In many of my blogs, I have covered a plethora of marketing options and opportunities for a dental practice. Online, offline, social, real – we have offered advice and suggestions on any number of these. But, perhaps we have been avoiding the elephant in the room?! The team.
Your team could and should be your most valuable asset in terms of the practice and any marketing carried out and the response that you should expect. There is a flipside to this though – if your team have not bought into what you are doing and any marketing you are carrying out, you might as well burn your money, as it will be quicker and more fun.
I am not a team trainer, but I do approach the subject as someone who knows what works and what delivers the results in marketing and profitability. So, what should your team be like?
- Enthusiasm – if they have none, they need to go – it as simple as that. Dentistry now has a strong customer service element and a morose face on the front desk or a depressed voice when answering the telephone will no longer do. Patients will rightly go elsewhere and so they should. Many successful business owners say that attitude is the number one key requirement when recruiting. Almost everything else can be taught apart from a good attitude.
- Empowered – this is more about you than them. For a practice to be truly successful, everyone within it has to buy into the Principal’s vision. And, having done that, the principal has to be confident enough to devolve key responsibilities to the team for the benefit of all.
- Informed – with any marketing campaign, everyone needs to know what the aim is, when it is running and what is expected of them. A really good team should know how many enquiries have been generated, any bookings made and there should be a simple form of record keeping to ensure measurability.
- They go the extra mile – this isn’t the same as enthusiasm although the two are generally connected. How much do they care about the business? What are they willing to do? If it is 5.25pm on a Friday afternoon and a long enquiry or process comes along, are they happy to take ownership and see it through to completion – even though that might be after 6pm on a Friday evening?
- Follow-up – this one is particularly related to marketing but also good customer care. For instance, if a treatment plan is presented by the dentist and for whatever reason the patient hasn’t proceeded with it, this should be diarised to be followed up by a team member with a customer care approach but with an eye on answering any questions and perhaps rebooking the patient for a further consultation. All effective practices should have a follow up protocol and an efficient team will carry it out without being prompted or asked.
- Engagement – they don’t just do the pleasantries well. They really do care about how Mrs. Martin’s knee is or how Mr Kelly’s dog is doing. Patients know when you’re faking but really appreciate the real thing.
- They’re seekers – they are never just happy with what the basic parameters of their role dictates. They will seek out new responsibilities and tasks. In fact, you should be prepared to be dealing with their requests on a regular basis.
All of these seven themes are vital to the effective running of a team but I return again to enthusiasm – if they haven’t got that, you need them out of your practice.