8 Essential “Connections” for Your Practice
By Sally McKenzie, CEO
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With the explosion of social media in recent years, it seems that everyone is trying to connect with anyone. In fact, as marketing guru and best-selling author Seth Godin recently noted, we have entered what he terms the “connection economy.” In dentistry, you’ve had to “connect” with patients long before social media became all the rage. The question for dentists isn’t whether to connect, but rather how well you can maximize those day-to-day connections. Consider these eight essential connection opportunities in your own practice.
1. Connect to your Passions
If you do not love what you do, I guarantee that your team and your patients know. Passion is a huge motivator. It is the spark that creates the fire to set and accomplish goals. Seeing that you have genuine passion for what you do convinces patients to pursue treatment. It excites and encourages your team to achieve the goals that might not have been possible without it.
2. Connect to your Goals
Every practice has room to grow and improve, regardless of whether you’re among the fortunate who have hit their stride and are thoroughly enjoying success, or if you’re still struggling to create the practice you’ve always dreamed of. The key is to honestly consider what you really want from dentistry, and whether you would rather settle for what you have or if you’re ready to take your practice to an entirely new level of success. Goals encourage your team to grow.
3. Connect to Change
Don’t accept status quo. The words “We’ve always done it this way” should be used rarely and to refer to such things as “We’ve always taken steps to ensure the highest level of patient safety and satisfaction.” If those words are used as an excuse to avoid considering new and better ways of delivering expert care to patients and efficiently running the practice, you have erected a huge barrier to practice improvement.
4. Connect to your Team
Most dental practices are small operations. You work closely with one another and there is no room for backbiting, hidden agendas, and the like. It’s essential that the CEO of the practice set the tone. Praise openly, establish expectations clearly, and constructively redirect when necessary. Successful businesses are successful because employees understand the vision, are motivated by the passion, and know what is expected.
5. Connect to Win Patients - All of Them
Your practice is competing with any number of dental offices in your community. What sets yours apart? Why should new patients choose your practice over the one around the corner? Why should existing patients come back? Many are looking for a cohesive team and a welcoming environment where they feel appreciated. They want to connect with a staff that is genuinely friendly and helpful. Of course, excellent dentistry and superior service are the foundation upon each and every lasting patient connection.
6. Connect to the Challenging Patient
This is the unhappy one who gives you an earful of everything you never wanted to hear and would have preferred not to know. Open your mind to the reality that this “connection” is a huge opportunity. And this patient has provided a very valuable service. Even though the moment is painful, take time to reflect on what the patient tells you. If you embrace this most challenging connection and are willing to look at how the practice can be bettered because of it, you will make huge strides – especially with those who feel the same, but don’t have the courage or the interest in connecting with you at this level.
7. Connect to Lost Patients
Reach out to patients that have not been in your practice for an appointment in the past 12 months. You will find many patients who are more than willing to schedule an appointment. They do so because you’ve demonstrated that you value this patient relationship and want to reconnect with them.
8. Connect to Reality
If you aren’t willing to take the necessary steps internally to keep patients happily returning and are not interested in properly training staff to ensure an excellent patient experience, none of the other connections will make a difference. Consider each connection in your practice and how it can be improved. With some awareness and a little effort you’ll maximize your own “connection economy.”
For more information on this topic, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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