For years, we’ve been told that trying harder, working longer, and doing everything better than others is a surefire plan for success. While they likely had good intentions, they were spreading a myth.
In fact, that’s a surefire plan to burnout and shrinking profits over the long term. The reality is, building a unique culture for your practice will make you much more successful than trying harder, working longer, or obsessing with being the best at everything you do.
It can make you more money in less time, while at the same time turn patients into raving fans and team members into loyal and enthusiastic supporters.
Your patients care more about their experience at your practice than how hard you work or whether you’re 10% better than other dentists.
Your team members will be happier and more loyal when they are aligned with or can identify with your culture. They’ll feel an emotional connection with your business and won’t just show up for a paycheck.
You’ll make more money in less time because you’ll differentiate your practice from others. When you’re the only practice serving patients like you do, you can charge higher fees and work fewer hours. Your patients will leave happier because their experience will be a pleasant change from the norm. They won’t just be paying for the dental work you do.
Follow these two steps to take control of your culture and keep it top-of-mind as you build your dental practice.
1. Decide what will be unique about your practice.
Will yours be the practice that gives patients high-end experiences? Will yours be the practice with an on-time guarantee, so your patients schedule with confidence? Will yours be the practice that gives back to the community? You get to choose.
Culture can mean different things to different dental practices. If you’re not sure what culture you want for your practice, a great way to get ideas is to ask your patients. We did that in our practice to find out what they wanted, what mattered most to them, so we could focus on those things.
Our patients told us they wanted to be seen on time, have quality and consistency with their dental services, and to have a great experience in our office. When we learned that, we decided that our practice would become about providing VIP amenities to our patients while we respected their time and treated them like family.
2. Match your practice to the culture you desire.
In our practice, we do several things to reinforce the VIP and family-like culture we were looking to build.
For the VIP experience, we give iPads and headphones to patients to block out the sounds. We also give complimentary arm and hand massages to our patients before their visit. We enforce an on-time guarantee to let the patients know we respect their time and call them right away if we’re running late.
To create a more familial environment, we showcase pictures of us having fun with our patients, as well as participating in community activities. We invest in team development and praise our team members for their contributions to our practice and culture. We don’t just praise them behind closed doors, either. We openly acknowledge and praise them in front of patients and on social media, too, so everyone knows how great our team is.
These are just some of the things we do to reinforce our practice’s culture. What you do, and what you don’t do, will create your company culture. When building your culture, ask yourself what you could add or change to promote yours, too.
What culture will you build?
Your practice’s culture does far more than make sure your patients’ experience is pleasant. It will determine the story they tell their friends and family about your practice. It will determine what your practice will become known for. It will influence whether patients come back or whether new patients come in.
You can take control of the story your patients tell by taking control of the culture of your practice. By developing a world-class practice culture, you’ll be well on your way to building a practice that can run without you.
You’ll also greatly reduce your chances of burning out like the dentists who buy into the lie that you need to try harder, work longer, or be better at everything in order to succeed.