This dental practice in Fort Wayne, Indiana, has happy patients, a happy staff, and three happy dentist bosses. How did they achieve and maintain an atmosphere that everyone wants to be a part of? Learn their secrets here.
WHILE THERE ARE A MILLION DIFFERENT IDEAS out there about how to operate a successful dental practice, the dentist partners at Ueber & Friedrich Dentistry in Fort Wayne, Indiana, have found what truly works for them. They’ve gathered ideas through the years, applied the advice of dental consultants and marketing agencies, and now they’re rolling along and enjoying what they do best: practicing dentistry.
The agency that handles the marketing and social media efforts for Ueber & Friedrich Dentistry, Cyclone Social, recently notified DentistryIQ about the practice’s Facebook page. We were fascinated with their fun and different approach; OK, we really liked their stick figure drawings. Just look at some of the whimsical art on their page, not to mention the cover photo of the very large staff. We wanted to know how they maintain a fun atmosphere in the office and keep team members happy and engaged.
So, we reached out to them with a few questions. Drs. Robert Ueber, Mark Friedrich, and Nathan Bojrab took the time to share some of their insights with their fellow dentists, and what’s worked for them when it comes to running a successful and enjoyable dental practice.
Dr. Robert Ueber initially founded the practice. He was wanting to add a partner to grow the practice when Dr. Mark Friedrich approached him about joining. From there Ueber & Friedrich Dentistry was born! Dr. Nathan Bojrab joined the team in 2016 and became a partner by his first-year anniversary. Together we three doctors have over 57 years of experience, and we all attended Indiana University. But it’s our differences that set us apart and make Ueber & Friedrich Dentistry the well-rounded practice it is today.
2. The staff is huge! What are some of the positions, and how do you manage them all and maintain harmony?
Yes, it’s big, but we love our huge staff. We wouldn’t be able to provide the quality patient care and service we do without the amazing staff we have, not to mention being able to offer the wide range of services as well.
The easiest way to talk about our positions is to break them down by teams: front desk, administrative team, dental assistants, hygiene assistants, dental hygienists, ortho assistants, and doctors.
In regards to managing them all, we incorporate a hierarchy as well as a trickle-down effect. By that we mean, each team has a leader. So, if there is an issue among any coworkers they must try to first work it out on their own. Then if necessary they approach their team leader, if it’s not resolved they bring things to the office manager, and then finally, if something is still not resolved, they bring it to the doctors. The hope is to hold each other accountable and squash any issues from the get go, but that doesn’t always work, in which case the hierarchy exists to aid in a resolution.
We also mentioned the trickle-down effect. By this we mean it starts at the top with great leadership, where we practice our values (integrity, motivation, greater-good perspective, teamwork, and servitude) and our core focus (to humbly heal and serve within our community). This is all while providing services for complete oral health and wellness, with our patients always coming first, no exceptions.
3. The practice gives the feel that all is well and you have lots of fun via what is posted on Facebook. How are you pulling that off?
Ueber & Friedrich Dentistry has a lot of processes and safeguards in place so we can run like a well-oiled machine, allowing us to consistently be proactive versus reactive. This type of setup gives us time to get to know each other, our patients, and have fun while doing it. It also doesn’t hurt that we have amazing employees with wonderful senses of humor.
4. What does the practice do to engage patients and staff besides social media?
Adult engagement and appreciation
1. New patients all receive a tour and a Welcome Goodie Bag with items geared toward adults.
2. Existing but dormant patients who we haven’t seen in a year or two receive a tour and a Welcome Back Goodie Bag.
3. We ask patients if they would like to indulge in our Comfort Menu during their visit. We offer a warm blanket, supportive neck pillow, moisturizer for the lips, tooth pillow, headphones, and paraffin hand wax treatment.
4. Referral program: For every person an existing patient refers they receive a gift card.
5. We offer personal introductions at every stage of patients’ visits. “Sandy, this is Whitney. She will be taking your x-rays today.” “Sandy, this is Chris. She will take care of your cleaning today.” “Sandy, thank you for coming in today. This is Heather. She will help you check out today.” Patients aren't just shuffled around the office, instead they are escorted and receive a personal introduction every step of the way.
Children engagement and appreciation
1. New patients receive a Welcome Goodie Bag with items geared toward kids.
2. Welcome wall: Each day we write each child’s name on a large wall with dry-erase markers for those who have appointments that day.
3. We give children gold coins to use at the treasure tower after their visits.
4. Cavity-Free Club for kids. We take photos of the children holding fun signs and post them to our Facebook page.
Staff engagement and appreciation
1. Morning huddles. Everyone gathers to discuss highlights, give kudos, and prepare for the day.
2. Community projects. Each year we all take a vote on what our project will be for that year.
3. Holiday parties and social gatherings. Our latest was at Dr. Ueber’s house.
4. Above & Beyond gift cards. These are awarded to employees when they do just that.
5. How does the staff like to work with this practice? What makes the office a happy place to work?
We have mutual trust and communication between leadership and staff. Every employee has a voice, from the smallest detail of how to improve daily tasks or routines all the way to the design of our logo. We encourage every employee to take ownership of the practice and to ultimately “be the person you would want to work with.”
6. Who’s the artist of the FB pictures, and who came up with the idea?
We work with a marketing agency called Cyclone Social. They are responsible for the creative social media content. The artwork is the brainchild of Cyclone Social. The idea revolves around the fact that people are intimidated by going to the dentist. The tools dental professionals use can be very scary. So this artistic concept was meant to bring a little fun to scary dental tools.
7. Why did you decide to hire a company instead of handling this yourselves? Are you happy with the company?
It comes down to time and creativity. It’s difficult to manage all aspects of a practice as well as the social media world. Also, we are professional dentists, not marketers. You hire a heart surgeon for heart surgery, a dentist to fill a cavity, and a knee doctor for a knee replacement. Why wouldn’t you hire a social media agency for your social media? It makes too much sense.
8. What is patient feedback of the social media efforts?
Patient feedback is incredibly positive. They love connecting with the brand outside of the office. We constantly hear comments from patients about the fun things we’re doing on the marketing front.
9. What about other social media efforts? How do you think it helps the practice overall? How long have you been doing social media? What are some of your social plans for the future?
The social media strategy revolves around building a lifeline narrative of the brand. We approach social media like a TV network. Every piece of content is a different TV show. We aren’t here to sell, we are here to engage and entertain. If we can “own the eyeballs” (as Cyclone Social says), we will own the trust of the community. It’s not about selling, it’s about long-term sustainability and trust. We just want to show that we care.