Pearly & Mint Blog

The Office

Differing Opinions and How to Talk About It

Opinions

Everyone Has an Opinion

There are all sorts of issues that polarize human beings. For example, you may have different opinions regarding religion or politics than your neighbors. Still, there is an expectation that these differing opinions don’t necessarily lead to any hostility or confrontation. Technology has also changed how we talk to each other since social media allows us to have conversations with people that we never actually met in real life.

Hundreds of millions of people use social media every day, and they all might have very different opinions and perspectives. Some people might not truly understand how to discuss and talk through these different opinions in a civil manner. Abortion, for example, is a polarizing topic that could lead to a hostile discussion. Here are some tips on how to disagree with other people while remaining calm and rational.

Think About Timing

There are some situations where it just isn’t time to discuss a controversial topic. For example, let’s say that you disagree with your friend about politics. You may have wanted to plan a conversation with them regarding different opinions on a specific topic and plan to bring it up.

Of course, if it is that person’s birthday and they are celebrating at a bar with other friends, this would be a terrible time to bring up politics at all. People should make sure that they talk through differing opinions in a more comfortable atmosphere of some kind. If you are alone at your house and invite your friend over, it might make more sense to speak more freely about different opinions in that setting.

Look for Agreements

It is very unlikely that you will run into someone that simply disagrees with everything that you think. One of the best ways to talk about differing opinions is to find common ground and start the conversation from there. This could potentially change the entire tone of the interaction, as your conversation partner might be able to see things from your perspective easier.

Think about points that you might be willing to concede or reconsider and speak about how they might be right about certain parts of an issue. No one wants to feel like they are being tricked or persuaded into a debate, because that can be quite uncomfortable. However, they might be more willing to talk if they understand that you don’t disagree with them on everything. For example, phrases like, “Can we agree that people deserve safety?” or “Can we agree that someone’s healthcare is their private business?” are helpful in finding common ground.

Listen More

Let’s say that you want to speak with an old friend about a topic that you know that you feel strongly about. You might bring up the topic and make it clear that you want to speak about it. At this point, they might agree that it is an excellent time to speak about the topic. What if you just rambled on for the next five minutes about how that friend is wrong for their opinion? That wouldn’t be conducive to a conversation.

If you put yourself in their shoes, it’s easy to see how you might feel as though you are being attacked. One of the best ways to speak through differing opinions is to listen more. Individuals should clarify that they actively want to know what your conversation partner is thinking and that their perspective is valued. To continue listening, try paraphrasing back their ideas or asking something like, “By saying [X], are you meaning [Y]?” and you can learn more about where they’re coming from.

Don’t Say “But”

You might be very passionate about your opinion, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, you shouldn’t be interrupting the other person in the conversation because you are burning to counter their point. If you find that you keep telling that person, “But–”, it might be a sign that you are listening only to talk, rather than actively listening to your conversation partner.

If you are not even giving the other person room to speak, they might feel as though it is useless to elaborate on their position. You will probably find that if you let the other person in the conversation speak, they might feel like it’s easier to talk to you.

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The Office

Effective Dental Practice Huddles

Dental Huddles

Effective Dental Practice Huddles

Many business owners and entrepreneurs acknowledge that they may be holding more meetings than they should. Believe it or not, some of the most well-known entrepreneurs actively avoid meetings. Many organizations believe that “huddles” are more necessary, requiring less time than usual meetings. For those who are unaware, huddles are short meetings where employees where team members update each other on their schedules, priorities, and any potential issues.

It can be quite challenging to run a dental practice, and there are many different factors to consider. You might be running a dental practice in a city where there is a tremendous amount of competition, or you may be having issues when it comes to patient attrition. You may find that dental practice huddles can help when it comes to communication, transparency, and efficiency. Here are some aspects of your dental practice huddles that can help you understand their importance.

Huddle Rules

Huddles aren’t a place to discuss office drama or issues of any kind. They should also be capped at 10 or 15 minutes, and shouldn’t be a time where staff members bring up concerns. Encourage staff to reach out individually for those conversations.

Try to give at least every person involved in the huddle one minute each to speak, and make sure that staff members are actively discussing where they are stuck. Huddles are a great way to understand the pulse of an organization.

Some rules should be understood when it comes to your dental practice huddle. First of all, the huddle should never be run by the practice owner. They should be present, but it should be run by the office manager and other staff members throughout the week. If the practice owner isn’t present, note that it could set a bad example and affect employee morale.

Secondly, you should conduct your huddles first thing in the morning. This helps to get everyone situated for the day and understand what needs to be done. The huddle should also include any relevant information required, including schedules, charts, and other relevant data. An assistant or hygienist should also bring relevant patient information, pending treatment, and other pertinent medical data.

Dental Huddle

Examine Progress

Huddles should happen daily, but there should also be monthly huddles to make sure that the dental practice remains on track. Daily huddles are vital because you can add and subtract daily goals. The daily huddle should focus on immediate priorities, while the monthly huddles should concentrate on long-term metrics and an overall vision for the dental practice.

You can also examine the statistics of the day before in the morning huddle. However, it’s also important to remember that the daily huddle shouldn’t mention the day’s issues or goals before setting them and that broader conversations can be reserved for a weekly or monthly huddle. There’s also nothing wrong with being ambitious (but realistic) regarding monthly goals. Specifically, your dental practice should aim for 5% to 10% over averages.

Why Huddles Work

One of the great things about huddles is that they make it more apparent that communication is always open, rather than employees being worried about a long-winded meeting where nothing truly gets accomplished. It’s also a great and short way to discuss new opportunities, specific concerns in business strategy, or potential long-term obstacles. The right huddles can help employees remain inspired and motivated about both short-term and long-term goals.

The issues that continue to emerge from daily huddles can then be discussed in weekly huddles. Of course, the issues that come up in weekly huddles might then come up in monthly huddles. Overall, dental practice huddles are an incredible way to encourage communication and improve strategy. Your employees can also explain specific ways in which they are stuck, and the practice can work together to make sure that those bottlenecks are eliminated.

A well-run huddle is about strategy and transparency, but it should also be noted that it’s about providing superior customer service. A successful dental practice will have to make sure that customers leave completely satisfied, and every dental practice huddle should keep customer service as a focus and priority. Ultimately, huddles are a great way to establish a communication rhythm within your dental practice that keeps things running more smoothly at all times.

 

The Office

Word of Mouth and Your Practice

Word of Mouth

Your Dental Practice

Are you interested in growing your dental practice without investing thousands of dollars in more advertising? The answer is as close as your specialty — it’s all about your clients’ mouths!

What your clients say about your practice has a significant impact on how fast you grow. Client referrals can bring in new, high-quality patients that fit your ideal customer profile.

How can you increase customer referrals to grow your business? Or if you have a referral program, how can you make it better? Here are the tips you need.

Create a Referral Program

A referral program is the easiest way to get your current patients to refer others to you. Don’t think your practice is too small to benefit from a referral program — word of mouth marketing can amplify your brand thousands of times over.

81% of consumers are influenced by social media posts from their friends and family. Every patient you have can impact hundreds of people and move them one step closer to choosing your dental clinic.

All you have to do is encourage your current customers to tell others about you. How do you set up a referral program? Here are some ideas.

Thank you

Make Sure You Keep Things Ethical

There are limits to what you can do to encourage referrals. Make sure you stay within the legal and ethical boundaries of the dental industry.

For instance, you can’t treat some patients better than others. You can’t offer a referral — or a referring patient — faster treatment, preferential service, or other care-related benefits. However, you can offer a reward as a thank you for a referral.

You’ll also want to make sure that someone is assigned to administering the referral program so that everyone gets the benefits they are due.

Starting a Dental Referral Program

The first step when creating a referral program is to decide on the rewards. The simplest thing to do is to offer new patients a discount on their first visit. You can create referral cards to make it easy for your customers to refer people they know.

However, don’t just stick with printed materials. Create an email list for your customers and, along with promotions and reminders, share useful information that they can forward to friends and family. Also, give them information and posts that they can share on social media.

Once you’ve decided on the referral discount, it’s time to think about your customers’ benefits. You can offer gift cards, deals on specific services, or even monthly drawings for a larger prize.

You might also consider having events for your referring patients. An appreciation event can help your customers feel even better about sending new patients your way.

Invite the Best Patients First

If you want to start small, especially if the cost is a concern, you can begin by just inviting your best patients. The ones who always have a kind word to say about your services and often thank you for your work.

Those customers are the most likely to be brand advocates, so they are a great place to start. Give them some materials that they can use to promote your office and ask them to begin referring their friends and family to your practice.

You can gauge your program’s results and get feedback from these customers before you roll it out to everyone you serve. Your best patients can help you refine the plan so it’s as effective as possible.

Make Your Program Part of the Patient Process

Paper dolls

What’s the best way to benefit from a referral program? Make sure you implement it consistently!

If you forget to ask for referrals, you aren’t likely to get one. However, most people looking for a new dentist will ask their friends and family for ideas. Tap into that opportunity by making your referral program a built-in part of your patient relationship

Just like you have a specific process for a first patient, create a post-visit process
where you encourage patients to refer others and let them know the benefits they can get.

Make sure customers are on your email list and keep your list active with regular messages.

When you consistently ask every patient for referrals every time, you’ll dramatically increase the growth of your practice.

Just like you have a specific process for a first patient, create a post-visit process where you encourage patients to refer others and let them know the benefits they can get.

Take Advantage of Referral Marketing

91% of Americans are willing to share an exclusive offer with friends and family, and patients that are referred by others are more loyal than other customers. There’s no reason not to use a referral program to grow your dental practice.

When you make a referral program a consistent part of your relationship with your customers, you’ll benefit from their network. Word of mouth marketing is powerful and much more cost-effective than other types of outreach.

There’s no reason not to start — or improve — your referral program today!

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Let us know what kind of referral program, if any, that your practice uses below in the comments.

The Patient Experience
The Office

Focusing on the Patient Experience

As you have undoubtedly heard, going to the dentist is most people’s most hated experience. Close to 60% of people have anxiety about the experience, and for some, it’s a true phobia. It’s tough to let someone go into your mouth — which you rely on for eating and breathing — and poke around.

Are We That Scary?

Many times dental appointments are painful. And there’s always the risk of getting news that you need a significant procedure. Those procedures cost a lot of money and are often more painful than a routine cleaning.

As a result, people avoid the dentist, which doesn’t do their oral health any favors. What can you do to soothe people’s fears and give them a better experience at your clinic?

Here are some tips that will help.

Make Scheduling Simple

The first thing you can do is make sure that scheduling a dentist appointment is simple. If you haven’t updated your website to allow online scheduling, that’s a great start. The harder it is to schedule appointments, the more excuses people will make.

Your office staff probably already ask patients if they’d like to schedule their next appointment as they check out. This is another excellent way to overcome fear and get cleanings and care on the calendar.

Finally, make sure you follow up with reminders. Dental appointments happen infrequently — perhaps as rarely as twice a year — and it’s very easy to get busy and overlook the visit. Many people check their cell phone text messages even more often than email, so consider a text messaging reminder system.

Educate Patients About New Technology

Many people who avoid the dentist have memories from decades ago that involve a bad experience. Or, they may have heard horror stories from others. When you talk to patients about the latest technology and how it keeps them comfortable and pain-free, it can help them relax and enjoy their visit.

Make sure your marketing talks about the comfort of the modern dental office, about how patients can wear headphones, or even take advantage of sedation dentistry (if you offer it.) These reassurances not only help encourage appointments, they’ll make the actual patient experience much more pleasant.

Your messaging can also include the fact that regular dental appointments may help you avoid getting cavities or needing significant dental work. The more often someone attends to their dental health, the less likely it is that there will be substantial damage to repair.

Make Your Waiting Room Relaxing and Inviting

Everyone who visits your dental clinic will spend at least a few minutes in the waiting room. This space is one of the highest-impact areas for patient comfort and putting people at ease.

Are you a family dentist? Include a play area where kids can relax and enjoy simple toys. Do you serve mostly adults? Create comfortable seating in a serene environment. Chairs should not be hard or uncomfortable, and you want to avoid a sterile, “doctor’s office” feeling.

Many dental offices include magazines, and patients still read them. However, it may be even more useful to offer free WiFi. You can post the WiFi password prominently in the waiting area so patients can listen to music, go online, and more without using cellular data.

Consider Fun Rewards for Adults at the Dentist

You might think that the only patients who are interested in fun and encouraging stickers are children, but you’d be wrong. Although adults rarely admit it, many are delighted with the same simple, playful, and cheerful messages that kids are.

Stickers are so popular as an add-on to retail purchases that there’s a thriving resale market for them on eBay and other online sales sites. Customers even share their disappointment online if they don’t get their sticker sheet.

Why not jump on a trend? Give your adult patients the option of getting a fun and uplifting sticker after their appointment. You can even use a tongue-in-cheek reference to the act of going to the dentist by giving away #Adulting stickers.

You’ll be surprised how many delighted patients will accept a sticker and even share it on their social media accounts. It gives you great advertising, and you may find patients asking about a sticker when they schedule!

You Can Make Going to the Dentist a Fun Experience

There’s only so much you can do about the actual process of cleaning and repairing a person’s teeth, but there’s so much about the patient experience that you can impact otherwise.

Make it easy to schedule appointments and send text message reminders. Help patients understand that today’s technology means less pain and discomfort in the dentist’s chair. Encourage folks to relax in a high-quality waiting room with amenities that your clients enjoy.

And, don’t forget to have fun. Even adults enjoy whimsical and inexpensive rewards for their responsible behavior, from stickers to little toys to a piece of dark chocolate. When you reward your patients, they’ll be more likely to return.

With these tips, your dental clinic will be a place your patients feel comfortable, leading to more regular appointments, referrals, and an overall improvement in your business.

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Satire

Fairies All Over the World are Now Looking for Part-Time Work

S&P 500 Shows a 10% Decrease in the Value of a Lost Tooth

February 21, 2019, according to the just-released Original Tooth Fairy Poll®, sponsored by Delta Dental, the Tooth Fairy’s average cash gift declined to $3.70 for a lost tooth. A whopping ten percent decline from last year. Apparently, over the same period, the S&P 500 also saw a decline and decreased by 3 percent.

We haven’t made it to the climatic event off strikes, picket lines and Government bail-out demands yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see your local tooth fairy in the Unemployment line or looking for part-time work.

At the very least, a smart child would hold on to those lost and homeless teeth of theirs till the economy trends upwards.

It appears through the data collected that the very “first tooth” still impresses the tooth fairy and brings in more doe! The monumental first tooth rakes in a whole $1.26 more than the average take-home of $3.70. So while the going rate of the first tooth at $4.96, your every run of the day chomper is only sitting at $3.70 as opposed to last years prices of $4.13.

Of course, with everything else location, location, location makes a difference! Seems the West is bringing in more while the midwest just seems to disgrace the tooth by throwing chump change at it.

 

With just a little digging on the interwebs you can clearly tell that the fairies are feeling the hit!

Even the children are noticing the hit at the pillow! @thetoothfairyie on IG dropped this sad note. #deprivedchildren

“P.S You won’t have to visit anymore.”
The children have been left to outweigh the pros and cons for the fairy themselves!

Now we got an anonymous DM from a fairy stating that the demands of the job have actually increased which is why the amounts the children have seen have been less. She said that they have had to maneuver through messy rooms, and have suffered injuries from dodging loose pets on top of having to actually search for the tooth itself.

I don’t know, is this a problem or not? What is your take on the situation? We would love to have your feedback. I’m quite happy with our local tooth fairy and her single dollar bill bounty per tooth! What say you?