You have to have great dental systems in place in your practice, because when you have great systems in place, it allows for predictability. Good dental practice systems help you establish and expect outcomes.
Now, the systems you currently have in place are perfect, meaning that they’re functioning exactly the way you designed them to function. If people don’t pay in your office, it’s because you have trained them that it’s all right not to pay. If people cancel on you, it’s because you’ve trained them to believe that it’s okay to cancel.
We teach people how to treat us—we teach them how to behave, and we teach them how to show up.
When I fly, I don’t get to the airport and say, “Hey, good to see you guys. I do this all the time, so I’m going to go around security and I’m going to go to the gate, get on my flight and find my own seat.”
At the airport, they don’t care who you are. You’re going to get into the line, and you’re going to go through security. Then, you’re going to wait at the gate for your turn to get onto your flight. Once you’re on board, you’re going to head to your assigned seat.
Businesses that have rules have very happy people in them, both customers and employees. If you’re setting up clear boundaries and rules for your patients, you’ll be setting yourself up to receive the same expected outcome, time after time.
One of my favorite lines that we teach young dentists is this: financial coordinators should say to patients, “Let me share with you how patients pay for dentistry here.”
This implies two things: number one, it’s that everybody at your practice pays, and number two, that the patient will also pay.
We don’t ask patients if they want to pay or how they want to pay—we don’t ask them if they want to pay a little bit, or say, “What would you like to do?” Instead, you set boundaries and rules by telling your patients, “This is how it works.”