Tuesday, December 1, 2009

That First Phone Call


Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving.

Mine was great. We decided not to have it at our house because it was too much of a burden on my wife being that the baby is only eight weeks old (and very needy I might add).

So my sister volunteered.

Her house is not quite big enough for everyone so we did it outside.

It was great. The weather was perfect. Food was great. Company was great.

We finished dinner, and we all went into the living room and watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the old version). It was a great movie to just veg out on the couch.

I got in a little nap. The kids loved it.

The Gator Basketball team (I am not talking about the other Gator team) beat #2 Michigan State on Friday night and then beat Rutgers on Saturday. So we moved into the rankings yesterday at #13. We play #5 Syracuse next Thursday. I'll let you know how it goes.
About the other team that I am not talking about, if I was talking about them I would tell you that I just got my tickets to their SEC championship game on Saturday.

I just finished a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chen. It was recommended to me by a friend (shout out Ethan). It is one of these books that makes you think about life a lot and how we probably should be doing this a little bit better (or in my case, a lot better).

See this is why I don't read these kinds of books. Ignorance is so bliss.

I like to read about how other people are screwed up so it makes me feel a little less screwed up.

This book looked at me and I didn't like it.

I just started Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller. I will let you know.

Okay about the marathon. I have put off talking about it for as long as I could.

This race was called the Space Coast Half and Full Marathon.

So this was my first half and full marathon together.

It is a small venue. The weather was perfect.

I wanted to run a sub 4 hour marathon.

So my running buddy and I decided to start with the 3:50 guy and see how long we could hang with him.

Bang it started, and we started going and we were going fast.

I was first thinking that people are running fast because it was the beginning of the race and they will settle down.

Well it didn't take me long to realize that this was the 3:50 pace.


It took me about 2 miles to realize that I couldn't keep this pace. About mile 5 we took our first walk break for about 30 seconds. Keep in mind that we train in a way that there are drinks every two miles. We stop and get drinks and then go. Sometimes waiting for everyone to get drinks will take about 2-3 minutes.

Mile 8 I was really struggling. Mile 11 I told my friend to go.

This is where my mind started to go. The 4 hour guys started to pass me. I didn't have a watch or an iPod or anything. I was all by myself and struggling.

I could have sworn I saw the 4:30 group pass me. Now I was pissed, and I was annoyed with myself.

I thought now, if I go on, I am going to come in at 5 hours. I was walking at every mile, sometimes twice a mile.

Then I started seeing the 13 mile signs.

I started to think I could just finish now. Now the sign was getting bigger. Half marathon go this way and full marathon go this way. Hmmmm? This is definitely not my day so why don't I just end the torture now? If I run the full marathon and it takes me 5 fricking hours, my friend, who I drove with, would be sitting around for an hour waiting for me.

I went to the half marathon path.

I finished in 2 hours and 1 minute.

Wait a minute, how then did a person with a 4:30 minute sign pass me? Either she was 30 minutes faster than her group or I was delirious and read her sign wrong.

Anyway I was done. I was so disappointed. I don't know what to think.

I guess I will be back at it next week. Maybe I will catch a later marathon and give it another try.

Next time I won't blow it in the first 5 miles.

I am still kind of depressed about it.


I wanted to talk to you about the phone call. In case you missed the first blog about this call, let me refresh your memory. Well because I am running out of time in the day let me just give you a link to the first blog.

This is something you have to talk to your phone call answering people about.

I know sometimes you go in your office and isolate yourself from the phone calls. You isolate yourself from the collecting money. You isolate yourself from conflict up at the front.

Well at least I tend to be this person.

So, because I know I tend to NOT want to get involved, I force myself.

I schedule meetings with my front desk staff once a month. It may be 20 minutes on the first of the month first thing in the morning.

We talk about procedure, we talk about patients, we talk about how they answer the phone. (I do the same thing with my hygienists. To talk about things like toothbrushes, fluoride, how they are handling certain patients, sealants, you know stuff like this). Constantly opening the lines of communication.

So in our front desk people meeting we talk about this conversation.

I ask them if they get this phone call and of course their answer is "all the time," and we talk about what they presently say.

Well this is what I tell them to try to accomplish on this phone call.

I want them to know the difference between our office and other offices. I want them to talk to this potential patient about the good in a new patient exam. I want them to spend time, for lack of a better phrase, getting to know this person on the phone. I want them to hang up the phone and say to themselves that that was an unbelievable phone call. That person was so awesome on the phone.

Now does this mean that everyone is going to want our type of dentistry? NO. You think that you are setting yourself up for so much failure. BUT, what it might do to that person is plant a seed for that kind of dentistry. They may go to another place and not get treated very well. They may go to a place that they feel like a number. They may go to a place that makes them start second guessing their decision. So when they do second guess themselves and they get tired of feeling like cattle, what do you think is the first place they are going to come back to? Hopefully, the office that treated them the way they wanted to be treated.

Now real quick about the CEO that has his/her administrative assistant call...

A couple of reasons why they have their people call, they don't really understand the type of office we are or they don't know what kind of dentistry they need. So you have to first get this person on the phone. If they don't want to come to the phone, well then you are better off not seeing this one. If they come to the phone there you are right back to the above paragraphs.

How do you get the person to realize they are calling the Ritz-Carlton of dental offices. I am not talking about stick your nose up Ritz-Carlton. I am talking about the five-star service Ritz-Carlton. And if the person is a CEO or some high-flooten job like that it shouldn't take them long to figure out this place is special.

We had our meeting today and one of my people said a couple of times she has had to say on the first conversation, "I am sorry Mr. Jones, maybe this is just not the kind of practice you are looking for."

I don't mind this. Trust me it is better to let people know up front. I have plenty of patients that I wish I would have told them this before the first appointment. (If you are my patient and you are reading this...that last sentence was definitely NOT about you).

Am I making sense? Am I rambling?

I would like to know if you have meetings with your staff. Do you have a full staff meeting and then have separate meetings as well?

Do you isolate yourself?

Do you know you should get involved but let your staff do it (trust me you are not alone)?

Let me know,
Have a great Wednesday,



Anonymous said...

That is too bad about the run. You really should have a watch with you though. Sounds like you need to be slow and steady with your pace instead of fast and stop for a rest.
There is always next time.
BTW I had to give up running because my knees protested and won.

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog as for me. I'd like to read something more concerning that theme. The only thing I would like to see on that blog is a few pictures of any gizmos.
David Stepman
Block phone


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