The clinic staff has a huge impact on the customer’s decision about where to receive treatment and what treatment to undergo. Clients tend to consult with the clinic staff (receptionists, assistants, clinic administrators, and dental hygienist) more than with the dentist. The reason for this is that customers maintain a kind of distance from the dentist and feel more comfortable consulting with the staff: “I’m worried about the sinus elevation. What does it include? In all honesty, is he a good dentist? Does he have any experience with this procedure?”
Of course, in most cases, the clinic staff has a positive opinion of the dentist and the clinic, and they will recommend the clinic. The question is in what manner is this done and how positive is the recommendation? When someone recommends something, the conviction of the recommendation is just as crucial as the messages conveyed. For example, in a case where a client asks the assistant whether the dentist is a good surgeon, one assistant will answer in a lukewarm, tentative manner, “Look, you have nothing to worry about; he’s a good dentist. I do not know him enough because he comes to us once a month, but I have not heard of any problems with him. In short, you have nothing to be afraid of.”
Another assistant in another clinic will answer in a much more determined manner, “Are you asking about our surgeon Dr. Jones? My dear, he is one of the best surgeons in the country! He is a senior practitioner in a hospital and certified as Mouth and Jaw specialist. He has been a surgeon for over 15 years and has done so many sinus lifts that it’s like child’s play for him. By the way, he even lectures to dentists overseas on dental implants and sinus lifts. I’ve been here for several years now, and judging by the amount of chocolate that customers bring him after treatment, you can set your mind at ease.” It is quite clear which recommendation will cause the client to decide immediately to undergo the sinus lift at the clinic, and which recommendation will cause the client to hesitate and perhaps want to get a second opinion from another clinic.
If this is the case, the clinic must not leave its fate in the hands of the staff and hope that they are able to convey clear messages to customers. The clinic owner must guide the staff and make sure that they have enough information to pass on to customers if necessary. The first thing the clinic owner needs and must do is create team spirit.
Your goal is to create a team spirit that is so high that your team will believe with all their hearts that the treatments performed at your clinic are the best treatments at the best prices. Even if your prices are higher than your direct competitors, your team must understand and believe that treatment in the clinic is worth every penny and that the customers, in fact, pay less than they should compared to what they get. If your team thinks the customers pay an exorbitant price, naturally their recommendations to customers will be lukewarm.
So how do you create team spirit?
Very simple: a customer comes for front bridge treatment and the result is amazing? Great – stop all activity at the clinic and ask the whole staff to come and see the beautiful work. More than that, show them the “before” pictures and point out the difference.
This is not a matter of arrogance. It is a simple issue: the clinic is selling dental treatments, and the result is the final product. Your staff must see and understand what customers end up with. Only if your team sees the deliverables, they will be able to recommend the dentists and treatments to the clinic’s clients in a convincing and unequivocal manner. If not, they will only continue defending why the treatments are more expensive than in other clinics and why there are delays with the appointments.
Other situations you should share with your entire team in order to create team spirit are less pleasant, but necessary: Did a customer come to the clinic after receiving bad dental care at another clinic? For example, is an implant in a strange place? Call the whole team in and show them the case. Do not tell the team who the dentist is, not to make it personal – in general, you should be careful about competitors – but it is important that the staff know that the quality of dental treatment performed at your clinic is not to be taken for granted and that a client who decides not to receive care at your clinic risks receiving bad dental care. In conclusion, the team that will best market the clinic is one who believes that the treatments at your clinic are the best and that the treatments in other clinics are not as good.
Additionally, information should be provided to the clinic staff so that they can transmit accurate and appropriate messages to customers. It may be difficult to believe, but I have encountered quite a few receptionists in dental clinics who do not know the exact difference between a specialist and a general dentist, or what the prices of the competitors are, or what is the difference between a zirconia crown and a regular porcelain crown except for the price. How can your team face a customer and recommend the surgeon at the clinic, making it clear that the prices are perfectly reasonable, and that zirconia crowns should be chosen for the front teeth, if they do not have the accurate information?
There are clinics that take this matter a few steps further and actually hold a class for the staff once a month. They gather during the lunch break for about an hour and present interesting cases and medical treatments that took place at the clinic, excellent results of treatments, etc. Of course, this is the optimal thing to do, but a clinic that does not do this should at least do the above-mentioned in order to create the right team spirit at the clinic.