I asked Dr. David R. Pearce, a retired dental practice owner and now a consultant, to share with me three things he implemented in his practice that focused on quality and that he considers essential to the success he was able to achieve. And while I wanted him to say, “I owe all of my success to MDA”, I knew that would not be his answer, because Dr. Pearce was already on the success path even before he started trusting us with his digital marketing. What he did say, though, was interesting, and probably not what anyone reading this blog would expect.
Who is Dr. David R. Pearce?
Until recently, Dr. Pearce ran a highly successful dental practice that produced over $3 million/yr despite being open only 4 days a week and closing down for 2 weeks out of the year. His practice was so lucrative that he was able to retire in his mid 50s, with an oceanfront home in Florida and a second home in Montana. In his retirement, he has also started a whole new career coaching dentists who want to become better leaders. Additionally, he is a valued member of MDAs Clinical Advisory Board, generously offering his time and expertise when needed.
I met Dr. Pearce in 2018, and he immediately saw the value that MDA would add to his practice by taking on all of his digital marketing, allowing him to focus more on the clinical and managerial aspects of his business. The partnership was a great success, and we continue to work with him in his new consulting business. Dr. Pearce understands what it takes to be successful, from a marketing perspective, from a business perspective, and from a clinical perspective.
3 Keys to Ensuring Success
The information Dr. Pearce shared with me about the keys to his success goes beyond marketing and revenue to the intimate inner workings of his practice — true insider information, if you will. This is what he said: “For me, the top three areas I focus on when it comes to quality are 1) hospitality, 2) greater comfort associated with the dental treatment itself, and 3) being able to add more value to the patient experience over time.”
In other words, it’s all about making patients feel at home, making them as comfortable as possible, and giving them a reason to keep coming back. Sounds simple when you put it that way. But the reality is that it takes constant work, planning, and the right team to make sure all three aspects are there every day for each patient that comes through the door.
You might not immediately associate hospitality with dentistry, but it is a big part of the patient’s experience, especially new patients visiting the office for the first time. If they don’t feel welcome from the start, they will never be back. Of course, hospitality doesn’t stop at reception. It must be consistently there throughout the patient’s visit. Dr. Pearce explained to me that, “Hospitality shows up most readily in the team you hire and how they are coached on just plain being proactively nice to patients (and each other).” That applies equally to the people manning the front desk and answering the phones, the dental assistants, the hygienists, and the dentist. No one gets a pass, no matter what.
Dr. Pearce also believes that hospitality should extend beyond the niceties that we are all accustomed to when we go to the dentist. He coached his team to engage with patients, listen to their stories, learn what is important to them, and make notes in their charts to keep the conversation going from one visit to the next. Remembering details about a patient makes a big impression.
Consider that the dentist might see 10+ patients in a day, but for each patient, that is the one and only dental appointment they are going to have for weeks or months. Making it memorable in a good way is important. That includes the common sense things, like keeping the office comfortable and clean and ensuring that each team member has a name tag. Doing these things not only helps patients have a more pleasant experience, but it also endears them to the practice and strengthens their relationship to the team.
Hospitality is only the first aspect that promotes a higher quality standard of care in dentistry, but it is the most important as it sets the stage for the patient’s entire experience. When hospitality is there, it is easier to build lasting relationships with patients and earn their trust.
Stay tuned for next month’s blog where we explore the other two keys to success: greater comfort in dental treatments and adding value over time.