Hospitality: The Secret Sauce in Business Success

Hospitality as the “secret sauce” in business success was explained recently in a segment on 60 Minutes. The interview featured Danny Meyer, an incredibly successful restaurateur. Meyer wrote a book called Setting the Table in 2009 that has since been reprinted and made available in an electronic format. You can find it on amazon.com

Meyer made it big in the restaurant business in New York. “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” as the song says. It is even more impressive that Meyer achieved his phenomenal entrepreneurial success in the restaurant business, where the competition is brutal, profit margins are small, and so many things can go wrong.

His formula is simple yet compelling. Meyer says that in a restaurant, it is obvious that if the food is not good, then no one is going to come back. For that reason, he places tremendous emphasis on quality control—freshness, tried and true recipes that people like, attractive presentation, and ingredients that all work together to give customers a great taste sensation. People come for the food; the food has to consistently meet and exceed expectations.

The other, equally important factor is hospitality, the “secret sauce.” Meyer says that people have to have a great experience when they come to a restaurant. He explains that the experience is provided not only by friendly and competent servers, but by everyone in the restaurant who interacts with customers.

Meyer is always moving from table to table. He smiles, makes small talk, asks for feedback, and thanks people for coming in. The pride he takes in his work is evident and he genuinely wants everyone to have a good time. People like him and they appreciate the hospitality as much as they like the food.

I saw this philosophy in action recently. I had lunch at a modest, family-run restaurant in a small town. The food was very good, but the experience was memorable because of the hospitality. The owner came out, introduced himself, thanked me for being a first-time customer, and explained that he is building his business one satisfied customer at a time. We had an enjoyable conversation. By the time I left the restaurant, I felt that I had made a friend. The next time I drive thorough that town, I will visit my friend the restaurant owner and have another meal. I have also told others about the restaurant.

I know dentists who not only provide quality dental care, but who walk into the reception area and greet patients. They are always gracious hosts, welcoming new patients, catching up with loyal patients of record, and connecting with everyone who comes to see them.

In these practices, people come back and tell their friends because the hospitality is as impressive as the dentistry.

www.davidschwab.com

Get the Word Out: New Docs Joining Dental Practices

Summer is here and new doctors are joining dental practices.  Here are two great tips to get the word out to patients and the community.

First, send an e-mail or letter to patients of record and be sure to include a photo of the new doctor and the established doctor.  Show them smiling and shaking hands.  The established doctor has spent years building up trust with patients.  A photo of two doctors shaking hands strongly implies that the mantle of trust is now being shared with the new doctor.  If a new doctor is joining a group practice, then you need a photo of all the current doctors welcoming their new colleague.

One patient said that he had not been to see his dentist in two years.  He remembered getting a photo of the two doctors, so he called the practice and made an appointment with the new doctor.  He said he might have forgotten or passed over a written notice, but the image stuck in his mind.  When he was ready to seek dental services, he contacted the new dentist.

Next, send out a news release.  You want to generate some publicity for your practice, and bringing in a new doctor qualifies as “news.”  To learn more about the power of news releases, see my blog called “Five Ways News Releases Help Your Dental Practice.”

You may have heard the phrase, “yesterday’s news.”  For something to be newsworthy, it has to be fresh and new.  If the new doctor is joining the practice this summer, then now is the time to get the news release out.  Don’t wait until the fall or the end of the year; act now while the information is timely.  You should begin planning to get your release out even if the new doctor has not officially started.

I help practices get the word out to patients and the public about new events by creating well-crafted letters and news releases.  Take advantage of my “summer special.”  Contact me now for a free consultation and let’s talk about getting the word out regarding the new doctor in the practice: drdavidschwab@gmail.com.

www.davidschwab.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Reviews for Your Dental Practice: Five Stars on Google

Reviews by happy patients on any review site are always welcome, but the ones that count the most are Google.  Why are five-star Google reviews so valuable?

Google loves Google.  When you have many five-star reviews, you rank higher in search engine results.

When patients see five-star Google reviews, they are more likely to choose your practice.  A recent survey showed that 90% of respondents said that positive reviews of businesses influenced their purchasing decisions.

Those great testimonials on other sites are certainly worth having, but Google is the “gold standard.”  You gain credibility.  Think about it.  Because you are serving the public, you need a steady stream of new patients.  Those patients use Google.  They are influenced by what others are saying.  Take a look at how many great Google reviews your competitors have racked up and you be motivated to get more of your own.

You first have to create or claim your Google business listing. Navigate to Google My Business.

Just follow the instructions.  Make sure that the information is correct and be sure to add a photo if one is not already on your listing.

Ask patients who have already given you a five-star review to please review you on Google.  If you get just one new, five-star Google review per month, you will reap great benefits over time.

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What is Your Biggest Challenge?

Take advantage of a FREE consultation to help you deal with your biggest challenge.

It could be:

  • Need more patients
  • Practice not growing
  • Staff issues
  • No shows
  • Case acceptance

You tell me.  This phone consultation is designed to help you.  I promise you that this is NOT a sales pitch.  My goal is to help you.  Consider it a “try before you buy.”

What’s the catch?  Time slots are limited and this offer will end soon.   This is a “summer special!”

Contact me now to arrange a time: drdavidschwab@gmail.com

David Schwab, Ph.D.

www.davidschwab.com

 

 

 

 

Five Great Ways to Answer the Cost Question

Many patients are shoppers and they often raise the cost question.  They want to know why it costs so much or they say they can get it cheaper somewhere else.  Here are five great responses.

  1. It’s never cheaper to do it twice. In our office, we are often called upon to give second opinions or to re-treat patients who were initially treated in another office.  Our goal is to do it once and do it right.  When you come to our office, you get the benefit of our time, our expertise, and the best dental materials available.
  2. Dentistry is an art and a science, and all treatment is unique. You can get similar treatment in another office, but just as every original work of art is one-of-a-kind, the care we provide is unique to this office.
  3. We occasionally lose patients because of fees, but we never lose patients because of quality. It’s always possible to shop around and find a lower fee, and we do not claim to be the lowest priced dental practice in our area.  However, we offer quality dental care.  We have many loyal patients who want only the best dental care possible.
  4. We invite you to review our testimonials. We understand that patients have concerns about fees, and we think that our best ambassadors are previous patients who have had extensive treatment in our office.  We have many happy patients because we have high standards and we truly care about our patients.
  5. Don’t compare apples and oranges when you ask the cost question. Sometimes patients are told that they can get “it” cheaper in another office, but that begs the question—what is “it”?  Be sure that you are comparing the exact same scope of treatment.  Ask about experience and follow-up care.  Savvy shoppers often choose us not because we have the lowest fee, but because we offer the best value.

When you are prepared for the cost question, you can confidently address patients’ concerns and reaffirm your commitment to quality dentistry.

 

www.davidschwab.com

 

Great Interview Questions to Help You Hire the Right Person in Your Dental Practice

Great interview questions, also called “killer” questions, were the subject of a previously published article.  You can see that information by clicking here.  Here are 10 more essential questions to help you find the right person.

My comments to you appear after each question in square brackets [like this].

  1. What marketing strategies should the practice use to attract new patients? [This one is on the list of great interview questions because marketing is everyone’s job.  You should not expect someone to give you a complete marketing plan, but everyone who works in a dental office should have ideas about practice growth.
  2. How will you help implement these ideas? [You want to know how your prospective employee will help in this regard, not just give you advice.]
  3. What are you looking for in a boss? [If the person gives a bland answer such as “nice” or “fair,” probe more deeply.  How does the person define those terms?]
  4. What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you? [Interviews can be stressful.  This question is designed to lighten the tone and let you find out if the interviewee has a sense of humor.]
  5. Someone who has not decided on a career asks you about opportunities in dentistry. What would you tell that person?  What pros and cons would you bring up?  [Prepare to be enlightened.  This answer will reveal whether the interviewee is truly dedicated to the dental profession and whether they are an optimist or a pessimist.]
  6. What are your interpersonal strengths? [The word “interpersonal” is key. Someone might talk about a specific skills, such as organizational ability, which is commendable, but you want to know about interpersonal strengths.  You are looking for someone who can get along with many different personality types.]
  7. No one is perfect. What are your weaknesses?  [There are people who try to spin this answer.  Someone might say, “Sometimes I work too hard” or “I have a tendency to be a perfectionist.”  You are looking for an honest self-assessment.]
  8. Describe a high pressure situation related or unrelated or unrelated to dentistry that you dealt with in the past. How did you handle it?  [Dealing with stress is an important skill.  This answer to this question will be very revealing.]
  9. Who has been the most important person in your own self-development? [Most people have mentors, role models, heroes.  You want to know about these key people who helped shape the interviewee.]
  10. Why do you have a passion for dentistry? [Of all the great interview questions, this one may be the best.  It assumes that the person does indeed have a passion for dentistry.  Be wary of the person who searches in vain for an answer, or the person who describes their “passion” in very flat terms.]

Caution: Do not conduct an interview with a prospective employee without using this list of great interview questions.  You and your practice deserve the best, and this list is a valuable aid.

www.davidschwab.com

 

Five Ways News Releases Help Your Dental Practice

News releases help your dental practice in five major ways:

  1. News releases are a great way to boost your website search engine optimization (SEO). When a news release is published nationwide through a news distribution service, it will likely appear on the websites of various newspapers and television stations.  Your practice website URL is included as a link in the release, so you will have what are called “backlinks” to your website on those media sites.  Backlinks are very valuable for SEO because if your website is important enough to be included as a link on another website, then Google will rank your website higher for search purposes.   It does not matter if your release appears on a news website in another state.  It is true that if you are in Chicago you will not get patients from a local television news station’s website in Dallas, but Google is still likely to reward you for the link with a higher search engine ranking.
  2. The release may be picked up by your local media. It’s not a given, because competition for news release placement is strong, but a media outlet in your area could either choose to publish the release on its website or—best case scenario—contact you for an interview.  While you cannot expect your release to appear on page one of your local newspaper, the goal is to have it published on many media websites, and your local media outlets are logical targets.
  3. A professionally done release looks impressive. The release can be printed in PDF format.  You can frame it and put it on a wall, include it in patient information packets, or pass it out at health fairs.  Specialists can distribute the release to referring dentists.  You should also, of course, publish the electronic version on your own website.
  4. News releases have “legs,” which means that releases show up in Internet searches for a considerable period of time. I have written news releases for doctors and found them by doing a Google search for the doctor’s name eighteen months after distribution.  The more hits for your name or your practice’s name on Google, the better.  In addition, it is impressive when someone finds a news release about you on the Internet, because it makes you look important and newsworthy.
  5. The news release is searchable content on the Internet. If you practice in Nashville and the release is about your work with dental implants, for example, then someone may find your name because they are searching for “dental implants Nashville.”  The release pops up on a media website, you are positioned as the expert, and the release has a link to your practice website.

Opportunities for news release content abound.

You may have great material for news releases if:

  • You have won an award or received other recognition.
  • A new doctor has joined the practice.
  • You have opened or renovated a dental office.
  • You have lectured at a major dental meeting.
  • You have introduced a new treatment modality into your practice.
  • You are the first or only doctor in your area to incorporate certain equipment or modalities into your practice.
  • You have published an article in a scientific journal and you want to share the information with the public in laymen’s terms.

Writing and publishing news releases will require a degree of experience and expertise.  If you have an idea for a release or questions about the process and would like some guidance, please contact me.  Sending out a news release is a straightforward project that requires very little of the doctor’s time and has the potential to significantly benefit the practice.

www.davidschwab.com

Social Media Content–An Unlimited Source in Your Dental Practice

Social media content–as much as you’ll every need–is right in your own practice.  Your patients provide unlimited content for social media, because you tell their stories.  I write social media content for doctors as a turnkey service, but whether I write it or  you do it yourself, the stories from your practice are unique.

I always use an attention-getting headline.  Listed below are three excerpts (not the full blogs) of stories from three different practices that really grab the reader’s attention.  These constituent great social media content.

  1. “If you hurt me, doc, I’m going to throw  you out the window.”

A patient who was a professional football player came in to see me.  He had known that his upper teeth in particular were failing for a long time and also was told that he was losing them and that he would have to wear a denture.  He said that he just could not wear a denture because it was not in his personality and he was a tough guy.  In fact, he threatened to throw me out the window if I hurt him.  We are on the second floor with shatterproof glass, so I knew that was not going to be a pleasant experience.  [The blog ends with the story of how the patient was very happy with treatment.]

  1. Patient Too Embarrassed for Years for Photos Now Smiles for the Camera with Her Son

I had a patient had never had another picture taken with her then 13-year-old son after the day he was born.  She had only one picture taken when her son was born. She lacked confidence due to her dental issues, and she did not have any more pictures taken until, literally, the day that we delivered, not only her implants, but her immediate fixed teeth.

That was actually the first time in almost 13 years that she had a picture taken with her son.  I had no idea that we were making that kind of an impact.  I thought I was simply helping a woman who was having trouble chewing due to failing dentition.  The implant dentistry treatment gave her confidence and changed her life in more ways than one.

  1. “Wow!”  That’s What Patients Say After Dental Laser Treatment

The comment I get most often from patients after laser surgery is, “Wow!  It was so much easier than I expected.”  Patients tell me that they hardly have any discomfort.  They may take an over the counter product such as Motrin or Tylenol for two days at the most and then they report that they feel fine. 

As you can see from these examples, your social media content should be interesting and educational.  When the content is about your practice and your patients, it is customized and compelling.

davidschwab.com

 

How to Write Killer Content for Social Media

Wanted: killer content.  In my last blog I talked about how to fill up your blog “bucket” on your website with content and send that content out to social media.  (Click here to see that post.)  Here are some tips for writing killer social media content.

  1. Start with a compelling title.  If you are writing about dental implants, for example, here’s a sample title:  Dental implants Give Woman, 85, New Lease on Life Says Dallas Dentist Dr. John Smile.  The opening provides a success story in just a few words. There is an 85-year-old woman who is now very happy with dental implants, so the reader is thinking that, yes, older adults can have dental implants.
  2. Put key words in the title. “Dental implants” is a good choice.  Notice also that the phrase “Dallas dentist” is included.  Some people search for that exact term.  The doctor’s name is also included in the headline.  You want to be very visible on the web.  The more times your name is mentioned in a professional context, the better.
  3. Limit the title to no more than 70 characters, including spaces. There are different authorities who will give you a slightly lower or higher number, but 70 characters maximum for a blog title will work out fine.  If the title is longer, it will likely be cut off by the search engine results page (SERP).
  4. Make the blog interesting and informative. Here is an excerpt from the body of the blog:  “When I first met her, the patient was unhappy.  She could not eat the foods of her choice and she thought she was too old to have dental implant treatment.  Now that her dental implant treatment has been completed, she never stops smiling!  She eats all her favorite foods, she has a terrific smile, and she does not have to worry about traditional dentures that slip, click, or cause embarrassment.  She says she feels young again thanks to dental implants, and she certainly acts that way.”  Now that’s killer content!
  5. Include a link to your website at the end of the blog. Some people will click and be taken right to your website.  Your content is not only about your practice; it leads back to your practice.
  6. Use different authors. When I write blogs and social media content for dental practices, I interview not only the doctor, but team members as well.  The result is that there are blogs from the doctor and also some from the unique perspective of the team
  7. Include an image to make the blog post memorable.  An image helps give the blog credibility and may induce someone to spend extra time looking at your blog post and reading it.  A great site for finding free images is pexels.com.

In Part 3, I will discuss how to find a never-ending source of killer content for your blogs and social media accounts right in own practice.

www.davidschwab.com

How Blog and Social Media Content Boost SEO (Part 1)

Social media and blogs significantly help SEO.  A website that looks great but ranks on page two is akin to being exiled to Siberia; anything lower than page two and you might as well advertise your practice on Neptune.  So how to you get to and stay on page one of Google?

To keep up your rankings, you need to post a regular blog and then push that same content out to your social media accounts.

What is a blog?

The term “blog” is an amalgamation of two words: web and log.  Blog is an unfortunate term because it sounds like a Soviet housing project.  Linguistic prejudice aside, I can define a blog as an article written to inform.  Think of a regular newspaper column on sports or politics.  On the Internet, the columnist would be called a “blogger.”   Use your blog to as your personal column in your own publication (your website) to tell people what you do and invite them to come to your office so you can solve their dental problems.

How long is a blog?

Unlike newspaper columns that have rigid length requirements due to space considerations, a blog can be almost any length. However, Google wants blogs to be at least 300 words in length, because Google does not want to reward frequently blogging with higher search engine rankings if a blog is only one sentence long.  Some “long form” blogs are thousands of words in length and they can greatly help SEO, but those types of blogs will be discussed at another time.  For now, think 300 words.

What does the blog live?

The blog should be visible or at least accessible on your website.  It’s a simple matter for your webmaster to install a button that people can click to access your blog.   Blog hosting can be handled in many different ways.  Many blogs are hosted by WordPress, a service that makes posting very easy.  In fact, if you can copy and paste text in Microsoft Word, then you can figure out how to copy your article into WordPress to create a blog.

How does a blog help SEO?

Two ways.  First, by posting regularly (once a week or at least several times per month), you continually add new content to your website and that helps SEO.  Second, you can push the blog out to your social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter.  When someone clicks on the headline content on Facebook, for example, the entire blog opens.  If everything has been set up properly, the reader is actually now on your website, which of course means one more click.  Google gives you credit for lots of clicks because Google thinks your website must be important if it is drawing many visitors.

How do I find the time to write a blog?

Writing a blog can be time consuming.  Web developers are continually asking doctors for content, and doctors always say that they do not have time.  I have developed a blog and social media creation service.  I write all the content for an entire year based on a phone interview with the doctor and staff.  When this customized content is “in the bank,” so to speak, it is easy to grab a new ready-to-go blog each week and post it.  Problem solved.

If you prefer to write blogs yourself, I will discuss the elements of a good blog and give you tips in my next posting, Part 2.

www.davidschwab.com

 

Don’t Text and Drive (Your Dental Practice)

Dental procedures require focus.  You concentrate on the task at hand and you do not want to be interrupted.  However, when it comes to managing the practice, there is a tendency to multitask.  Many doctors grab a few minutes of desk time and then overload their circuits.  They text, read e-mails, go through their stacks of stuff, talk on the phone, and try to carry on a conversation with an employee and make management decisions.

What’s wrong with this picture?  In their illuminating book entitled The One Thing: The Surprising Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller and Jay Papason point out the fallacy of multitasking.  It turns out that the brain, like any given computer, has a limited amount of computing capacity. When we multitask, we end up doing several things not nearly as well as we could do one thing.  Research shows that distractions are interruptions that slow us down, detract from the quality of work, and ultimately make tasks longer and harder to complete.  That’s why it’s dangerous to text and drive a vehicle, and why it’s also not good for the health of your practice for you to text or otherwise multitask while managing your business.

When management is just one more ball to juggle, it does not get the attention it deserves.  Decisions are rushed or delayed, employees do not get clear direction or feedback, and problems fester.  By attempting to do too much at one time, not enough time and energy are focused on the complex task of management.  The result is that small management problems are easily glossed over and until they grow into large problems that threaten employee morale and practice production.

There are two solutions.  First, management has to be a priority.  When you are making business decisions, you need the same clarity, focus, and sense of purpose that you bring to the task of establishing an accurate diagnosis for a patient.  Second, you need to have an office manager—even in a small practice—who handles administrative matters and calls your attention to important issues for decision making.

At any given time, the one management task that you are trying to accomplish is important.  Focus.  Give it your all.

www.davidschwab.com