Generational Smiles: Strategies For Successful Treatment And Product Recommendations

Embracing the traditions of my father, a devoted Traditionalist, I continue the endearing practice of tipping with $2 bills.

His unique gesture always elicited smiles and prompted delightful conversations about cherished memories. He created a positive experience with his unique gesture.

As we sorted through his belongings after his passing at the age of 97, we stumbled upon a hidden treasure of… you guessed it, $2 dollar bills!

Tasked with inheriting this collection due to my frequent travels, I’ve adopted the joyful responsibility of perpetuating his legacy. Using these special bills for tips has become a heartwarming and enjoyable means for me to stay connected with him, keeping his spirit alive in the simple act of generosity.

Create a memorable, positive experiences that cater to the diverse needs of every generation

Have you ever found it challenging to connect with a patient or experienced resistance to treatment or product recommendations? The key may lie in understanding and bridging generational gaps in communication styles. Here is a strategic, comprehensive breakdown of four generations that today’s dental practices encounter. Included are insights on how to effectively interact with generational diversity in the dental practice.


Traditionalists (before 1946): Prefer Provider Guidance

Traditionalists appreciate clear and straightforward solutions when receiving recommendations from their healthcare provider. When presenting a treatment plan, aim for uncomplicated explanations that resonate with their preference for simplicity. Emphasize the longevity and durability of suggested solutions, ensuring they align with what suits them best. To bolster their confidence, offer real-life examples of patients within a similar age range who have undergone similar treatments successfully.

Baby Boomers (1946-1964): Valuing Personal Connection

Baby Boomers appreciate thorough explanations and prefer direct communication in person or by phone. They dislike feeling rushed, and taking the time for a relaxed discussion is crucial. Emphasize the benefits of a good smile and sound dental health, aligning their treatment with these values. Given their often-ample resources, schedule their treatments thoughtfully and extend an invitation for further questions.

Generation X (1965-1977): Ideal Plans and Clear Communication

Generation X, characterized by respect for authority and linear thinking, respond well to ideal treatment plans with phased scheduling and payment options. As high achievers, they value dental health for appearance and overall well-being. Follow-up communication, preferably through text or email, is appreciated.

Generation Y/Millennials (1978-1999): Desire Instant Gratification

Millennials are technology-dependent, seeking instant gratification and despising delays. To connect with them, be patient-attentive, provide same-day service, and combine appointments efficiently.

Gen Z (2000-2016): A Future-Focused Approach

Gen Z is future-oriented and prioritizes prevention while being cost-conscious. Deliver explanations and options that emphasize prevention, aligning with their forward-thinking mindset. As advocates for avoiding future expenses, they are an excellent fit for dental practices with a strong focus on preventive care.

Customizing dental product recommendations is equally crucial. Each generation has distinct preferences, needs, and communication styles that should be considered.

Traditionalists (Born before 1946): Simplicity and Reliability

• Keep it simple.
• Emphasize durability and reliability.
• Use respectful, formal language.
• Highlight products with a long history of success.
• Leverage personal testimonials and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Baby Boomers (1946-1964): Health, Aesthetics, and Trust

• Focus on health and aesthetics.
• Highlight products that improve or maintain appearance.
• Emphasize value for money and long-term benefits.
• Provide detailed information and studies to build trust.
• Adopt a professional and respectful tone.

Gen X (1965-1977): Convenience and Independence

• Offer convenience and practicality.
• Mention time-saving features or benefits.
• Use a straightforward, informative approach.
• Provide options and flexibility.
• Appeal to their desire for independence and self-care.

Gen Y (1978-1999): Technology and Social Values

• Emphasize technology and innovation.
• Align with environmental and social values.
• Utilize visuals, videos, and online reviews.
• Be concise and address cost-effectiveness and customization potential.

Gen Z (2000-2016): Technology and Sustainability

• Leverage technology and interactivity.
• Appeal to their desire for self-expression and uniqueness.
• Showcase products aligning with sustainability and ethical values.
• Use social media and influencers for recommendations.
• Keep the message short and visually engaging.

Adapting Strategies: Beyond Products to Communication

Customization extends beyond products to communication and marketing strategies. Consider different channels such as social media, email, or in-person consultations based on the preferences of the generation you are targeting. Gathering feedback from each generation can help refine recommendations over time, ensuring your dental practice meets their evolving needs and expectations. Embrace these insights to create a successful, patient-focused practice that caters to the diverse needs of every generation.

Securing Dental Talent in Turbulent Times: Strategies from Leaders

Position Your Practice for Long-term Success

In today’s competitive job market, attracting and retaining top talent in the dental industry has become more challenging than ever. As we navigate the “Great Resignation,” it’s crucial for dental practices to rethink their approach to talent management. Drawing inspiration from industry leaders like Chick-fil-A, we can uncover valuable strategies to create a positive workplace culture, hire the right team members, invest in employee growth, and provide exceptional customer service.

Your Employee Experience Is Your Employment Brand

In 2018, Gallup’s workplace analytics team emphasized the importance of the employee experience as the cornerstone of your employment brand. While many companies prioritize business strategy and financial aspects, it’s essential to remember that culture often outranks strategy in shaping your organization’s success. Culture encompasses the tangible actions and beliefs of your team, serving as the pulse of your practice. It’s what happens when the leader (not just the boss) leaves the room, and it continues to gain momentum by inspiring your people to conform to it. A strong culture unites everyone across different departments.

Empower Your Team with Problem-Solving Skills

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Encourage team members to develop SOPs as guides for handling specific situations such as team member conflicts, difficult patients, HIPAA compliance, and OSHA requirements. Assign a leader responsible for updating these guidelines to ensure everyone stays informed.

  1. Diverse Problem-Solving Skills: While it’s impossible to anticipate every issue, you can prepare your team with diverse problem-solving skills. These skills are invaluable when facing unexpected situations, fostering adaptability and resilience.

Build a Team-Centric Culture

  1. Continuous Education: Prioritize team attendance at Continuing Education (CE) courses, whether live or virtual, throughout the year. Set goals for attending conferences and encourage knowledge sharing in team meetings.
  2. Software Updates and Training: Stay up-to-date with software and technology advancements relevant to your practice. Ensure that your team receives the necessary training to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness.
  3. Wellness Officer: Appoint a volunteer “wellness officer” responsible for checking in on employee health and monitoring the practice’s overall well-being. This role helps maintain a healthy work environment and strengthens team bonds.

Be Empathetic, Flexible, and Transparent

Times are stressful, impacting morale, health, wellness, and performance. Being empathetic, flexible, and practicing active listening can alleviate these challenges and strengthen team cohesion.
Transparency is crucial in maintaining trust and fostering a positive work environment. Keep your team informed about the state of the business, the COVID-19 situation, and emotional well-being.

Borrowing Ideas from Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A consistently ranks as a top-rated company for customer service. Their success is built on four strategic pillars that dentistry can adapt:

  1. Positive Culture
    • Your leadership should embody your practice’s core values and mission statement.
    • Ensure that your values influence your hiring decisions.
  2. Hiring Team Members That Fit Your Culture
    • During the hiring process, emphasize your practice’s core values to potential candidates.
    • Avoid hiring just to fill a void, as one negative team member can affect the entire office.
  3. Invest in Growing Team Member’s Skills
    • Provide comprehensive training for new team members, which pays off when they handle their responsibilities confidently.
    • Show your team members that they are valued, offer opportunities for growth, and invest in their development.
  4. Employees Comprehensively Trained in Customer Service
    • Focus on creating a positive work environment and nurturing relationships within your team.
    • Trust and empower your employees to handle customer service situations effectively.

Conclusion

By implementing these strategies, dental practices can not only attract but also retain exceptional talent during the challenging times of the “Great Resignation.” Building a positive culture, hiring the right fit, investing in growth, and prioritizing customer service will not only help you navigate the current talent shortage but also position your practice for long-term success. Your leadership will be the key determinant in achieving a better and more satisfying outcome for your team and your patients alike.

Resources

Bonus

Seeking ways to enhance team communication while enjoying a winter retreat? It’s time to kick off your preparations for the CE In The Mountains all-team event, scheduled for February 23-24, 2024, in the picturesque Park City, UT.

This event will center around improving communication and boosting productivity through engaging activities in the stunning mountain setting.

Watch the short video below for more details.

What Happened to Your Referrals?

How to Increase Your Study Club / Association Membership and Get More Referrals!

Dentistry is in transition and the status quo is unsustainable.

The changing nature of dental patients and their providers, along with altering patterns of demographics are significantly impacting the ways we practice and our membership dynamics.

Proactively setting a new strategy will influence your referral potential.

To get clear picture of the industry challenges, let’s reveal several of the current dynamics that are occurring.

Aging population

As dental problems begin to escalate, many of our patients are retiring and losing their dental benefits.

  • Traditionalist and Baby Boomer (BB) patient pool is shrinking, which means less patients to refer
  • Less frequent appointments in these categories as well

Association/ Study Club Impact

As dentist retire, so do the leaders of the traditional associations and study clubs.

If we ignore the shifting landscape, the future of our study clubs will be unpredictable and unsustainable. A succession plan is imperative for membership growth.

Diversity and Needs

According to a study conducted by the Hispanic Dental Association together with Proctor and Gamble, the Hispanic population is the fastest growing in the US.

  • 45% lack dental coverage and are dependent on community dental clinics

Consider the value of Spanish-speaking dental professionals and Spanish marketing materials.

  • Invite the Hispanic dental professionals to participate in your membership by speaking their language in your marketing

The other major ethnic shift taking place is with Asian‐Americans. They are >6% of the US population, affluent, well educated, and tech savvy.

  • 40% geographically concentrated: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York

To broaden diversity in your membership, focus your marketing on this demographic if you practice in the concentrated areas.

Gen Z are entering the dental professional workforce. They are more likely to forgo solo practices for joint, group, or corporate practices. These types of practices often keep referrals in-house and provide study club environments.

More women in the field who are restructuring traditional dental practice patterns, with many working part time. This will influence the availability to attend traditional SC events. Consider adjusting your standard event agenda:

  • Offer childcare during meetings
  • Breakfast or lunch meetings
  • Record live and virtual events
  • Varied event lengths

Dental Insurance

The variety of dental insurance plans and payments are shifting and slowly evolving.

Commercial

Using highly selective networks

Demanding more evidence / data

Pressuring providers to reduce fees

Public

Demanding increased accountability from providers

Memberships – plans vary per state and are becoming more popular

Personal

Out of Pocket fee for service

Dental Tourism

Patients are traveling abroad to receive dental treatment at a reduced cost.  The four countries leading the movement are:  Mexico, Costa Rica, Eastern Europe and Asia.

  • The younger the generation, the more likely they are to investigate this option

To keep your dentistry in-house and have a larger referral pool, emphasize the safety / infection control standards in the U.S. Highlight that convenient follow up is included in the fee post procedurally. And of course, advertise your high standard of care and professionalism.

Continual adaptation to the new dynamics of dentistry will keep your practice, study club and association cutting edge. New members will be enthusiastic and loyal. The referrals will grow from the relationships you are building and nurturing.

Dental Relationships

iRONMAN Communication Increases Business Productivity

Lisa Copeland RDH, CSP
GLOBAL SPEAKER  IRONMAN™COMPETITOR /GEN X

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iRONMAN Communication Tip

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Dental Drills

The “R” in iRONMAN is for Relationships.



According to Positive Psychology, people make an immediate and lasting assessment of you in the time it takes to snap your fingers.
Known as the two second rule, a first impression is a lasting impression! In dentistry, great first impressions are important when building relationships and brand loyalty with your patients and team.

The relationships you build with your patients are the cornerstone of your success. When   people like you, and feel emotionally connected to you, they are more likely to follow through with recommended treatment….which translates into practice growth. 

Have a look at my latest blog about dental relationships.

The other aspect of relationship building that contributes to your success is the education and training of your team.  Everyone should understand all of the procedures you are providing and be speaking the same language to each other and the patients. Consistency is critical to build trust.

Discover Lisa’s Seven iRONMAN communication principles here.

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Are You Getting to the Root of Your Problem?

If our patients are distracted or disengaged it’s up to us, the dental professional team, to break the patterns of expectations and re-engage them.
A friendly smile / greeting for every patient. We have all encountered the administrative assistant that knows every patient and their family members the moment they enter your office. They even remember vacation destinations, birthdays and graduations! You may be working with “that” person right now! Never let them go! They are an incredible asset to your practice.

Collaborate in your huddle, (you are having a huddle right?), with your team and identify ways to engage patients scheduled for the day. Be sure to use the “generational language” suited best for each patient. Brush up on generational language customization here.

When we are comfortable and conversation is easy, it puts the patient and the team at ease.

Upcoming events: graduation, wedding, family reunion, vacation, sports,…

Discuss a personal story

Share a family connection

Thank them for a referral

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Where in the World is Lisa

After living in Seattle for 20 years, my husband and I sold everything and moved to Park City, UT.  Our four criteria for selecting a new  location were: more sun, less traffic, abundant mountain biking, and awesome snow. Check, check, check, and check! It was a huge decision to make such a dramatic change to our comfortable life in Seattle. However, it was the right decision.  We are incredibly happy in our new home, making new friends, and taking on new adventures every week. 

It did not just happen.  It took a lot of hard teamwork, collaboration, sweat, tears, and weight gain too if I’m being honest, to make it a reality.

I’d like to challenge you to think about how dramatic change could impact your dental business.  The world around us is rapidly changing. If we continue to practice the same way we have, attrition will inevitably occur.  Human nature defers change. It’s: challenging, painful, and disruptive. 

What if change brought new ideas and increased productivity into your practice? 

A great place to start is with team building and customizing your internal and external communication. 

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Read Lisa’s Blog

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What Communication Challenges Do You Have?


What dental communication topics would you like to know more about?
Share your ideas here and we’ll include them in upcoming newsletters.


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ABOUT LISA COPELAND, RDH, CSP

IRONMAN™ training taught me how to be successful in business communication.
As a competitive athlete, I effectively apply lessons learned to help clients transform business communication into profit, performance, and productivity.

My experiences allow me to share meaningful / memorable stories that positively impact your bottom line. In fact, my iRONMAN Principles of training drive my lessons on the importance of generationally effective communication in business.

If you’d like to learn more about Lisa or book her to speak at your event please email or call / text 206.465.1637

Snap Shot of Generational Work Ethics

Generational Immigrants

Have you ever wondered why your colleagues make the decisions they do at work?  Sometimes I scratch my head in confusion and other times I applaud in awe at the unique and creative approach to an opportunity.  Then I remember, “Its Generational”!  Recognizing this influences positive team harmony and allows everyone to have a voice.

Work ethics and values are influenced, in part, by generational qualities. Superior inter-generational relationships are built from understanding who we are and how we are perceived.

The first question to ask is, “Who am I”?  The categories are based on a particular span of years and the ethics are developed from experiencing world events during that particular time frame.  Keep in mind you may be a “Cusper”, bridging two generations.  That is the category I fall into.  I am born on the last year of the Baby Boomer however, my qualities are predominantly Gen X.

Below are the generational categories and their common workplace values with the most important one highlighted last on the list.

Traditionalists (1927-1945)

Team player, Indirect, Loyal, Hard Worker, Rule follower, Respectful, Seniority and age correlate.  They want to be recognized for their years of experience.

Baby Boomer (1946-1964)          

Optimistic, Creative, Healthy, Enjoy personal gratification, Workaholic, Uncomfortable with conflict, Want respect

Gen X (1965-1977)           

Positive, Impatient, Goal Oriented, Multi-tasker, To-do lists, Self-reliant, Techno-literal, Question authority, Want flexibility to create work-life balance.

Gen Y (1978-1999)           

Confident, Social, Diverse, Techno-savvy, Tenacious, Multi-tasker, Like flexibility, Inclusion with “like” peers is very important.    

Gen Z (2000-Present) 

Entrepreneurial. Progressive, Less Religious, Individualistic, Digital Natives, Lonely, Diverse, Overwhelmed   

Generational Geopardy

Generations working side-by-side is not a new concept. However, recent years have included four and now five generations in the workforce.  Move over Millennials, Gen Z is just starting to enter the workforce.

Now that we understand ourselves and each other better, let’s look at how we can improve on business relationships and interactions with a game I call Generational Geopardy. Please note, Gen Z is not included due to their limited time in the workforce to date.

Fill in the blanks from the word list below to develop a tool you can refer to for inter-generational communication tips. Each word is used only once.

Generational Geopardy Blanks

Comfortable

Workaholic

In-Person / Telephone

Instant Gratification

Unfamiliar

 

         

          

Although the generations have different values, they also share many similarities and it is wise to recognize them.  Engagement opportunities occur when we respect differences and focus on commonalities such as:

  • We want to be heard.
  • We want to take part in meaningful work.
  • We want to contribute and make a difference.
  • We want to feel genuinely appreciated.
  • We want to be recognized as a person rather than a “number” at work.
  • We want to develop into our full potential.

Generational Communication Application

How do we translate the information we know about each generation into applicable use? Since the Traditionalists comprise less than 2% of our current workforce we’ll work within the other three categories.

One area we could customize is using their preferred method of communication. As a Gen X, I reach out to people via email and text so I can continue to progress through my day efficiently.  That is also the way I prefer people to communicate with me.  However, if I am working with a Baby Boomer, I will either pick up the phone and call or visit their office for an actual conversation!  Oh my!  You might be surprised at the results you get by implementing customized strategies like these.

Generational Geopardy Answers

Success and referrals come from relationship building. Part of that formula is adapting your interaction style.

I challenge you to use the Generational Geopardy worksheet as a guide to customizing your inter-generational communication.  Begin within your team then expand the techniques you master into your company, clients and personal life.

As you strengthen your generational skills and comfort level, you will be perceived differently and respected more by all the generations.

Copyright 2019 Lisa Copeland, RDH, CSP.  All Rights Reserved

Learning to Embrace the Generational Friction Factor

Dad and Gardening

Last spring I decided to plant a garden.  Having grown up in the Northeast region of the US, with a father who is a Pennsylvania Dutch farmer, I was accustom to homegrown delicacies year round!  I now live in the Northwest region, where rain is abundant and sunshine scarce…farming would be challenging.  Before starting, I researched the planting zones and visited a local nursery to chat with the experts.   After purchasing the seeds most likely to thrive and the proper fertilizer and soil, I was ready to begin. Each morning started with an evaluation for the need for watering, weeding and feeding to customize a plan accordingly.  Within a month my efforts were rewarded with a beautiful garden.

The lessons learned were simple, but essential for success. Gardens need customized care based on the exposure to elements:  weather, sun and soil.  If any of the essentials were missing, the garden would not thrive.

The same principles can be applied to our current work force environments.  In order for our teams to thrive, we must customize our generational language to create a harmonious team that is empowered to succeed.

A Generational Snapshot

Looking at generational snapshot in the USA, each have personalities influenced by multiple historic events.

  • Traditionalists, 1927-1945: Great Depression, WWII
  • Baby Boomers, 1946-1964: Moon Walk, JFK / MLK Assassination, Vietnam War
  • Generation X, 1965-1977: Watergate, Oil Crisis, AIDS, Dot-Com, Gulf War
  • Generation Y, 1978-1999: Columbine, OK City Bomb, 911, Katrina
  • Generation Z, 2000-Present: Widespread terror alerts, Global unrest, Abundent global access to information

Generations are Colliding

For the first time in history, we currently have four to five generations in the work force and the Friction Factor is real. Companies, large and small, are experiencing dissatisfied employees and high turnover rates. A recent study by Accenture reports the top four reasons people leave a job are:  lack of recognition/appreciation, internal politics, lack of empowerment and they don’t like their boss.  The majority of reasons why employees quit are under the control of the employer.  From a generational perspective, we can customize our language and interaction with each group to support their needs and create a meaningful environment for all. The right question to consider is, “How do we best appeal to each generation and appreciate them in their preferred language”?   First we need know the various generations of the company.  The Traditionalists and the Baby Boomers include our more senior employees.  Generation X are now middle age, taking on management roles, and Y and Z compile the younger team members.  Each category has a unique potential to contribute to company growth IF we speak in the generational language that best appeals to them.

Let’s say you are a Baby Boomer Director of Sales, about to provide feedback to a Generation Y, Professional Sales Representative.  Your interaction with him / her from a verbal, non-verbal and technological standpoint will influence their motivation and productivity.

 Take the Generational Challenge

Below are six examples of how a company can more effectively communicate with varying generations.

  1. Dress to meet the expectations of the oldest generation. Gen Y, if you have a meeting with a Baby Boomer:
    • Men, wear a button down collared shirt, tie and jacket
    • Women, a conservative dress or dress shirt with a skirt or pants
  2. Generation X prefer to maximize efficiency. Email and text is the preferred form communication.
  3. The older the generation, the more they equate title with respect. Call each person by an appropriate title, “Mrs. Hall”, “Dr. Jones”.
  4. When providing support information about your product, determine which type of resource speaks the right language. Tangible paper resources vs. technology.  Traditionalists and Boomers are not as familiar / comfortable with technology as compared to the younger generations. Choose accordingly.
  5. Gen Y and Z are connected 24/7. Technology and flexibility are company cultures they seek.
  6. Senior teammates build relationships first…business second. Follow up with a personal phone call vs. an email or text.

I invite you to select three challenges from above to customize your generational language to increase employee career satisfaction and company growth. To learn more about how you can apply effective generational tactics in your life connect with Lisa Copeland Communications.

Copyright 2019 Lisa Copeland.  All rights reserved.