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Can machine learning improve customer service?

How To Apply Deep Learning To Improve Customer Service

How much can we expect a machine to learn from a human?

Is it realistic to believe a machine is capable of adopting human communication, actions, and responses to the point of replicating human behavior?

It’s not crazy to think entire businesses may eventually be automated and able to adapt to market changes based on how well machines can learn from their human instructors.

How To Apply Deep LearningThink about the last time you called your cell phone carrier or Internet service provider to talk about your service. You probably had to use an automated voice answering system before you eventually spoke to a human. Many automated answering systems aren’t very intuitive. In fact, you probably have more than a few memories of yelling into the phone or speaking like a robot before you either finally reached the person you wanted to or hung up in frustration.

A recent Forrester Research study shows almost 80 percent of U.S. adults choose “valuing a customer’s time” as the most important sign of good customer service. It’s hard to feel like your time is being valued if you’re becoming more frustrated with every attempt. For every misroute or repeated voice command the customer experiences, each instance can erode a caller’s trust in your company’s service.

What is Machine Learning, or Deep Learning?

So, what exactly is machine learning? Global management and consulting firm McKinsey & Company has an excellent definition of machine learning:

“Machine learning is based on algorithms that can learn from data without relying on rules-based programming.”

Instead of being programmed to do a certain task, computers can be fed a series of information. The systems will detect whatever data is entered and will match the new data with the data set already in its memory. For instance, rather than teaching a computer how to draw a dog, programmers can load millions of pictures of dogs into the computer’s database so it will recognize any dog or sketch that resembles a dog.

So, why is this important?

Machine learning builds mathematical and logical algorithms inside a computer’s processing system. This allows the computer to learn, adapt, and respond based on the information it receives.

You may wonder, “Is machine learning really that important?” It is if you can use machines to enhance your client’s care and provide admin support for more mundane tasks, like resetting passwords, collecting contact information, such as email addresses and phone numbers, and even provide sales support. Having a reliable machine-learning system in place frees up live customer service agents to handle more complex conversations with customers or revenue-generating activities, like closing a sale. With 75 percent of people preferring to solve a tech problem on their own, the value of having an automated system that learns what people truly need in the moment is priceless.

This is only made possible if the machine-learning experience is efficient, nimble, and most importantly, hyper-accurate. A Harvard Business Review study article states that businesses incorporating machine-learning processes and systems into their everyday operations are experiencing both top line and bottom line performance increases. Study author H. James Wilson wrote, “Powerful machine-learning algorithms that adapt through experience and evolve in intelligence with exposure to data are driving changes in businesses that would have been impossible to imagine just five years ago.”

Machine Learning Helps Businesses Handle High Volumes of Clients

Machine learning allows businesses to engage with a high volume of clients on a daily basis. Each interaction creates its own set of data specific to both the client and the customer service process itself. Machine-learning systems can curate the data collected from each interaction and adjust the algorithms for even better accuracy. Now, does continual training of a computer lead to ongoing costs? Yes, but think of how much time is already being invested in a customer service personnel base that experiences high turnover, low expectations, and a stigma of being one of the least fulfilling jobs in almost every industry.

Imagine if a customer service machine-learning process can also use predictive analytics to suggest a repeated issue that the caller may be calling about again. Imagine if a customer starts a phone call with Tech Support and receives a personalized response based on what the system already knows about their previous interactions. How do you think the customer will feel about the company? It’s a faster, more accurate, and friendlier process that no longer feels cold and uninformed. Integrating a Natural Language Processing (NLP) system may even make the customer service experience one of the easiest ways for a customer to feel appreciated and heard by your company.

As with many tech sectors, machine-learning startups are the ones with the freedom to explore some of the newer frontiers. Google spends billions of dollars acquiring fledgling startups, some of which turn into headline-snatching mistakes, like acquiring Nest’s smart home technology valued at $3.2 billion but riddled with bugs. Of course, many of Google’s acquisitions are massive successes. Is acquiring scores of wild-card startups expensive and unpredictable? Yes, but in the case of Google, money is never the issue and when they hit paydirt, the windfall may be historic. One of the biggest winning acquisitions made by Google is their $500 million purchase of DeepMind, a London-based artificial intelligence startup whose acquisition signaled the beginning of AI as a major tech sector.

DeepMind has already helped Google with energy efficiency. Google operates data centers around the world and put DeepMind’s data and machine learning capabilities to use improving power usage efficiency, or PUE as it’s also called, in all its data centers. DeepMind adjusted the computer usage patterns and reduced Google’s power usage by several percentage points. That may not sound like a lot, but think about this: Google used 4,402,836 MWh of electricity in 2014, roughly the same amount of energy used by 366,903 U.S. family homes in one year. Reducing power usage by one percent every year will translate to hundreds of millions of dollars saved in energy costs… and all because a machine learned how to use data to make changes. Using DeepMind to save energy costs will pay for the acquisition of DeepMind, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In fact, Google had probably some of the most efficient structures in place for its data centers, and DeepMind still improved on their design. In spite of excellent over-all efficiency, Google had inefficient cooling systems in place before integrating DeepMind’s AI learning. Imagine how much energy, time, and most importantly, money could be recouped or saved by implementing machine learning for everyday processes. Retail giant Amazon is also experimenting with machine learning for fraud detection, website marketplace optimization, and even packaging and shipping processes. Simply restructuring a conveyer belt by a matter of feet could save Amazon tens of thousands of dollars every year in wasted energy.

Microsoft is rumored to be building a machine learning tool suite called Open Mind Studio. The intent is to integrate Microsoft’s machine-learning technology across its product spectrum, including Outlook, Skype, HoloLens, and search engine Bing. At the core of Microsoft’s machine-learning efforts is its Cortana Intelligence Suite combined with its Azure Machine Learning Studio that can be used by businesses and developers for creating, testing, and integrating predictive analytics with user data. The more tech leaders expand the reach of machine learning, the greater the potential for businesses to enjoy the possibilities.

Over a dozen European banks have replaced their outdated statistical-modeling systems with machine learning. The results are eye-opening in some instances:

  • 10 percent increase in new product sales.
  • 20 percent saving in capital expenditures.
  • 20 percent increase in cash collections.
  • And, 20 percent decline in churn.

Part of the machine learning systems initiated by the banks are microtargeted models that can accurately predict which patrons will default on bank loans or cancel service with a built-in intervention process. Machines are now helping save humans from their own spending habits by predicting failure and intervening before it becomes a reality.

This article is an excerpt from NEO founder Jesse Morris’ new book Data and the World of Today: The Reality of Today that will Impact your Business Tomorrow. Purchase your copy via Amazon.com.

Artificial Intelligence Is Literally Changing Lives

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Artificial Intelligence: I know I mention this as a topic and your thought immediately goes to the movie Terminator: droids that are built to look, act, and sound like humans who are intent on taking over the world. Don’t worry, droids taking over the world probably won’t happen any time soon.

What is closer than we might realize is the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into our everyday world.

How Artificial Intelligence Will Change The FutureThe concept has been growing for years, but it’s never been closer to reality than today. Artificial Intelligence is finally living up to its potential. It’d be helpful to know what we’re talking about when it comes to Artificial Intelligence.

As silly as it may sound, ‘artificial’ may not be as clearly understood as it seems, and also, ‘intelligence’ may have different levels of expectation from each of us. The human brain as the home of natural intelligence is, of course, the birthplace of artificial intelligence. The human brain experiences a cacophony of electrical activity that translates into motor movement, spoken and nonverbal communication, situational processing, and at the very basic level, our ‘fight or flight’ response.

A Story of a Monkey and AI Changing Lives

Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, Professor of Neuroscience at Duke University (Durham, NC), became fascinated with ‘brain storms’: electrical activity caused by neurons firing between the more than 100 million cells in the human brain. Dr. Nicolelis’ research recorded this neural activity and decoded the neurons as a sort of alphabet to communicate with extensions and devices outside the body.

Dr. Nicolelis and his team developed a Brain Machine Interface from 2000 to 2001 with a multi-channel sensor system to receive the electrical communication from the brain. The receptor system then processed the electrical signals as part of real-time analysis of brain activity. The sensors are designed to specifically look for any signals that are connected to motor movement: raising an arm, shifting a foot, flexing fingers, or even standing up from a seated position.

Any motor movement information was then sent through a telemetry processor to a 3D artificial limb, such as a robotic arm. But the question remained, how well did the translation of the motor movement work, from the brain’s electrical impulse to the robotic arm? Dr. Nicolelis’ team started experimenting with a rhesus monkey named Aurora in early 2003. The research team monitored and recorded Aurora’s brain activity while playing a simple computer game with a joystick. If Aurora completed a basic challenge in the game, she received an automated drip of Brazilian orange juice as her reward.

Aurora’s ‘brain storms’ were uploaded to a robotic arm using the Brain Machine Interface so the computer and a robotic arm could begin learning Aurora’s impulse and motions to play the same game. When Dr. Nicolelis’ research team switched to the Brain Machine Interface after thirty days, Aurora was able to simply think of the direction to move the sensor in the computer game and the robotic arm responded based on her brain activity.

Two Monkeys Changing The World

In a similar situation, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University experimented with two macaques monkeys in using robotic arms to eventually establish brain control over an artificial appendage. The scientists identified 100 motor neurons that a computer analyzed in their electrical activity and translated the neural activity into an electronic command to move the robotic arm. The arms were mounted flush with the macaques’ left shoulders and the computer initially helped the monkeys move the robotic arm to help establish motion control.

As the monkeys learned to adopt the movements, the research team noticed an adaptation of movement that could not be anticipated in virtual environments. The testing results show the brain’s amazing ability to adopt, adjust, and use a prosthetic appendage based solely on the brain’s motor activity fired in a specific area of the cortex. Dr. John F. Kalaska, neuroscientist at the University of Montreal, after seeing the macaques’ progress, noted that, “[Brain-activated prosthetic limb adoption] would allow patients with severe motor deficits to interact and communicate with the world not only by the moment-to-moment control of the motion of robotic devices, but also in a more natural and intuitive manner that reflects their overall goals, needs and preferences.”

So, if the brain is capable of creating the right type of data to control a prosthetic limb, could the brain control more than one prosthetic limb at a time? Dr. Nicolelis and his research team posed that same question while continuing to study Aurora’s ‘brain storms’. The difference is that Aurora was controlling a single robotic arm over 7,000 miles away at Kyoto University in the Kyoto Prefecture of Japan. The control signal between Aurora’s brain and the robotic arm at Kyoto University was registered at 20 milliseconds faster than the brain signal between her brain and other muscles in her body.

The Duke University research team added a second monkey to their experiment… and a second robotic arm for both monkeys. Implants in the monkeys’ brains tracked and translated between 374 to 497 motor-controlling neurons to send the appropriate signal to the robotic arms. The two rhesus monkeys have successfully controlled both arms at the same time using a new and improved bimanual brain-interface machine. The results are promising because, of course, the ultimate goal isn’t just to allow perfectly functional monkeys to control robotic arms. The hope is to empower paraplegics and amputees with the brain-controlled capabilities to enjoy life without limits.

What Does This Mean For Humans?

To put this simply, this research proves that our brain has the ability to form new pathways. How does this translate into our daily lives? It means that while you are working there is the potential for your brain to be controlling a robot at home cleaning your house. It takes the concept of multitasking to a whole new level.

Think about the possible implications!

But, how can artificial intelligence be applied for quadriplegics? What if no neural activity is registering any motor control inside a human body? The same advances in brain-machine interface technology are now allowing monkeys to control a robotic wheelchair simply by thinking. Dr. Nicolelis and his team monitored the brain activity of two rhesus monkeys that were trained to maneuver a wheelchair just by watching it move. The monkeys transitioned to using their brains’ neuron signals to navigate a two-meter path across the room to retrieve grapes from a dispenser. The experiment required careful insertion of intracranial implants to register the monkeys’ neural activity for far superior motor control of the wheelchair.

The data received from monitoring the two monkeys’ brain activity while telematically controlling the wheelchair is the same type of data that may be used in the future to improve the livelihood of severely disabled people. People suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s, or any number of motor neuron diseases, now have hope of controlling their livelihood. Dr. Nicolelis and his team have now started implementing the discoveries and data tracking capabilities of their brain-machine interfaces into human experimentation.

This article is an excerpt from NEO founder Jesse Morris’ new book Data and the World of Today: The Reality of Today that will Impact your Business Tomorrow. Purchase your copy via Amazon.com.

 

Denver CO Business Intelligence Company Never Ever Ordinary

Shake Up Your Business With Data Analytics

Denver CO Business Intelligence Company Never Ever OrdinaryBusiness today doesn’t look like it did for our grandparents, or even our parents.  In fact, technology is changing so much and at a staggering speed that we can’t keep up easily!  In fact, 90% of the world’s data historically has been created in the last two years!  That’s a lot of data being created and therefore a lot of data that a business needs to put to use.

Just because business looks different, and just because data feels daunting at times, this doesn’t mean that businesses should ignore it.  In fact, a few basic measures can get a business tracking, analyzing, and measuring data in a way that makes their business work more efficiently and effectively.

Big Data For Big Results:  Denver CO Business Intelligence Company Weighs In

• Baseline Metrics – Know where you started from to measure growth

• Key Performance Indicators – Put a measurable standard to the things you find most valuable.

• Demographic Understanding – Know your customers.  We mean really KNOW.   And, not just with an emotional hunch, but know something and back it up with the numbers.

• Business Opportunities – See clearly and easily where your business is falling short, so that you can know where to focus your efforts.

• Measure What-If Scenarios – Understand the implications of a decision before you make it.

• Understand Market & Industry Trends – The data will tell you what is going on and what you can expect.

• Predictive Analytics – Make educated predictions of what will happen in the future, based on hard facts of what is happening now!

• Competitive Intel – Get a leg up on your competition.

• Real-Time Knowledge – Base your business and marketing decisions on things happening right now in your business, not data that is months or years old.

& More…

The reality is that data analytics are constantly opening new doors and opportunities of how we can use data to propel our businesses forward.  The best part is that the technology and development needed to collect and analyze data is now more affordable than ever before for mid and small size businesses.  It is not out of the question for any size business to be using data analytics and business intelligence to grow their business.

Never Ever Ordinary is a business intelligence and data analytics company based in Denver, Colorado, but serving clients all over the country and even some internationally.  If you want to learn more about how to use data to grow your business, we’d love to talk to you.

Data Analytics For Denver Business

Why Denver Businesses Should Care About Data | Spotlight on Data Analytics For Denver Business

Data Analytics For Denver BusinessData Analytics For Denver Business & Startups

You may not realize it now, but you will…and soon.  Business intelligence is going to be a crucial thing for businesses within the next few years.  The reality is that business intelligence is already vital for businesses, but as with most new things, businesses haven’t all caught on.  We’re seeing this already locally: business intelligence in Denver CO is vital for the growing number of startups and tech-based businesses that are popping up.  The competition is fierce and there is no room for failure.

If you want to stay competitive, your business simply MUST be employing business intelligence and data analytics in your planning strategy.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence is a broad term that applies to the software applications used to analyze raw data, data mining, analytical processing, querying and reporting.  There are immense amounts of data available today, and a business that can organize that data in a meaningful way can leverage their business above the competition.

Why Is Business Intelligence Important for Denver Businesses?

Denver is a prime example of why businesses need business intelligence and data powering their business.  Denver has been ranked as a top spot for entrepreneurs and startups by publications like Kiplingers, Nerdwallet, CNBC, and more.  The tech startup scene is alive and thriving.  New ideas are thriving and being promoted left and right.

With all of this new business and great energy, there are huge opportunities to start a business off right.  Data can help inform if an idea has viability and a future.  Data can also help a startup track and measure their growth. The best part is that these newer businesses can start from day #1 and have a comprehensive business approach with data. This is something most businesses cannot say because data was an afterthought and implemented later on in the business.

Data Is Not Just For Denver.

We’re based here in Denver and provide business intelligence solutions for businesses in Denver, so we have a keen vantage point to see the fun energy here.  But, we work with businesses all over the country, and even internationally.  We’re seeing the surge of businesses here locally rising from nothing to a booming company and all with the power of data.  The reality is that ALL businesses need a data plan, and if you don’t realize it and start now, your business WILL be left behind within a few years.

Press Release: Denver Data Analytics Company Releases Data Dashboard For Businesses

Denver, CO – Data Analytics Becomes Attainable For Businesses with NEO Analyzer Dashboard

Denver Data Analytics Company - Business Intelligence DenverFor many years, we’ve been told that data is important, but only the big boys, the giants of business, had the funds to implement and use data in a meaningful way.  However, local Denver, CO Data Analytics Company, Never Ever Ordinary (NEO) is out to change that.  NEO has developed a number of tools and resources for small and mid-size businesses that can change how they approach data, and allow them to use it in a meaningful way for growth.

Never Ever Ordinary is excited to announce the release of their NEO Analyzer Dashboard.  This dashboard allows businesses to stay current with real-time snapshots, down to laser-focused details of what is going on with their business.  Business owners can track growth and measure trends both internally and externally within their business model. The NEO Analyzer is focused around setting up data collection of the most valuable data for your business model, and organizing and analyzing that data in a way that makes most sense for you.  They call themselves translators of data because the dashboard puts complex data in easy-to-understand charts, graphs, and models.

The NEO Analyzer can be customized for more specific needs within a business.  It includes discovery sessions, development, support from the NEO team, and monthly access to track your data over time.  The dashboard is designed to help a business gather, track, analyze, and benchmark data over time to help a business stay competitive both now and in the years to come.

Data analytics allow any size business to stay competitive in their local community and within their overall industry.  Small business owners often argue that their competitive edge is that they know their customers so much more personally than a big box business.  However, data is changing all of that, and allowing the big companies to personalize the customer experience.  That competitive edge is going away for many small businesses, but it doesn’t have to!  Data analytics can help local businesses have the same data intel on their business trends, customer trends, local trends, and industry trends.  Data can give them the information they need to stay competitive and grow.

Never Ever Ordinary has created solutions that can work with almost any size business. In fact, one of their main client groups is the private practice sector where individual doctors own a few locations.  Never Ever Ordinary has designed data analytics dashboards and reports that give the local business owner data that actually means something to them in their market, and helps them make distinct decisions.  Their suite of services can be effective for anything from a brand new startup to an established, thriving business on the move.

Never Ever Ordinary is based in Denver, Colorado, but serves clients throughout the United States and even internationally.  To learn more about these innovative reports, contact Jesse Morris at the contact information provided below.

Never Ever Ordinary

Jesse Morris

info@nevereverordinary.com

www.nevereverordinary.com

Twitter:  @neverordinaryBI

Denver Data Analytics Company - Business Intelligence Denver

Press Release Denver Dental Analytics Company Leads The Way In Data Analytics For The Dental Industry

Data Analytics Company Creates Dental Analytics Tools

Dental Analytics Denver ColoradoNever Ever Ordinary is a data analytics company, Denver, who is out to change the way dentists approach their business.  Founded by a financial expert who worked closely with dentists and dental specialists for many years in the finance and accounting space, NEO works closely to bring a comprehensive perspective to how you run a dental practice.  The financial piece is only just a piece. The insurance, the clinical stats, the staffing, the marketing, are all just pieces, but they all impact each other and impact the practice’s bottom line.  Jesse Morris saw the desperate need for dentists to embrace data to help them look at all of the pieces together and use data analytics in a smart way to grow their business.

Data Analytics For Dentists

Never Ever Ordinary has created data analytics targeted specifically for the dental industry.  These analytics help dentists use and organize much of the data that they are already gathering via their practice management softwares, financials, and other data.  The reports organize the information in digestible charts and tables in a dashboard that updates real-time.  Dentists and doctors can have a current understanding of what is going on in their practice.  Reports can be customized to answer specific questions the dentist has about the practice and business.  The dashboard also collects data in a meaningful way, giving the practice hard and fast data to benchmark themselves against year after year.

Take the Guesswork Out Of Managing a Practice

Up until now, most practices have made their decisions based on postulation or guesses.  Now, most of the time, these guesses are highly educated looking at some KPI’s or getting insights from practice consultants or specialists.  However, if you’re not using the data your practice has in an intelligent, and analytical way, you’re still just making educated decisions that you hope will work out.  Using business intelligence to combine this massive amount of information together allows you to see the impact of your decision in a numerical, mathematical way.  You can KNOW what you need to do, rather than have a hunch of what to do.

Changing The Game For Dentists

Practice owners and dentists often hire a myriad of specialists and consultants to help them run the business and clinical sides of their practice.  While these roles are still very important, the NEO Analyzer dashboard for dentists pulls together all of these factors and data from all aspects of the business to help the dentist see the big picture.  This is a new thing for many dentists to grasp, and many simply aren’t ready for it.  However, those that don’t employ the use of data for their practice in an efficient and intelligent way, WILL be left in the dust by practices that do, or by corporate dentistry operations that have the resources to use data in a big way.

The reality is that data is a big deal in business, and that includes the private practice business model as well.  While data hasn’t always been easy to employ in a small business, Never Ever Ordinary has broken that barrier to bring data analytics and business intelligence to dentists, orthodontists, and other dental specialists.

Never Ever Ordinary is a business intelligence and data analytics company, Denver, CO.  They work primarily with dental practices, and other business to provide consultation on data gathering, real-time dashboards showing trends and data analytics, and customized reports that put data in a easy-to-understand format.  Never Ever Ordinary has developed many proprietary solutions to help businesses gather and use data in an effective way.  NEO serves clients locally in Denver, Colorado near their headquarters, but also services clients all over the country.

To learn more about these innovative reports, contact Jesse Morris at the contact information provided below.

Never Ever Ordinary

Jesse Morris

info@nevereverordinary.com

www.nevereverordinary.com

Twitter:  @neverordinaryBI

What Do Patients REALLY Care About?

Improve Your Practice By Knowing Your Practice |  Business Intelligence For Private Practice

NEO time Business Intelligence For Private PracticeA good practice is centered around making the patient experience a positive one, but how do you know if you’re doing the right things?  There are so many personalities and different needs of patients that it can feel daunting to know what you should actually focus on.

We talk to a lot of patients in our line of work, and we have seen a few common trends in the things that patients care about the most.

Here’s what patients care about:

  1. Time – Respect your patients’ time by staying on schedule.
  2. Convenience – Patients are looking for appointment times that can fit within their busy lives.  They’re also looking for easy access to find your office’s contact information, address, and physical location.  Make sure that all of this information is blatantly obvious for your patients to find.
  3. Clear Expectations – Set up the expectation of what is involved in a particular procedure or appointment up front so that the patient has no surprises.
  4. Taking Ownership – When you or your team has made a mistake, own up to it.  You’ll gain more respect by your integrity, rather than lose a patient that feels like you don’t care.
  5. Taking Perceived Ownership – The patient doesn’t always know the behind-the-scenes as to why something was done the way it was, nor do they care.  If the patient is perceiving that something was done wrong, take ownership and make steps to help make the situation right.
  6. Clear Explanations – Don’t expect that your patients understand all of your dental or medical jargon.  They didn’t go to medical school, and often need you to put things in plain English.
  7. A “Wow” Experience – Patients may not consciously know they are looking for a “wow” experience, but they know when they’ve had one.  What are you doing to make a memorable experience for your patients from the moment they walk in your door?
  8. Reviews – Patients care about word of mouth and online reviews more than anything else about your practice.  If someone else has vouched for your practice, they will automatically have a certain level of trust.
  9. Smiles – It’s a novel idea, really, that a dental or medical office is full of smiles.  A smiling face can go a long way to improve someone’s day, put them at ease about a scary procedure, or simply create a welcoming atmosphere.  Either way you spin it, smiles matter!

When you know what patients are looking for, you can manage your practice in a way that meets these needs.  So, the question is, how is your practice doing on all of these categories?

  • Do you run on time?
  • Do you have convenient appointment times for your patients (not necessarily just for you)?
  • Do you set clear expectations so that patients know what to expect when they come for an appointment?
  • Do you educate your patients in a way that they understand?
  • Do you take ownership?  When was the last time you apologized to a patient?
  • What do you do to create a memorable experience at your office?
  • How is you practice doing with online reviews?
  • Does your team smile more than frown?

 

Learn more about business intelligence and data analytics for private practices and dental offices from Never Ever Ordinary.

Could A Positive Attitude Save Your Practice?

Cultivating Positivity In Your Team | Business Intelligence For Private Practice

NEO positivity - Business Intelligence For Private PracticeA positive attitude is perhaps the best thing you can cultivate within your practice to not only improve your office’s atmosphere, but create a stellar patient experience every single time.  However, positivity is not something that will happen automatically, nor will it happen overnight.

How do you cultivate positivity into your practice?

  1. Start Off Positive.  Start your day by writing down five things you are grateful for.  It may be the same five things each day, or you can change it each day.  The point here is that you are taking time to mentally think through the things that you are thankful for.  Slowing down and being mindful of these things is so important, especially in our fast-paced lives.
  2. Express Gratitude To Others.  Find ways to thank others and verbalize gratitude to them.  Make it a point to thank people in your life for the little and big things they do.  Your patients will notice that you are grateful and respectful to your staff, and they will respect you more for it.
  3. Look For Silver Linings.  One of our favorite movies is Silver Linings Playbook and from that movie, we’ve adopted the habit of looking for silver linings in all situations.  Yes, bad situations and bad days happen, but there is always something good you can find.  There’s always something you can learn from bad days.
  4. View Difficulties As An Opportunity.  You have a great team behind you, and when you face difficulties, include the insight of your team as an opportunity to solve a problem.  That problem doesn’t have to always be a problem, and by seeing what you can learn from it the first time around, you can avoid these challenges in the future.
  5. Take Ten Minutes For Mindfulness.  Finding space in your day to be mindful of your emotions, be thankful, and recognize what is happening in the day is a great way to reset yourself.  We live in very busy lives, and most practices run at very fast paces.  Breaks are important and can be vital to helping you maintain a positive outlook on life.

Positivity Starts With You.

As the practice owner, you set the tone for the entire practice.  You need to project the positivity that you want to be prominent in your team.  Your team will follow your lead, and your patients will follow your team’s lead.  If you’re reading this and you’re not the team leader in your group, know that positivity starts with you too.  You can become a leader simply by projecting positivity into your environment.  Ultimately, no one can make positivity happen in your life for you; YOU have to choose to make it a priority in your life.

Cultivating positivity is so important within your practice, but these tips are applicable in any aspect of your life.  You can cultivate positivity in your friendships, your home, your marriage, or even just your interaction with the next store clerk you encounter.  Positivity can do wonders.  We’ve seen it turn practices around from failing to excelling beyond all belief.

 

Learn more about Never Ever Ordinary and our practice and dental analytics services and tools!

The Best Ways To Improve The Patient Experience

Grow Your Practice By Improving The Patient Experience

Successful practices know that the patient experience is not just an important focus, it is THE main focus.  That stellar patient experience starts and ends with your team.  As you focus on improving the patient experience, there are a number of things to think about.  We recommend starting with one or two tactics and then build on from there.

Top Tactics For Improving The Patient Experience:

  1. Improving The Patient Experience | Never Ever Ordinary Jesse Morris Business IntelligenceThe Power Of A Name.  Using someone’s name is a simple thing, but is actually a really BIG thing.  By using someone’s name in a sentence, you validate their worth and let them know that you care about who they are.
  2. Remember Details.  Remembering details about a patient and then recollecting those details at later visits will blow your patients minds!  For example, if you have a patient who loves fly fishing, you can ask them if they’ve been on any recent fishing trips.  By doing so, you signal to the patient that you care about them, and not just the fact that they are filling an appointment slot.
  3. Body Language.  Pay attention to your body language to see if you are closing people off, or welcoming them into interaction with you.  Crossed arms, indirect eye contact, and turned away shoulders are all signs that you don’t care about engaging with the patient.  Conversely, direct eye contact and body positioning to the patient tell your patient that you care about them.  Especially for dental and medical teams, remember that often positions that patients have to be in for exams is not comfortable.  Go the extra step, literally, and move to look at your patient, instead of down from behind.
  4. Active Listening.  Active listening, instead of passive listening, means that you are directly engaged with what the patient is saying.  Repeat back the patient’s questions or confirmations that you have heard what they are saying.  For example, if a patient is telling you about their family trip to Alaska, you could respond with a phrase that starts off with “While you were in Alaska, did you see…” or ask the patient about the most memorable part of their trip to Alaska.
  5. Speak in short, simple sentences…and then shut up.  Speak clearly to your patients when you are explaining procedures and then allow the patient to process the information you gave them.  Don’t be afraid of a few seconds of silence.  You risk bringing up concerns the patient didn’t have originally, or overcomplicating the explanation by rambling on and on.
  6. Do What You Say You’re Going To Do.  It’s simple really, but this is often the biggest reason that patients are disappointed.  If you say that you will do something, simply do it.
  7. Cultivate Positivity.  A positive attitude can go a long way in improving the patient experience.  If you and your team are committed to excellence and positivity, your patient experience will improve now and continue to improve over time.

Every practice can benefit from taking a few minutes to look at their own patient experience.  Whether you have a little to work on, or a lot to work on, it is worth taking the time to improve the patient experience.  A little effort to improve your patient satisfaction could be the key to growing and improving your practice!

 

Other Resources For Improving The Patient Experience:

The Beryl Institute

Improve the Patient Experience – Forbes

Managing Communication: The Art of Organizing Outlook

business intelligence company in Denver ColoradoPart 1: Folders

Communication – the ups & downs
Communication is a guiding principle in my interactions with our clients and their financial goals; however, communication becomes ineffective if I do not approach my workflow with a detail-oriented strategy. With the ever-present reality of technology and quick responses, clients and business contacts frequently pose questions, ideas, or thoughts through email. While this enables immediate dialogue, it also creates an email inbox full of messages.

Microsoft Outlook is an incredible tool for email if used properly; the personal information management system is known world-wide for its use in companies, non-profits, and for personal use to communicate ideas, achieve tasks, and maintain the interconnected reality of the present.

Still, nothing hinders efficiency than an unanswered inbox full of emails. One of the ways Outlook can help you –as it’s helped me – is to organize the internal folders.

What’s worked for me
In restructuring in my email folders within Outlook, I first analyzed the folders I had and my process for following up with emails I received daily. For me, the important emphasis was segmenting out and prioritizing what was important versus what could wait.

I borrowed a lot of organizational ideas from a book by a well-known productivity consultant, David Allen, titled Getting Things Done. My biggest take away from it was if I could achieve a task in two minutes or less, then I needed to go ahead and take care of it. If I was unable to in that very moment and yet still needed to take action, I could pull the email into its own folder, delete it, or archive it. The end goal is to only touch an email once to take action, and maybe a second time if you have to research something or need to think about your response. The subfolders I came up with were:

Action Items – Notes to Edit – Projects – Phone Calls -Waiting for/on- Travel – Webex
Within all folders, I proceeded to make subfolders that said “completed”. After, I generated archived folders that are a lot more detailed. It is necessary to have only a few folders within your inbox to keep it simplified. For example, I know “action items” is the one folder that I have to go to each and every day to make sure it is taken care. Your inbox should constantly be emptied throughout the day and most days I do not leave until it is emptied. If I am successful at this it is one thing that makes me feel like I accomplished or achieved something that day.

Within your inbox I recommend 4 to 7 folders. I have a couple of folders that serve a more temporary need (travel or webex, for example) but the folders I tend to be most concerned about are the action items, notes to edit, and phone calls.

What we are trying to achieve here is a way to organize emails to follow up with clients, with staff, and with other key individuals. How you manage your emails and tasks is a customized and personalized process. You might have certain nuances in your industry or in the way you keep up with client communication, but in the end, it is important that email is used as a tool for enhancing communication not barring it. Some of my colleagues prefer to organize their email folders by name of fellow staff or management – this is certainly another way that folders can be utilized to streamline the messages you receive daily.

Challenges
As you can imagine with any new organizational system there are challenges. To no surprise, time is one of the biggest issues on my end. Even with a goal to get through my emails daily, sometimes it just does not happen. Another issue is not forgetting about certain folders and losing some emails “in space”.

Yet, as with anything, we overcome challenges with patience and perseverance. I have stuck to my new internal email organizational system in Outlook and I feel more prepared, responsive, and ready to help the clients I serve. That is what organization can help you do, and I certainly hope these small approaches help you to achieve bigger goals.

Part II Coming Soon: Utilizing Outlook’s Task List

Jesse R. Morris, AIF®, CFS®, PPC

 

Jesse Morris is the founder of Never Ever Ordinary, a data and business intelligence company in Denver Colorado.