Dr. Chai is not only more productive and more profitable, he has more clarity about his goals and is enjoying his practice.
production, team development, hygiene care, practice atmosphere
“I was done. I was not happy. I was frustrated. I hated the business part of dentistry and was ready to sell.”
The above words, spoken by Dr. Jesse Chai, owner of Bradford Family Dentistry in Bradford Ontario, describe how he felt two years ago. He was on the verge of quitting dentistry, something he loved, forever. But with no suitable buyer in sight, he went back to the drawing board.
Things began to turn around for Dr. Chai after he figured out his WHY and developed his personal vision. “When I figured out my why and how the business would help me achieve that, I started to get the passion back for my practice,” Dr. Chai said. He started to reinvent his business to fit his vision but hit a roadblock. Feeling something was missing, he searched for guidance to make his vision a reality.
“I didn’t feel I was living up to my full potential,” Dr. Chai said. “I knew some of what I was supposed to be doing, I just didn’t know how to do it. I talked to Dr. John Meis, and I thought, ‘I think they know how to get me where I want to go.’”
Since joining The Team Training Institute (TTI) Blue Diamond program in January 2020, Dr. Chai not only has more clarity about how to achieve his goals, he is also having more fun because he is serving patients at a higher level.
Even with being shut down for two months due to the pandemic, both his revenue and net profit have gone up in 2020, which has increased the value of his practice. (Before TTI, his best production month was $180,000, since TTI, he’s not done anything less than $200,000 for a full month.)
It’s also affected his personal life. “My stress level is way down because working with TTI has given me a lot of confidence in how to navigate the process and reinvent my business,” Dr. Chai said. “I’m more motivated and energized. And I feel that I’m a better husband. I’m a better father. I’m a better leader to my team, a better business owner, and just a better person in general because I was able to figure that out and be true to myself versus trying to appease others.”
Here are 9 changes that made (and continue to make) the difference:
#1: Get the Right Team in Place
Prior to joining TTI, with no one to guide him, Dr. Chai had staffing issues. He tried hiring five different associates. None of them worked out. He expanded his staff to 14 people. But instead of growing, he was netting less.
Since joining TTI, Dr. Chai made changes to his staff, hiring four new people, and trimming his staff to nine, plus himself. (Three full-time hygienists, three dental assistants cross-trained on front desk duties, one person to work on insurance breakdowns and pull charts, one front desk person, and an office manager.)
“We got the wrong people that were on the bus, off the bus,” Dr. Chai said. “We added more of the right people and I started to work with a coach.”
TTI helped his practice become more efficient, something he feels is due to the experience Dr. Meis and Wendy Briggs have working in dentistry. “You are the average of the five people you hang around with most and I want to hang around people smarter than me,” Dr. Chai said. “I’ve worked with a lot of coaches in the past. Unlike Dr. Meis and Wendy, most other dental coaches aren’t dentists. I like the fact that Dr. Meis and Wendy cut their teeth in the dental industry. They understand it from our perspective versus most of the coaches I’ve worked with in the past who only understand it from a business perspective. TTI helped me in a way that others had not been able to.”
#2: Get Your Team to Buy In
Dr. Chai felt part of his decision to work with TTI rested on how committed his team was to the program. “I talked to the team first,” Dr. Chai said. “Everyone was quite interested in learning new techniques and tools and how to make treatment better. I said, ‘I’m thinking about starting to use this new coach and part of it is training the team and how to treat patients at a higher level of service. I want to know if that’s something you are willing to commit to because I don’t want to make the investment if you aren’t on board.’”
#3: Let Your Team Experience a Big, Fast Win
Immediately after the team committed, Dr. Chai brought in TTI on January 3, 2020, to do their first hygiene explosion training. The first month following the training, they increased more than $100,000 over what they had been doing. “I had (TTI coach) Robin come right at the beginning of the year because I wanted to start the year out right,” Dr. Chai said. “We had our best month ever, by a significant amount. We did $283,000. We had record hygiene production and record doctor production. Everyone saw the benefit of TTI training right off the bat.”
“Even the first day after the training, you could see that the team was committed to change and improve our systems,” Dr. Chai continued. “It came down to the training itself. Robin was fantastic, . She laid out everything and gave the team the why—why are we doing this? Why would the patients want to do this? She took a heavy preventative approach and showed how this is better care for the patient. Once they got that, they’ve never looked back.”
While Dr. Chai had been doing Same Day Dentistry since 2010, his staff wasn’t fully committed to the idea until after the TTI training. “Before they always found excuses,” Dr. Chai said. “They said they were too busy. But after the training in January, Same Day Dentistry improved.”
Production continues to be well above his previous numbers. In the months following the shutdown, he did $209,000 in June, $220,000 in July, and $252,000 in August (his second-best month ever).
#4: Utilize All TTI Resources Available
Dr. Chai used the extra downtime during the pandemic to work on his systems, consuming all TTI training material available. “I personally went through all the training on the TTI member’ site,” Dr. Chai said. “I’ve watched the entire training library... the trainings, videos, conferences... pretty much everything they have on there. A good part of our foundation for our training manual came from that training and also from being in the TTI live training as well.”
Dr. Chai finished his training manual, something he’d started in 2019. “The manual was about an inch thick,” Dr. Chai said. “I thought it was going to take me about 2 years to complete. After going through the material from TTI, now our manual is about 3.5 inches thick and was completed in 2 1⁄2 months.”
#5: Take Advantage of the Plans TTI Provides
Dr. Chai spent an hour writing out his pandemic plan after receiving the resources TTI provided during the unprecedented shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“TTI gave me confidence during the pandemic,” Dr. Chai said. “They stepped up quickly, advised us as to what was happening in the world of dentistry and best practices during this time. They gave me something to take back to my team on a regular basis. That resource alone was helpful.”
Unlike the majority of dental practices in his area that shut down, he stayed open for emergencies, made calls to patients to see how they were doing, and stayed in regular communication with his patients through emails and videos. Patients appreciated the attention, often chatting on the phone with his team for 10 to 15 minutes when they called.
“There’s no doubt that being involved with TTI helped,” Dr. Chai said. “We were doing a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t have even thought of doing on my own. The thought process for the 100- day plan for reopening was also invaluable.”
#6: Use the 3-3-3 Onboarding System
“Before TTI, we were like a typical dental practice,” Dr. Chai said. “We’d bring on a new hire, they’d shadow a little bit and learn on the fly. Now we have the manual and we learned about the 333-onboarding system. We created that for four new team members, three of who were hired during the transition of the pandemic. When we were able to go back to seeing patients again, they onboarded pretty darn quick. One hygienist we hired, whose first day was on March 13th, started the same day we had Robin in to do Perio Explosion Training. The very next day everything shut down. We brought her back in on May 9th to fully train her. She’s fresh out of school too. In June, her first full month as a dental hygienist, she produced $30,000.” Not only is she continuing to produce at that pace, Dr. Chai said she is also training to help him with orthodontics simultaneously.
#7: Create Training Manuals
Perio Explosion training along with creating a manual for it has improved the care they are giving patients as well. “After the Perio Explosion training, things have gotten A LOT better,” Dr. Chai said. “I took all the notes from the training and documented the whole system. How they should be doing things, the five steps... it’s all there.”
“My hygienists are talking to the patients that have gum disease about these other systemic health links,” Dr. Chai said. “They’re linking it back to why it’s important because it’s not just about teeth anymore. We are seeing a lot more people accepting their periodontal treatment.”
#8: Hit the Most Important Topics First During Meetings
Weekly meetings are also improving performance. Dr. Chai uses the meetings as a combination of reminders and training such as hitting on customer service each time, being consistent in talking to patients about the consequences of problems, and the solutions and advantages of doing a treatment. He also uses it as an opportunity to get the team involved. For example, he talks to his team about what their values are and what that looks like when they are living those values. “The structure of the meetings has definitely improved,” Dr. Chai said. “We’re more concise and more focused on specific agendas, so we hit on the important things. We do a little bit of training in each one. We do customer service training and bring up TTI training and systems.”
#9: Incentivize Employees
“The #1 thing TTI has helped me with is profitability,” Dr. Chai said. “The practice is a lot healthier, even throughout COVID-19.”
To incentivize employees to help reach his revenue goals, Dr. Chai put bonus systems in place to reward his team. If they hit the daily target, team members draw from a bag. He also does monthly and quarterly bonuses based on profitability. “If the team hits a certain target the team will get something,” Dr. Chai said. “Hygienists also are compensated on their performance.”
“Profitability at the office is quite high, a lot better than it was prior to joining TTI,” Dr. Chai continued. “And as the office does better, I made sure the team does better. So, we share the wealth.”
Dr. Chai’s now has the answers on how to achieve his big goals. He’s in a better place with systems documented, a more efficient team and is consistently performing at a higher level. Overall patient experience improved, and his hygienists have more confidence.
“TTI allowed me to accelerate the process to make the practice the way I want,” Dr. Chai said. “They gave me the tools to figure out what to do if I don’t hit my targets instead of guessing. Because TTI designs systems to improve patient care, it makes things more fun too. By doing what they suggest, you’re doing more good in the world. It makes you feel good about yourself and at the end of the day, it makes your employees feel good. The whole vibe in the office is a lot better than it was eleven months ago because we’re all energized by the difference we are making to our patients compared to before. We took our patient care up to a whole new level. We’re a lot more profitable and I’m having a lot more fun than I ever had practicing in my life.”