should be procedure specific (gauze, sticky wax, cold pack, neutral sodium rinse, chlorhexidine, lip gloss, desensitizer and marketing material). A one fits all bag does not show much attention to detail especially for a specialist. Invite the patient to visit your website, like your Facebook page and to write a review.
- Suggest a whitening treatment before a patient does any anterior work (veneers or crown). Offer a significant discount off the fee if bundled with the crown. You may even want to extend the offer to significant others and family.
- Make it office policy that every hygiene patient gets perio charted at least once a year. A strong hygiene program will populate a growing perio department. The Dr. and team must believe in the oral/systemic link. If charting is only about making money, it will never become part of the office culture.
- Take a tooth shade on all new patients at their first appointment. Have the patient participate. Let them select the shade they think is most like their incisors? Be sure to have your shade guide set up darkest to lightest for dramatics? If ever there was a conversation starter.
- Your patient’s e-mails and cell phone numbers (calls and texting) have replaced snail mail and home phones. Be sure to ask every patient – what’s the best way to communicate with them. Use a communication program like Demand Force to remind patients, confirm appointments and reactivate patients?
- Utilize patient procedure consent or denial forms? Use them for denying x-rays, perio treatment and root canals? Eliminate the exposure and disruption caused by non-compliant patients.
Why do you think Henry Schein is the world’s best resource for dentists?
Henry Schein Dental has the largest selection and inventory of clinical materials and equipment in the dental business but that’s not why they have a 40% market share.
We ship 99% of your orders with next day delivery and virtually no back orders. But that isn’t what makes us the industry leader.
HSD offers various price points and more product options in every dental category, which supports different business models, but that’s not our magic sauce either.
Some clients believe their field sales consultant give Schein a competitive advantage. We have the highest sales consultant to doctor ratio (better coverage) and pair every rep with a tele-sales professional, but that is not why more practitioners trust Schein. *Over the next eighteen months, HSD will hire dozens of certified technology integrators and equipment service technicians. We are doing this to improve our coverage and capacity to maintain and integrate our client’s technology requirements.
None of this explains why Schein grew from a catalog company in 1995 to the world’s largest supplier of healthcare products and services to office-based practitioners today. The magic sauce is a combination of a few critical ingredients; leadership, people, reinvention, investment, commitment and a relentless focus on those tiny details; the small stuff.
It isn’t easy balancing those ingredients when you consider market forces, the economy and an ever-changing landscape. Change doesn’t happen easily or quickly but the journey towards improvement never ends. Contrary to what most people think, the key to success in a dynamic world is constant reinvention and a customer centric business model. Over the last few years, Schein has invested millions of dollars (not a minor detail) to develop programs and services for the emerging dental marketplace. This type of investment is why Schein is the most trusted resource for practitioners worldwide.
Attention to detail does not suggest perfection. This coupled with the focus on improvement is what sets the stage for a winning strategy. Customers don’t expect perfection but they expect your best effort and they want to know you care. This goes for Henry Schein and every other business! The small stuff matters!