Being part of various forums and dental groups can provide huge insights into what dentists are spending most of their time doing, having now come out of the lockdown period.
When I observe most activities, I find that many dentists are currently heavily focused on the operational side of running a dental practice. They are busy sourcing PPE and decontamination materials, and some are working on when and how they open their practices. Indeed, some are also focused on the government and various regulators, and much of their time is spent on issues surrounding: why haven’t we been allowed to open fully yet? And who regulates who? Do we really need so much PPE? And when will fallow time reduce?
Whilst all this is very important and necessary, I still feel that it all falls into the 80% category of activities that bring about 20% of the results. They are also primarily operational as opposed to growth concerns. These are things I would delegate or do in my buffer or admin times.
If you are going to successfully navigate your business post-covid, then you need to redirect your focus on some critical essentials. Your focused activities need to remain on your growth strategies. This will be the 20% that brings about 80% of your growth and/or production. You are going to have to be even more diligent and attentive towards these areas post-covid than you were pre-covid.
Whilst much has changed in our world, some principles remain the bedrock of a thriving practice. The only difference is that in the post-covid era, how we conduct these essentials is slightly different. But the basic concept of what we are trying to achieve remains the same. If you are interested in the core areas of your business that have not changed despite covid pandemic, see: Some Things Never Change.
There are five key focuses you must have post-covid:
A Focus on Methods to Increase Your Cash Flow.
After weeks of a closed business, your number one priority is going to be how to develop cash flow so that you are sustainable and remain afloat. There are many ways you can do this and I would suggest that you have a senior management meeting to discuss some strategies. Please see 21 Ways on how you can raise cash flow.
A New Communication & Case Acceptance Process
You will have to design a new patient journey and the various protocols associated with each aspect. Going forward, many of the ideas introduced will revolve around the patient and team safety. Hence, we will be trying to minimise the time spent at the dental practice or the number of visits a patient may make during the course of a particular Treatment Plan.
This means that you will have to consider use of technology as part of the Patient Experience in your practice. This will include use of e-consultations; pre-payments before patients arrive, elimination of a reception area and minimal use of the waiting areas.
The most important thing here is to pre-think out all the steps a patient make take in all the various scenarios. The verbal skills during each of the journey may now be slightly different, and thought also needs to be given to what is communicated at which stage.
The new patient journey will now look somewhat different, but it should still be designed to achieve the same objective: the help the patient discover something of value so that they are happy to receive the service and pay for it.
Empathic Marketing Techniques
As part of the financial management of a practice in preparation for the covid pandemic and subsequent lockdown, many dentists have panicked and stopped all marketing activities. This is a very reactive behaviour and it means that you are operating from a place of fear. It makes no sense if you intend on surviving to stop marketing. Marketing is the bloodline of your business. Not only this but marketing allows you to communicate to your people. If you eliminate this very important line of communication, then your patients have no choice but to make alternative decisions.
The key is not to halt Marketing but rather to modify your message, i.e. on what you communicate. Also, there are many cost-effective alternatives that will deliver your message in an optimal way. These things include use of social media, content marketing, SEO, telephone and e-marketing.
Your marketing messages now need to be about empathy; understanding, and care towards your patients. It would also be helpful if you could create package offers that sound appealing and are cost-effective for the patient.
“It is important to redesign your Marketing Plan to include immediate, short term and long-term marketing activities so that you can take your practice through this turbulent time to the other side safely but then also continue to thrive.”
One idea to help propagate the marketing is to. Create a Matrix. This is an annual calendar (usually posted up in the staff room) which at one glance, shows what your Team Focuses are going to be each month. It can include things like the Marketing Offer of the month, the Value of the month, the Team meeting focus of the month, a CQC activity or CPD activity that month. It will allow you to map out the entire year for the whole team to be ready for.
Training Your Team
It is ultra-important to continue to train your team throughout this entire period. Without a high level of constant training and role-playing, there is going to be much uncertainty, fear and ambiguity. This leads to inaction and ineffectiveness. Hence, you should be pre-blocking your team meetings in advance so that under no circumstances do you not have the time to grow.
There are two main considerations when it comes to training your team:
- Efficient & Effective Systems. You need to establish sound systems that will enable your practice to continue to survive and subsequently thrive. The main systems for growth are the new Post-Covid Sales Process, Marketing and Financial Strategies.
- Training the team to have the correct verbal skills, using the foundational verbal skills from the Telephone Training Workshop and the supporting resources. This will enable you to enhance the level of communication with your patients at any point of contact. Informed and reassured patients tend to increase their confidence in your practice leading to more case acceptances.
Understanding each individual team member fully helps to understand what drives them and hence how you can motivate them. It’s all about connecting and then creating an openness so that everyone is able to frankly communicate with each other and see each other on the same page.
Motivational leadership is about understanding what your team values and then aligning both your practice Vision & Values with that of each team member. You can do this using the DWB Tools provided:
- Personal Development Plan (PDP)
- Monthly 1:1
- Casual 1:1
- Team Meetings
This will ultimately create the behavioural change you need that drives your Practice Vision.
However, do be mindful that we are passing through difficult times and that you are the leader of not only just your immediate team. Therefore, try not to go into long stretches without any connection with your team, patients, suppliers, or community, as this can give you the impression that you don’t care.
As we go forward, I will be conducting a series of webinars on Transformational Leadership that will help you to establish the proper connections and relationships.
I will be happy to discuss any of the above points in our Coaching Meetings as they apply to you individually. Please go down these points and write a list of where you see the openings for improvement in your practice. We can then discuss these aspects further so that you have a robust plan of action.
Talk to us about how we can help. Get in touch with us today.