At Inspired Hygiene, we often talk about hygiene being productive and profitable, and before they can be THAT, there are a few other key things a thriving hygiene department does to influence your patients and your practice. These things are often the non-tangibles that lead to hygiene being a productive and profitable part of the dental business.
This concept was inspired by my experience recently teaching one of our courses, ‘Return on Hygiene’. In the beginning of the course, I ask the audience, “What do you want the hygiene department to BE…for your practice, your providers and your patients?”. At one of these programs, the audience came up with the Four R’s they want the hygiene team to BE.
The hygiene department has a huge role in building relationships with patients. They tend to spend the most time with patients in a less intense visit than say a 3hour implant procedure. The patients are likely to share with the hygienist about their personal life, their likes/dislikes about dentistry and their current dental state and often the patients feel very loyal to their hygienists and want to return and not disappoint them by cancelling appointments.
In addition to the relationship building aspect, hygienists also have the opportunity to reinforce clinical reasons patients should stay in active care. Whether its a great result from perio therapy that the patient wants to maintain or the need to monitor an issue with a restoration, specific conversations about these things can help retain patients in active care and keep them coming back frequently.
As I was scrolling through LinkedIn before writing this article, I saw a post about how teaching their team members to CONSISTENTLY use Please and Thank You has shot Chick-fil-A into the stratosphere of billion dollar sales, out-performing many other fast food chains. And the efficiency of their drive-thru system is something I’ve observed many times with complete awe. Reputation is something I’ve found to be a HUGE asset in building my own business. This often shows up for dental practices in online reviews and patient referrals. The time and care your hygiene team gives to your patients can certainly drive the quality AND quantity of reviews and that helps build your business.
According to business guru and thought innovator, Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach, there are 4 things that make us ‘Referable’.
1. Say Please and Thank you (there it is again)
2. Finish What You Start
3. Do What You Say You’re Going to Do
4. Stay On Time
If patients have to sit in the reception area for more than 5 minutes past their appointment time, they are going to be less likely to refer you to their friends and family. However, if you can achieve the holy grail of seating patients on time, nearly every time, you’ll have them talking about you, in a good way. Working as a team to complete the communication to the specialists like you said you were going to do, that helps too.
Certainly, you want a profitable hygiene department AND all these things can help you and your team achieve that goal. Remember, it’s not just about one player. It’s the coach’s (the leader) ability to see and develop the potential in the team and the team’s willingness to step up and give it their best.