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a blog by Chris Barrow

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:

  1. first contact with The Front Desk team or TCO’s

  2. first consultation with TCO and/or clinician

  3. treatment plan presentation and closure

  4. 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?

  1. hopeless and sad?

  2. efficient and cold?

  3. fire-fighting and fun?

  4. effective and remarkable?

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