You recently decided that you need to hire a new team member. It doesn’t matter if this person is front office, assistant, hygienist, or doctor – it is imperative that your newest team member practices dentistry with the same belief system you do. This means they have to walk the same walk and talk the same talk as the entire team. Otherwise, patients may end up losing trust in your office, which can directly affect patient retention.
As much as we would love to believe that it’s the doctor and the dentistry he or she does that keeps patients coming back, this is just not the case. It is the entire team, the trusting relationships, compassionate care and great customer service, which really makes the difference to the patient.
For instance, you might ask a hygienist or associate: If there is a new patient in your chair who has not been to the dentist for 5 years, what would you do? Allow them to answer, and then ask them to pretend you are the patient in the chair. Have them go through what they would say to the patient. If they are confident and have specific beliefs, this should come easily to them. If they probed the “patient” while going over the scenario with you, give them the periodontal health of the patient and see what they would recommend as future treatment. This will tell you right away if they have the same belief system regarding periodontal disease and how to treat it. You may want to go over more than one scenario, because we know periodontal disease and treatment are not black and white, there are many gray areas too.
This type of interactive interview can be performed no matter what position you are hiring. For a front desk position, you may want to pretend you are a patient with a complaint and see how the potential new hire handles it. If it is a recall position, have them pick up the phone and call you on another line, and actually go over what they would say to a patient to encourage them to keep their hygiene appointment. This approach will also give you an idea of how much training is going to be involved. Yes, many of us dislike role playing – but these are scenarios that will happen in your office, and how they are handled by any one employee will make a huge difference in patient retention.
Next, take time to train your staff. Have protocols in place, and be confident in your decisions. Once you have hired and trained your employees with the verbiages and protocols for your office, encourage them to pursue continuing education and learn new concepts to bring back to the office and share with the entire staff.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that patients don’t notice staff turnover in your practice. Patients like to see the same faces they know and love every time they walk in the door. If there are new team players every time they come in, that reflects back on the dentist.
If you have a successful growing practice, you want to keep it that way. There may be a time when you hire a person who is just not right for your practice, and in this instance you should cut your losses quick. The less patients that person comes in contact with, the better. This will reduce the number of patients who even know you let a new hire go.
Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us about our 1-Day Hygiene Training Program or call 877-777-6151
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