BY JoAn Majors
"Thank you for choosing our practice!" This is nothing new, just a phrase heard often around dental practices everywhere. Or is it? We know that it is written on recare cards, welcome letters, and new-patient forms. But how often do we really say this?
In honor of Thanksgiving and 2012 nearing its end, I thought it would be nice to share with teams the power of a "thank you" — to patients, vendors, team members, or the doctor(s).
I've always been a big proponent of saying thank you to the doctor — the one who makes sure there's a paycheck when times are slow or the office has a flood, fire, natural disaster, or other unforeseen issue that affects the bottom line. When you drive to work on a day that the temperature is 104 degrees or 14 degrees, it is great to know that your work will not be done in harsh temperatures. That's something to be thankful for, right?
Let's agree to say thank you daily — many times per day. How many times have you told your doctor thank you? Thank you for making sure your paycheck is on time, for holidays off, and for a great work schedule. He or she is the only one in real jeopardy of missing a paycheck in a tough economy, or of paying late fees because a registration was not in on time. Who is concerned when the office alarm goes off in the middle of the night? The doctor goes in knowing he or she still has to provide care the next day with a smile and no sleep.
What about a vendor who goes out of the way to bring that certain handpiece, torque wrench, curing light, or temporary compressor when yours is out and you need one immediately? Consider the lab that comes to your rescue when the date for return and the patient appointment don't jive as they should. Would it be appropriate to thank the folks who make our lives a little easier? I think so.
Let's get back to the patients. The remainder of the year, concentrate on looking at the schedule each day in your morning huddle and deciding which team member will say to each (great) patient, "Thank you for choosing our practice." It will come as a welcome surprise when it is verbalized.
In addition, this will often open up conversations that will allow you to ask great patients for referrals of family and friends just like them. Besides this, you feel good when showing appreciation to others, and it comes back twofold.
Take time as year-end approaches to make a list of those you should thank for helping you reach your goals — whether personal or professional — during 2012. Write a quick note or send an email to those on your list. Perhaps it is a parent, preacher, professor, team member, or spouse. Take the time to write the letter. You will not know how far reaching it is until one day you hear of the value someone placed on the note you wrote. It is worth the time.
To my readers, thank you for the privilege of allowing me to come into your practices and share with your teams. Thank you for your many emails, notes, and calls, and I learn from all of them.
For Dr. Joe Blaes, special thanks for believing team members would read and use this practical information, and for allowing me the freedom to share what is on my mind and in my heart. The industry is better for the information you put forward. Finally, Genna Leutzinger, thank you for understanding all of us analytical and creative thinkers, and for being so kind, yet firm, to the many who do not know the meaning of a deadline.
It has been a year to be thankful, and I hope you will join me in sharing these thanks with those deserving in your circles. As I say at the close of every seminar I do, "Look for the gift in every day. It's there; you just have to decide to open it."
Until next time, here's a quote to contemplate from the book, "EncourageMentors," "Pay attention to others with one's own heart and head directly connected." See you on the road.
JoAn Majors is a registered dental assistant, published author, and professional speaker. For more information on having JoAn speak to your group, her books, or her seminars, visit www.joanmajors.com or call (866) 51-CHOICE. The time is now; the choice is yours!