Communication is Our Currency for Successful Dentistry
The lifeline of our dental practice is communication. Three pillars that conversations impact in dentistry are:
- Players (Team)
Dentistry is in the midst of a shift from product-centricity to people-centricity. Investments in your team members and your patients are essential.
Practices pushing services rather than focusing on the wants of the patient will see their revenues dwindle over time. You must have a strong culture to be patient-centric because it requires knowing the patient and catering to their wants.
According to the Beryl Institute, the total of every touchpoint before, during, and after their appointment impact the patient experience.
These are four influencers of the patient experience:
- Interactions of people, processes, policies, communications, actions, and environment.
- Culture: The vision, values, team, and community
- Perceptions: Everything is recognized, understood, and remembered by patients and support people.
- Perceptions vary based on individual experiences
- Continuum of Care: Every interaction with a practice or provider before, during, and after delivery of care.
How we influence these four categories will optimize the patient experience and their healthcare journey. The ongoing goal is to maintain existing patients and attract new patients simultaneously. Research from Forbes indicates it costs a practice five times more to attract a new patient than it does to retain an existing one.
When communication is not well defined or delivered, we become less impactful as a team.
A healthy practice requires Proactive Leadership. Not by one person but by each team member at any given time. Team culture is driven by “leading by example.” Culture encompasses the tangible actions and beliefs of your team. It is the pulse of your practice! It’s about what happens when the leader (not the boss) leaves the room.
There is a communication process that needs to occur regularly to promote teamwork.
During daily, weekly, monthly, and annual meetings, a facilitator/leader in the practice (not always the DDS) is responsible for making sure each staff member brings completed reality checks, acknowledgments, and quality requests.
Understanding that leadership is Bi-Directional is the first step to creating a happy, engaged, and productive team! It links everyone together, no matter what role they play on the team and will:
- Reduce Turnover – Individuals that feel appreciated for their knowledge support the practice
- Improve Team Engagement – People will do more than asked if they feel valued
- Increase Production – A team working cohesively and sharing the load will be far more productive than individuals working in silos without collaborating
To keep the momentum going throughout the year, teams are encouraged to conduct the communication process every week as part of their team meetings. I have worked with dental teams to help them focus on meeting structure and customized outcomes which can change your productivity significantly!
When I ask you, what is your office brand, what do you think of?
- High-quality dentistry, implants, orthodontics, cosmetics, children, special needs, public health?
All of those answers are correct, but your brand is much more than the high-level procedures you perform. It is systemic and it trickles down into the words we say and the communication “tools” we use. Your brand should speak the language of the patients you are trying to attract!
Language is our currency and a bridge to trust! All team members should be speaking the same language. You don’t want half the team two-stepping and the other half breakdancing!
The chart below provides examples of how we can level up our vocabulary to represent the brand we are embracing.
Communication is a lot like cooking. You take all these individual ingredients and blend them to create a delicious dish.
The “ingredients” are the people we interact with: your patients, your team, your vendors, your family.
The “spices” are the way we customize the communication or the flavor.
The result, the delicious dish, is a harmonious team and practice.