Protocols and Conversations

In any business – yours, mine, your suppliers – we all need protocols and conversations.

The protocols are the way we do things – systems.

The conversations are the ways in which we communicate – with each other, with our clients and with our suppliers.

Most days I meet with dental businesses that are working on better protocols – competition, compliance and regulation ensure that protocols get attention (although there is an interesting debate about whether the need for protocols in any one business is based on a desire for excellence or fear of failure).

Equally, most days those same business owners tell me that they don’t have the time to work on the conversations, especially around Moments of Truth in the patient experience:

  • first contact with The Front Desk team or TCO’s
  • first consultation with TCO and/or clinician
  • treatment plan presentation and closure
  • The End of Treatment Conversation

They also don’t have the time to work on the all important aspects of inter-team conversation, the objective of which is to avoid the problems that occur when teams fracture.

Protocols take time and effort to develop and must be reviewed frequently.

Conversations take conversations to develop and you can’t expect to run a training session once in a blue moon and then have your team members remember what to say in response to FAQ’s.

My pen drawing above illustrates what happens.

As a business coach I don’t develop protocols for dental businesses – there are some very good organisations out there that do that and will sell you templates.

I do facilitate training, coaching and mentoring on effective conversations – it can be extremely rewarding work to see conversational skills develop in a team of associates or support staff.

Which business is yours?

  • hopeless and sad?
  • efficient and cold?
  • fire-fighting and fun?
  • effective and remarkable?


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.

3 thoughts on “Protocols and Conversations”

  1. I am these days into script writing for consultation, treatment protocols and even faq’s. What is your opinion about the longbterm outcome of the same.

  2. So true Chris. I also believe when treatment plans aren’t being taken up it is usually down to conversations not being effective. If I then spend more time on talking with people that my treatment uptake increases. Conversation is the lifeblood of the team, the business and makes for a better day too.

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