MME: In Your Patient's Shoes | The Retail Approach to Success in Your Practice | Keith McLachlan

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Show Notes

How do your patients REALLY perceive your dental practice? How can convenience, image, and service make or break their overall experience? In this compelling Monday Morning conversation with industry veteran, Keith McLachlan, we dive deep into the heart of these issues. Keith passionately argues for the urgent need for dental practitioners to adopt a retail business model that is profoundly patient-centric. And not just in theory, but in practice - with a focus on delivering care that brilliantly suits patients’ lifestyles, work schedules, and personal preferences.

Keith takes us on a journey of understanding through the eyes of patient, shedding light on the overlooked importance of practice accessibility. Is your office meeting the demands of the early birds and night owls who work 9 to 5 jobs? Are you addressing the needs of those who can only carve out time over weekends? Keith doesn't stop there. He delves into addressing tricky roadblocks like work-life balance and provider burnout, while underlining the potent impact of a strong online presence and memorable first-visit experiences in captivating new patients. Keith makes a compelling case for reshaping our practice mentalities, daring us to redesign our dental offices with a healthier balance of professional commitment and patient-centric empathy.

What You'll Learn in This Episode:

  • The crucial role of a patient-centric approach in running successful practices.
  • The underestimated power of operating hours in patient retention and satisfaction.
  • How to prevent provider burnout while still accommodating patient needs.
  • Tips for creating a strong online presence and memorable first-visits.
  • The importance of work-life balance in avoidance of provider burnout.

Tune into this intensive MME with Keith now, and take a leap towards a more inclusive, patient-centric service delivery model!

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Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Michael: Hey Keith. So talk to us. What's one piece of advice you can give us this Monday

Keith: morning? Oh, Michael, well, thank you for having me on and thanks to your listeners for listening. Um, one piece of advice that, you know, I obviously am not a dentist or dental provider, been in dentistry for 30 years, but, one thing that I see, and again the concept was introduced to me in full disclosure by somebody else, but it bears repeating as much as one can do as a dental provider and still maintain some quality of life, think of your business as a retail business. think in terms of, maybe you can have on one end of the spectrum, you can have your old medical provider, 1950s medical office where you have the sliding, opaque, you know, separation barrier between, um, patients and the team members.

And then you have kind of what we have today, which is more of your open concept, right? So there's been some adaptation to that idea. But in terms of offering, right? Are you working four days a week? Eight to five? As a dental practice provider. Um, well, ironically, most of the patients are probably working Monday through Friday, eight to five, and they have to take off work to see you.

So perhaps thinking in terms of, earlier appointments before eight A.M. or uh, maybe, uh, extended hours after, maybe two hours after. Five o'clock. Not every day necessarily. Some offices do a successful seven to seven shift between two doctors. somebody will do the morning shift and one do the afternoon shift.

If it's a multiple doctor I. Practice. Some will do a weekend, half day or full day weekend. Um, and they find that those are wildly popular hours. Mm-Hmm. But the whole idea, and again it's, not just one thing. like I said, I can credit Fred Doyle for this idea and it. Book, everything is marketing, but think in terms of your business as a retail business as opposed to kind of the old school medical offices that were not very patient-centric.

Gotcha. Okay.

Michael: So it sounds like practices today they're looking more modern, right. When it comes to like their. I guess like design and everything, but the way of working, like their culture, whatever, like their time is still kind of stuck back into the nine to five, right? Or eight, nine to six kind of thing.

Yeah. And so you're kind of thinking, hey, adjust it, hybrid it, right? Like time and things like that. Is that what you're.

Keith: Absolutely. So you're just making it easier for your patients to come see you, in times that they're not already working times that they may not be available without having to request off.

we also see it in emergency visits, right? Being available to see emergency patients and I understand if they're not a patient of record and there's some concern with that but especially for your patients that are established patients being available to see them when they're in need.

Let's face it. An emergency patient will pay any price and meet you at any time to get out of pain. That is in Maslow's hierarchy of need. One of the greatest motivators, right? Somebody that's in pain and wants to be out of pain. So, yeah, just making it easier for patients to find you, um, and again, not putting up a road box for your patients to come see you.

Michael: Gotcha. In your experience, Keith, what have been some of the, besides time, right, besides like the, I'll be more available in the afternoons. What have you seen that really hasn't changed where it's like the most or the biggest roadblocks?

Keith: I would say it, it comes down to mostly quality of life choice.

Right? Maybe uh, the provider has a family. Maybe they want to be able to have dinner with their family at night. They want to enjoy their weekend time with their families. I would say, and again, we're all, Dentist or or non dentists were all guilty of saying, I, I'm gonna put up some, barriers, where it comes to interfering with.

My time out of the office. So that's probably more of what it is. as opposed to, it is just more about in terms of thinking as a patient and not as the doctor or the business owner. thinking in terms of, you know, uh, uh, I've heard this expression before. When's the last time As a dental provider the owner of the business walked into the waiting room as opposed to walked into the back door. Right? It's a whole different experience, right? You're seeing through the eyes of your patients, right? that might be a good exercise is, you know, know, when I walk in my office, Do I see an optimal patient experience? what do I pick up on? What cues do I pick up on visually, audibly, is it pleasant? Is it relaxing? what are my sensory cues telling me here?

Michael: Gotcha. Okay. So kind of walk in with a.

Patient point of view. So then the biggest roadblock that you've seen besides time, would be quality of life. So it's more like the doctors thinking, I wanna be home. I want to have Friday, Saturday Sundays off. I only wanna work four days a week. Mm-Hmm. But this is possible though, right? To have that.

Keith: It is very possible.

And that's where you see, um, many dental business owners get an associate, maybe that associate can help augment the hours, maybe they can stick to their same schedule. The business owner while the associate may work, different time slots, right? Or they can split it up a little bit, but it's not all dependent upon one person.

It can be divvied amongst another doctor and team members for that matter.

Michael: Gotcha. Okay. So then if we did do that, let's just say we treat it like a retail business. We're open on weekends and we're doing all these things. Do you foresee burnout

Keith: If one person or a set of people are asked to do more without a necessarily wanting to do more, I.

Or B, not getting. Something more from it, compensation wise, then yes, I could see burnout at, or I would say even before burnout. You may have attrition, you may have people that, leave. They're like, I didn't sign up for this. I wanna work for practice that I can get my kid from daycare by 5:00 PM or whatever the case may be, right? So other people have put up their roadblocks, but as far as burnout, I talk to dental business owners that even have Sunday hours. Now, again it's not always the owner, but, they tell me that those are some of the most coveted appointment times.

Or the weekend times. Because they don't have to take off time from work or from school to see the dentist.

Michael: Mm-Hmm. Yeah. Okay. That's interesting. Yeah. So when it comes to the retail part, what else? How else should we treat our practice in the form of a retail business besides like the hours.

Keith: Well, remember patients have a choice. There are, I mean, I've talked to plenty of successful dentists that have multi-generational, right? They've seen three generations of families at the practice, and that's great, but for the vast majority of people today, there's more credibility online than there is from a personal referral.

So take a look at. Your website, take a look at your social media. If you don't have somebody, I'm not saying you have to manage it, but have somebody manage that and remember that what's gonna make your office stand out to somebody that's new to the area, to somebody that doesn't already know about you, to another practice down the street.

What's gonna make you stand out? Is it a, First-visit impression that you made. Is it what they see online? Is it patient testimonials? What is gonna compel somebody to choose your office versus a competing office?

Michael: you, your own personal experience looking at it from a patient point of view, right.

Let's just say right now you're like, you know, I don't, I'm not in an emergency, but I do need a doctor. Yes to you. What is it where, What would make you, even though your friend's like, Hey, my dentist is good, what would make you ignore that recommendation and say like, let me look at this one person right now because of

Keith: what.

Right. Well, you know, I hear this a lot. I'm not saying it's, right. But you really hear many patients say, I chose this dentist because they were on my plan. Whereas we all know, I can see the eyes are rolling now but we know that's not the best way to choose your doctor.

It, It's almost in spite of that. But most people choose their dentist because I. They were a participating provider, that shouldn't be. But you hear people because they're in, that, they're programmed by insurance to, Hey, they, they're not on my plan, and then I shouldn't go to them.

but usually the best doctors are not on their plan. it's giving them a reason to come. Right. That is, um, convenient hours. It is location. It is. what's the first visit impression look like? Right? Why would I, what's gonna make me want to choose your office?

Right? Is it the stories in the bios? like I said, it's usually in a retail environment. It's about access. How convenient are the hours and a location.

Michael: Gotcha. So convenience and access. Awesome. Keith, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate you and if anyone has further questions or concerns, where can they find

Keith: you?

Absolutely. Well, uh, Dental, team, Finder. We're online,, we're on LinkedIn. If you spend time on LinkedIn, we're on Facebook. YouTube. Also you can contact me. My first name's Keith K-E-I-T-H at, or info at So should be able to find us.

Michael: Okay, awesome. So it's gonna be in the show notes below as well, so if anyone wants to go down and click on that. So thank you so much, Keith, for being with us on this Monday morning episode. Well,

Keith: thank you for having me. Yeah.