Before blaming the economy for any struggles, I encourage dentists and their teams to search for another type of crisis. A relationship crisis.
A relationship crisis can hurt a practice in two ways. First, the dentist and team are not effective in building patient relationships. While a dentist may take the time to talk to patients, many do not create the feeling of a partnership when it comes to planning treatment.
Patient’s sometimes say “no” to dental treatment because they believe it is thrust upon them instead of feeling part of the decision-making process. Too many dental teams place the blame on the economy when the real culprit is a weak patient relationship.
A relationship crisis also plagues a dental practice when the dentist and team do not believe in each other. The difference between teams that are aligned and misaligned is quite striking. Do you think patients notice?
When a team cannot genuinely stand behind the dentist, it creates doubt, and patients in doubt do not schedule. In addition, when patients see the dentist and team not getting along, it creates a disincentive for scheduling? Who wants to spend more time around disharmony?
The American philosopher and psychologist William James once said, “Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.”
Whether the conflict involves a challenging patient who won’t schedule or a struggling team member who needs coaching, consider what is needed to strengthen the relationship. Challenge yourself to have the right attitude. That attitude can avert a relationship crisis.