Implementing Change At Work

Years ago we shared the book Who Moved My Cheese with our team when we underwent a major transformation in the editorial and client services team at PNP. It’s a simple story of mice in a maze with a dramatically important message.

Change happens – keep moving with the cheese

Anticipate change – get ready for the cheese to move

Monitor change – smell the cheese often so you know when it’s getting old

Adapt to change quickly – the quicker you let go of old cheese the sooner you can enjoy new cheese

Change – move with the cheese

Enjoy change – savor the adventure and the taste of new cheese

Be ready to quickly change again and again – they keep moving the cheese

Building a sense of teamwork in the process of developing the required changes is very helpful – you can’t institute change alone. Helping folks understand why change is needed, the more they will offer suggestions and support change.

And it’s just easy for people to fall back into their comfort zone, reversing change efforts over time. It’s why Weight Watchers is so successful! Change as a team effort ensures that dialogue happens and everyone has a support network at some level. When we continually reinforce the positives of change and when results are visible, real change happens.

From our standpoint, your most important change area is CALL HANDLING. When is the last time you listened to a new patient call at your practice? I know it’s time consuming, sometimes even painful, but what you learn and what that knowledge allows you to do for the people who handle calls is incredibly important and can have a dramatically positive impact on your business and your revenue.

You cannot change behavior without being very clear about what needs to change.

In a dental practice, it is very difficult to change the way a front desk team handles patients, particularly new patient calls. On average, sadly, more than 50% of new patient calls are lost at the front desk. With average annual revenue of $700+ per patient (and more than $5,000 over that patient lifetime), that is adds up to a lot of Do-Re-Mi walking away from your practice to one of the many other dentists in your area.

I’ve talked a lot about being an entrepreneurial organization just like you. We face the same difficulties that you do – onboarding the great team members, training thoroughly, managing experienced staff who have carved out how they like to do things, providing ongoing training for continuous process improvements, and effective customer servicing.

Here’s what we’ve found to be effective and what will work for you too:

  • Document every point of client contact with an associated process and training tools
  • Develop product knowledge books on every product and service
  • Review and discuss at weekly huddles – brainstorm challenges and ideas
  • Require staff self-study, practice, and role play including call reviews with team
  • Implement product knowledge testing with a passing grade requirement  (retest if it’s not at the right level)

As a dental practice, you need to ensure that every patient contact reflects your passion, your credentials, and the reputation you are working so hard to nurture and develop through your dedication to continuing education, investments in new technologies and treatments, practice upgrades, team training, and your marketing efforts.  

To make change happen you need:

Leader support: Owners and practice managers must support the process required to achieve the desired outcome.

Training: Team members cannot be blamed for lack of performance if process, tools, and training are not provided.

Communication: Keeping everyone informed of the requirements and their responsibilities is key to success. Telling team members what is expected of them is critical for effective change.

Reward: Add incentives to encourage the behaviors you need to drive the results you want.

You can improve your call conversion results when you give motivated people the right tools and training. Ask your Account Manager about our Phone Power team training program, and if you conducted training last year, it might be time to consider a refresher. Here’s to your continued success!