A successful relationship of any kind must have one common denominator. That common denominator is known as Communication. Communication opens any and all doorways to Success. If fostered properly in your dental practice; it will be the key to a Successful Practice. After all, the clinical skills provided in the practice are only one factor in the overall equation. The ability to communicate is by far the largest factor in the equation. The level of communication on a daily basis will have a strong impact on the overall performance of your Dental Practice. For example: How you communicate with your staff ultimately has an effect on communication skills demonstrated to your patients. If the Team relationships are not being fostered; it will typically flow outward affecting your patients. Let’s discuss a few ways to enhance our communication skills within the office. The outcome will absolutely break down walls and open doorways to allow Success to overflow in your dental practice.
A Morning Huddle is an absolute efficient and very effective way to bridge great communication between doctor and staff. This will also be imperative between each staff member. Let’s discuss the importance of a daily meeting with your staff. The Morning Huddle is typically a short 12 to 15 minute gathering usually attended by all staff members and Doctors. Ideally, the pertinent information is gathered the day before. The Doctor and staff should arrive on time and be ready to engage in productive conversation. A desired time prior to the start of the first patient should be elected and remain as consistent as possible. For example…If your first patient is scheduled at 9am, the meeting should be ready to begin by 8:45.
Prior to the beginning of the meeting a leader should be selected. It is NOT recommended that the doctor lead the Morning Huddle. A great suggestion might be that you rotate leaders of the huddle (daily or weekly) to give them an opportunity to refine and enhance their skills. This will also allow you to see other’s perspectives on pertinent information. All Team Members including; Front desk personnel, dental assistants and hygienists should be encouraged to take a turn in this capacity. A Daily Schedule should be available to each staff member providing useful information about the patient. As a team you should agree on topics to discuss prior to the Huddle to encourage efficiency and engage in conversation. A few examples of these topics might include:
Last week we discussed the information gathered to make a Great First Impression on new patients and just another great impression on returning patients. This is the time to pass along that personal information about each patient to build strong relationships quickly.
Emergency Patients: They should be seen on the day that they call. At the huddle, look for any opening in the schedule to accommodate these patients. It is imperative that the Front Desk be made aware of the Emergencies and the desired scheduling times. This will enable their call to the patient to be as effective as possible allowing the demonstration of value within the practice. This approach also confidence in the staff as they are given the ability to evaluate “True Emergencies.” An example might be a toothache. The Front Desk offers the first available time; patient has other obligation. The second available time is offered; again another obligation. By this time, the evaluation of “Toothache vs True Emergencies” becomes quite evident. Again, by setting aside specific times in the schedule for “True Emergency” you are communicating before the start of your day. This allows Scheduling to be effective and efficient. The Communication among all team members and patients is invaluable.
Discuss each patient: Identify the “New Patients,” Any Patient Referrals, Children, Any Patients with Special Circumstances. If the Patient is a “New Patient” write down the name of the referring patient or how they heard about your office. This information should be acquired during the initial call at the time of their scheduled appointment. By having this information prior to their appointment; a valuable impression is given as they are greeted at the door. It demonstrates so many skills. They will feel like a “Rock Star” you actually took the time and prepared for their appointment. You made the time to notice the little things that will make them feel important. Again creating the value and trust as the patient relationship is fostered within your practice. Therefore, definitely focusing their mindset on the positive experience from the start.
This will also give them the perception of great communication skills throughout the office.