Friday, February 24, 2012

Patient compliance signs. A radical approach:

I don’t know about you, but when I walk into the physician’s
office, I can’t believe the posted signs at the front desk:

“Payment is expected when services are performed.”

“You must update your insurance information at each visit.”

“Cell phones must be turned of in the exam area.”

Etc. etc.

You need a rulebook to go to the doctor.

Why not be a different kind of dental office and take an
unexpected and fun approach to these every day issues:

Tear all the signs

Put one new sign up periodically for fun. Signs like these:

"HIPPA Notice:
We can’t tell anyone that you’re here, but you can! Make sure to check into our office on Facebook right now and let all your friends know you go to the best dentist in town!”

"Payment Policy: You no longer have to pay for treatment at the time of your visit! Make sure to ask us about convenient payment options that will put a smile on your face.”

"Cell Phone Policy: We value your time. Keep your phone ON and feel free
to text and e-mail while you wait. If you are one of the few who still talks on the phone, make sure to put it on speaker! We’d like to invite your friends to come see us too!”

Remember: If people like themselves better when they are in your office, they will want to repeat and refer. Don’t be the traditional, stuffy, stodgy, no-fun-to-be-with health professional. Put a smile on your patient's face and they will tell everyone about you.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Dr. Oz Defense Plan

What does Dr. Oz know about dentistry? Apparently not much! But you do!

Most of dentistry has just about had it with Dr. Oz. The television doctor personality continues to disseminate misleading dental information like dental x-rays cause thyroid cancer and recommending that patients negotiate with their dentist for lower fees. I am sure there will be more.

With a daily show to produce, I am sure there is a back room of producers working tirelessly to come up with something they think people will find of interest. Sometimes these producers get desperate.

If you get riled up about Dr. Oz, consider the following thoughts and actions:

1. Much of what is produced on this show is created by front line producers who are not too deep into facts. They are trying to be creative. Sometimes they are more creative than they are factual.

2. The target audience for the Dr. Oz Show is older women of the 60 year old plus variety. Not very many other people have the time to watch his show which airs during the work day. Unless you are a die-hard follower and you TiVO his show, the market is relatively limited.

3. Take a proactive stance. Keep an eye on anything that comes out in the media about dentistry. Be the local authority and set the record straight. Have information in your practice about what the truth really is about things that may have been broadcast or printed in the national media. Your patients will appreciate your being up-to-date and addressing what is going on today.

4. Negotiate fees? Why don’t you suggest people do that with their physician Dr. Oz? Oh, that’s because most physicians have no clue what they charge for anything. They have lost total control of their business model. I think Oz and his fellow physicians that lost their way from the “Emerald City” are just jealous!

5. Need a response for the occasional patient that wants to negotiate fees? “Mrs. Jones, we carefully set our fees once and explain them to our patients so we would never have to apologize for the quality of our work.” Everyone knows that you get what you pay for.

6. Get focused on what is working, not on what is not working. The effect that someone like Dr. Oz has on the whole market is minimal. When you get one or two comments from patients about things that sound related, it is easy to think it is a bigger problem than it really is. Focus on the patients that get it. Don’t give the small minority of patients more share of your mind than they deserve.

With that, I am off to Kansas…the real place Dorothy lived. After all, the whole “Oz” thing and the “Emerald City” were a dream, not reality. Remember? We should all treat Dr. Oz the same way.

Friday, February 10, 2012

How Do You Compete?

At our recent Crown Council Annual Event in Las Vegas, I highlighted some businesses worth emulating. One of my favorites is the Donut Stop in Amarrillo, Texas. Founders, Rose Martha and Jim Cates provide a great case study on how to stay competitive.

Their story is well-known in Amarillo. The hometown chain (Donut Stop) was put on notice when Krispy Kreme announced their entry into Amarrillo. Jim immediately packed his bags and went on a tour of Krispy Kreme locations around the country to see what they did well and what they did not do well. He returned with the data and they formed a new strategy.

In short, The Donut Stop attacked with what they did well that Krispy Kreme could not do at all. They accentuated their assets that were difficult to duplicate. The strategy was so successful that Krispy Kreme soon left town.

The mistake in “competition” is trying to outdo the other by doing what they do a little better. The Donut Stop didn’t even try to compete with Kripsy Kreme head to head. They looked for the differences and capitalized on them.

So the next time you are tempted to copy the office down the street and try to do what they do, but just a little better, STOP! Look for the things you do that the competition does not do and accentuate those assets that are difficult to duplicate. You’ll have a better chance of standing out from the rest and customers will beat a path to your door.