Nancy Friedman advises how to avoid some common practice mistakes
Believe it or not, there are many, many ways to sabotage your business. And, chances are your staff is doing some of these now, without you even knowing it. And worse yet, you’ve probably even heard some of these yourself. But that’s the bad news.
The good news is that I can explain to you the top five self-sabotaging pitfalls and then show you how to neutralize the effects.
So get ready. You and your staff are about to be in a much better position to handle the five top ways to sabotage your business today.
“It’s not our policy”
This, unfortunately, is used more as an excuse than anything else. It’s generally a sure thing that the employee has not been shown how to explain a policy to someone. This phrase is used, then, more as something to say when the team member doesn’t know what to say. Patients call that “an excuse.”
When the customer hears “it’s not our policy,” he/she immediately responds (usually silently) with: “Who cares?”
What every implant practice needs to understand is that no one but the dentists and staff care about your policies. Do you really think your patients ask themselves as they enter or call your practice: “I wonder what their policy is on this issue?”
All this being said, there are companies who do have policies that make it more difficult to work with them than with others.
So here’s a suggestion: decide on your policy, then work as a team with your staff to find a positive way to explain it to the customer. Otherwise, you may soon find it becoming the patient’s policy not to come to the practice anymore.
“It’s not my job”
Well, then whose job is it? Let’s remember one of my mottos: tell the patient what you do, not what you don’t do.
If someone mistakenly asks someone in the practice about something he/she doesn’t handle, the following is far more effective: “I work on the nursing side. Let me get you to someone who can schedule your next appointment.”
This is far more effective than telling someone it’s not your job.
“My computer’s down”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ve all heard this one.
It hurts, because there are still many patients who remember the days before the computer. My goodness, how did we ever survive? Yes, it’s easier to have the computer, but believe it or not, millions of businesses were launched and operated on 3×5 cards or some other type of manual database before computers ever hit the scene. When the practice management system crashes, this sounds so much better coming from your front of house team: “I’ll be delighted to help you. It may take a little longer as I’ll need to do things by hand – our computers are currently down.”
This way you’ve still explained what happened, and they’ll have a little more compassion as you’ve offered assistance – and didn’t simply blame the computer for your inability to help.
“I wasn’t here that day”
This one personally really makes me laugh. When I have a problem, I don’t remember asking employees if they were there that day. Do you really think patients care if you (or your staff) weren’t there when their problem happened? Honestly, they don’t, so that’s not even an issue to discuss. Just hit the problem head on; apologize without telling them where you were (or weren’t). Remember, you and your staff are representing the practice – regardless of whether you were at work or on holiday when the issue occurred.
“I’m new here”
So, you’re new. Now what? Does being new allow your team to be anything but helpful to the patient?
When patients hear this sabotaging statement, do you really think they think: “Oh, you’re new? So that’s why I’m getting bad service? Well, then that’s okay. You’re new – no problem.” Even if your staff members are new, patients honestly believe they should know everything about their job. Here’s what I suggest for this one. Instead of “I’m new,” say to the patient: “Please bear with me, I’ve only been here a few weeks.” That will buy you time. For whatever reason, hearing the short length of time staff has been with the practice means more to the patient than simply, “I’m new.” Again, it’s more of an excuse. Remember to state the length of time – it enhances your credibility. “I’m new” does the exact opposite.