As a private-practice owner, you may not think you can learn much from the companies on Fortune’s 2015 World’s Most Admired Companies list. After all, they’re big – really big. So how can anything done by these super-sized, wildly successful, profitable companies possibly be relevant to a small or mid-sized dental practice in Smallville, USA?
As a private-practice owner, you may not think you can learn much from the companies on Fortune’s 2015 World’s Most Admired Companies list.
After all, they’re big – really big. In fact, to even get into the running, you have to be one of the 1,000 largest U.S. companies (based on revenue), or have revenues of at least $10 billion if you’re a non-U.S. company.
So how can anything done by these super-sized, wildly successful, profitable companies possibly be relevant to a small or mid-sized dental practice in Smallville, USA?
Actually-with very few exceptions-these companies rank at the very top of the list in their respective industries because of their emphasis on training their people.
There’s no doubt that we consumers find comfort in consistency. And that is exactly what training does. If implemented correctly, training provides a consistent, tested guideline for employees to follow to guarantee results. The results you get as a private-practice dentist are increased new patients, satisfied existing patients and potential for significant growth in your productivity and collections.
Let’s take a look at a few specific examples from the leaders of big business and how they apply to growing your practice.
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What you can learn from Apple (ranked first for eight years in a row!): Redefine the experience
The Apple Store has completely redefined the customer experience. As soon as they walk in the door, every customer is greeted by an employee who is friendly, passionate and committed to customer service. Each Apple team member is trained on how to handle the technical questions of a highly agitated customer. They also know that how a person feels when they end a transaction significantly impacts how they perceive the brand, the likelihood they’ll become a repeat customer, and whether they’re likely to recommend the brand to others.
This couldn’t ring more true for a patient’s experience in your office. Happy and knowledgeable employees trained to present an experience like no other dental office, will not only get your patient to come back, it will motivate them to positively review your practice and send all of their friends your way!
Just like Apple reminds its employees that they “enriching lives” not just selling electronics, you need to remind your employees that they are making a difference in the smiles – and lives – of their patients. And enriching lives builds loyalty.
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What you can learn from Starbucks (ranked fifth): The partnership approach
Starbucks has adopted a “partnership approach” based on the business model that says: “Treat employees like partners, and they act like partners.” From the perspective of Starbucks leaders, the strong loyalty connection the brand enjoys with its customers is linked directly to the way in which those leaders connect with and develop their team members.
Do you treat your employees like partners? Do they understand your vision for the practice, your interest in growing your new patient numbers, productivity and collections? Are they engaged? Are they incentivized to help you set and reach your goals? Not sure? Ok, how bout this: Do they don’t love new patients – like enough to jump over the desk to answer the phone, or transfer a line to their cell phone after hours just so they don’t miss an opportunity to schedule them? If they don’t love new patients and what they do for a practice, then they aren’t feeling like partners.
Starbucks leaders invest in their “partners” and, in turn, their customers (read: your patients!). They deploy training and development to drive partner engagement. That increased engagement leads to increased customer visit frequency, wider product penetration, greater customer retention, consistent product sell-through and employee pride and knowledge. Essentially, they create raving fans!
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What you can learn from Disney (ranked sixth): Quality is key
The Walt Disney Company consistently exceeds guest expectations through an exceptional passion for detail, as documented in the book, Be Our Guest. At the Disney Institute, they teach other business leaders this same “eye for detail” as a strategy to differentiate their own businesses and brands.
If you’ve ever been to a Disney resort, you too have been impressed by their ability to think of everything for their guests. They encourage leaders to “put yourself in the shoes of your customer,” and assess even little things that could be changed to impact the customer in a unique, positive way.
Now look at your office through the eyes of Walt Disney. Obviously you don’t need to add mouse ears to anything. But you do need to walk through your office as if you were a new patient. Use the restroom, sit in the waiting room and thumb through magazines, get yourself a beverage, sit in the operatory chair and look at the ceiling and the equipment. What has been your attention to detail?
Because of the Institute’s training, everyone knows his or her role in carrying out the Disney Philosophy and doing business the Disney Way. It admittedly involves a huge investment of time, training and money that not many others are willing to make. But Disney knows that quality experiences create loyal customers... Every single time.
We have worked with more than 10,000 dental offices of all sizes and in all towns and the same is true for all: Your ability to earn raving fan patients will give you a strategic advantage in your marketplace. Even more so than in the retail sector, you have a tremendous opportunity to create patients for life. Just like so many Apple customers wouldn’t consider buying non-Apple products, you don’t want your patients to even think about going elsewhere! You want them to be ecstatic about the experience they get at your office every single time!
Are you ready to see what kind of experience your new patients get when they pick up the phone to make an appointment? Visit www.5starchallenge.com to take our 5 Star Challenge! We will conduct a mystery call on your office and let you know how your office rates against the competition.