Heather Nottingham discusses the critical role of patient service training. It’s important to remember patients appreciate the latest dental technology, but that won’t be the thing that brings them into the practice.
About Heather Nottingham
Heather is the VP of Training & Phone Skills Instructor at All-Star Dental Academy. She is a former retail sales trainer and manager for Bloomingdale’s, Kate Spade, and Theory, and a top new patient coordinator for a multi-million-dollar high-end dental practice where she personally increased revenue by over a million dollars in less than 18 months. She has over 24 years worth of customer service, training, and phone experience, and designed the All-Star Dental Academy Phone Success Course as well as the GREAT Call® Process.
Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.
This is Dental All-Stars, where we bring you the best in dentistry on marketing, management, and training. Hey everybody, Heather Nottingham here, VP of training and co-founder of All-Star Dental Academy. And today I wanted to talk a little bit about training versus technology for your practice. So I was talking to a dentist maybe one or two months ago.
And one of the things that he was saying is he’s like, I have a new team, everybody is kind of not on the same page. There’s a lot of inconsistencies and he recognized the need for training. But then he said he wanted to hold off and wait to start on his training until next year. And I was like, a year from now, that’s a really long time. What made you decide to hold off on training? And he said, well,
We just got a lot of technology for the office. We got a Seric machine and some different scanners and things like that. And so I feel like it would be in our best interest to pay those off first. And then once those are paid off, then we can go ahead and focus on training after that. And that’s always an interesting thing to me. And I think I wrote a blog post maybe a few years ago about technology versus training, but I wanted to readdress it because it’s a common thing that comes up with doctors.
I know my father-in-law is a dentist and he used to always be super interested in the newest latest gadgets. So I get it. It’s cool. You guys are techies. You want to have that. It’s important to have that in your practice, the technological part. But you never want to have that as a means to trying to get your patients. So what I mean is the technology does not attract the patients.
What attracts the patients, obviously, is your marketing and your customer service. So in an office that has all the cool gadgets and things like that, yes, you invested in it, but that’s not what’s gonna bring the patient in. So for example, if you have all these different scanners and things like that, that does not bring the patients. The patients don’t call up and say, oh my gosh, you have this technology, I’m gonna make an appointment because of that.
So my father-in-law’s practice for a bit of time, we actually didn’t have a lot of technology. We had paper charts, we didn’t have a lot of things up to date, but patients still came because of the wow factor of the customer service that we provided to them. And so for you all, I encourage you to think about like looking at things in terms of what’s more important. If the person calls up.
and they don’t get a good experience or they get an okay experience, but they don’t actually make an appointment to come to your practice, then they never get a chance to experience all the cool gadgets and technology and extra training that you’ve had as a dentist. They’re not gonna ever get to experience that. But on the flip side, if your team is well-trained, then the patients are going to make appointments, come in, be super excited.
And then they get to actually use and participate and partake in all of the equipment that you have in your office. So that’s always something interesting. And I know dentists love, like I said, they love the gadgets, they love the technology, they love the equipment. And even dentists think sometimes that just by having certain training or continuing education that that’s going to attract the patient. And yes, while those things are all super important.
If your team isn’t trained and people aren’t consistent and they’re not making a great first impression, the patient’s never going to come in and get to experience your training, get to experience the practice technology. So just something to think about in that you’re always training ABT, always be training, and make sure that you consider that important in your practice.
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