“The only thing worse than training your employees
and having them leave is NOT training them and having them stay.” — Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motor Company
In this challenging hiring environment, many dentists have holes in their team. And too many practices think it is better to delay training efforts until they get those positions filled.
“I want to get everyone started at the same time.”
“There are other things that they need to learn first.”
“I don’t want to spend money on training until I know that they will stay on.”
Any of those excuses sound familiar?
Failing to train your team – whatever team you have – is a flawed approach to the business of dentistry.
Employee training directly impacts the bottom line, yet dentists not working with their teams to improve skills don’t realize that they are putting their business at risk – risk of lower revenues, poor patient experiences, and falling behind their competitors who ARE training.
Training Makes Your Team Better at Their Jobs
Every dental practice owner wants their team to function at peak performance.
However, dentists often fail to see the obvious and direct connection between high productivity and training. Rather than “wishing” your team was more effective, you need to understand that the ability to perform at your best is an acquired trait. Everyone, no matter their job (for example professional athletes) needs continual training to stay sharp.
Training will expand your employees’ knowledge and skillset and give them the confidence to expertly tackle the job. Moreover, a well-trained staff will approach every day with a “can-do” attitude. Everyone benefits from lower stress that comes with higher productivity.
Additionally, your front office team’s performance in handling calls, appointment requests, and scheduling is profoundly affected by training. This has a direct effect on overall office revenue. Training on phone and customer service skills also has other follow-on benefits: improving show-up rates, case acceptance, and referrals. Failing to train means that the team you DO have is not working to their best. They make mistakes that affect patient satisfaction.
A Confident Approach to Working with Patients
Have you ever experienced something like this: You visit a shop for a routine errand, but the employee helping you is new or poorly trained. They hem and haw at answering basic questions, and often need to turn to senior staff to finally help you with your task.
How would you likely rate your experience? People generally have grace for a new employee to get up to speed, but what if this happened every time you visited the shop? Or with every employee in the store? You’d probably take your business elsewhere.
Now consider the parallels with a new or poorly trained front office team member on the phone with a potential new patient. People calling up to get information about a practice before deciding which one to use for their oral health are pretty impatient and will likely thank you and move on when their needs on a call are not expertly met.
If that happens multiple times a day due to an untrained team member, you are losing out on tens of thousands in revenue.
Getting Patients to “Yes”
The effects of poor call-handling do not end with new patient appointments. A properly handled new patient call is the first element of an amazing and memorable patient experience, which leads directly to successful treatment presentation and acceptance.
Patients that are made to feel like just another body by poorly trained staff certainly won’t have a great start to their experience and are more likely to change or break an appointment. And those that do show up tend to delay acceptance due to a lack of trust. They may even take your treatment plan and go to another dentist.
Training gives your team the techniques to develop trust and build a friendly relationship – meaning patients will be more likely to accept treatment recommendations and share the story of their wonderful new dentist with friends and family.
A Hidden Solution to Turnover?
Not only does a staff member leaving throw a wrench into your well-oiled production machine, it is incredibly expensive. Bent Erickson and Associates, dental HR experts, estimates that replacing an employee can cost upwards of three times the position’s salary. Even for an entry-level admin, that is incredibly costly.
Ask an HR authority about the best way to replace an employee and they will emphatically state that the best path is to do your very best to RETAIN the employees you have.
Turnover is a natural part of running a business, and despite best efforts at retention, sometimes things are out of our control.
But it has been proven that training team members not only improves practice revenue, it also decreases turnover. Practices that train consistently decrease turnover by 67% and the team members are likely to stay an average of three years or more. Since turnover is disruptive and expensive, training is the best way to counteract that.
And in this current hiring environment, it could take you a long time to find the “perfect” person to fill an opening. In the meantime, failing to train the team does a disservice to the rest of the team and practice.
Imagine if a sports team was down a player and decided to stop training until they found a replacement. Everything about performance would suffer.
The Bottom Line is YOUR Success
Being a dental practice owner, your plate will be full (overflowing?) most of the time. From serving patients to growing your business and managing staff, a lot rides on your shoulders. The last thing you want is the added task of hand-holding new or poorly trained team members with sub-par skills.
Their performance (or lack thereof) will distract you from your core responsibilities and add unnecessary headaches to the day.
However, a well-trained team – even if you are a person or two down – will perform their best. Their best ensures high new patient phone call to appointment conversion, builds your confidence in the schedule, improves patient trust and case acceptance, and allows you to focus on doing what you do best.
When you consider all these factors, it becomes quite clear why team training is an absolute must-have, and why you should start training the people you have rather than make excuses. Avoid the hits to your time, stress, and money by making sure that the team you have is trained to do the best job possible.
Download our FREE eBook – Dental Practice Excellence – 3 Steps to an All-Star Practice. We explore how minor changes in your approach to training on phone skills and scheduling, and the positive impact training has on your employees will help you take your practice productivity to pre-pandemic levels.