The highest level of service is the priority…especially now.
None of us expected to be where we are now when the word ‘coronavirus’ began showing up on news feeds and in conversation. When dental practices were mandated to close in March it left us all with an uncomfortable sense of lack of control. Over the last few months, we’ve talked to many dentists and team members. While they all shared a feeling of gratitude for the time spent with immediate family and the unexpected opportunity to work on the home ‘to do’ list, the underlying fears existed. What will dentistry look like when we’re back in the office??
Now here we are…back in the office…and it certainly has changed. Daunting in the beginning and now feeling like the all too familiar phrase…the new normal. Many of our processes and protocols have changed and continue to change as new information arises.
I maintain that at least one thing hasn’t changed…the critical need for service in dentistry. The need for it is heightened and the ability to deliver it is impaired. While not an ideal situation, I don’t believe it is insurmountable. It is simply important.
How can a dental practice deliver their highest level of service under these conditions?
- Take care of your self.
Never in my 29 years in dentistry did I predict a time when dental offices were closed to all but emergency treatment. It certainly shook me up and had me questioning how can I help and where do I fit. I decided to put my energy into research. Answering questions, searching for the latest developments and hoping to calm the fear. I decided that my self care would also be a priority. I could sit back and let the situation take over, or I could use the time to eat well, exercise and protect my sleep. I encouraged our clients to do the same. As a mother I know that if I don’t take care of myself I can’t take care of anyone else…I believe the same is true for dentists and leaders.
- Take care of your team.
This has been a challenging time for everyone. Varying levels of fear and worry, but it’s there for all of us. Dental teams look to their leaders for guidance and reassurance. Some employees are fearful of contracting the virus. Many are fearful of losing their hours at a time when personal debt is high. Yet others are just “done with it” and desperate to get back to normal…the old normal. It is your job as their leader to do what you can to protect the business, protect the patients and give your team the confidence that there is opportunity on the other side of this.
- Take care of your patients.
I believe we have an advantage over other industries and businesses in adapting to the pandemic requirements. We are used to wearing masks and gloves. For many years we have practiced high standards of cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting and sterilizing. We are used to protecting ourselves and others from viruses and bacteria. Having said that, as a hygienist I must admit that getting used to gowns, caps, shields and restricted procedures has taken time, but it is already feeling more comfortable. I believe that seeing me dressed up like that has given my patients a sense of security. They are reassured that we are taking this seriously. In my opinion we need to pay attention to what is unspoken. The challenge of connection while speaking through a mask and shield. The extra questions on the phone and in the office. The temperature taking at the desk. These are the steps that we all know are necessary. I suggest adding another step. Laughter. We can use the power of a smile and a giggle to put our patients fears at ease. Reassure them that we are taking the virus seriously…and we are also serious about their emotional well being while under our care.
Do you wonder about the level of service you and your dental office team provide to your patients?
Our team of Dental Consultants, at Tayden Consulting Inc., specialize in providing,
hands-on, on-site coaching on how to create the optimal customer experience
for your patients.
Contact us today for a free consultation! We look forward to meeting you.