Do Your Team Members Have the HQ Factor?

Robert M. Pick, DDS, MS


I have come to agree with so many in the business sector who have recently stated that the hospitality quotient (HQ) is the single most important and powerful strategy, and secret, for business success. That includes dental business success as well!

Dental schools are there to train dentists in the necessary basic and clinical science and technique courses that ultimately yield a DDS or DMD degree, not to teach dentists how to hire their team members. But in today’s dental environment, if your business acumen isn’t on par with your clinical skill, you won’t enjoy the level of success that you would like.

Also, service and hospitality are two entirely different entities. Service is simply the action of helping someone, where hospitality itself is a dialogue between you, your team members, and that particular patient.

You will know that hospitality is occurring if your patients feel that you or your team members did something for them, made them feel special, were on their side, and created a customized experience for them. It doesn’t get any better than that. Remember, the way you and your team make your patients feel is what they remember more than anything else. 

Where to Begin

Your patients are experts at reading whether your team is focused on their work and if they are having fun with one another. Therefore, it is important to make sure that when your team comes to work, they are having a great and dynamite experience. 

It all starts with the amazing morning huddle, how it is run, and how it is ended. It’s no different than when you see a great sports team all put their heads together with the coach, come up with a high five, and go into the game with their adrenaline pumping. 

So at the end of your morning huddle, assign somebody to go “Three, two, one!” Then assign somebody to say “Yo!” and the next person to say the second “Yo!” Finally, assign the final person to give a great, quick, and motivational shout out such as “Let’s have a Masterpiece Monday!”

Everyone in the huddle should have their hands together while this is going on and then bring their hands up in the air after the motivational shout out. It creates a great start to the day.

Like those who have discovered the importance of hospitality, I want my employees to have 49% technical skill and a 51% HQ. You can have the best dental assistants in the world with the best dental assisting skills. But if they don’t have the emotional skills that lead to the patient having the most unbelievable experience ever, hence the HQ, you have the wrong employees.

You want your assistants’ natural wiring to say that they want your patients to feel special, better, and amazing. That applies to all of your team members too, including the doctors, the hygienists, the admins, the marketing and social media reps, and so on.

The team’s greatest pleasure in the world should be providing an amazing experience that none of your patients will ever forget. You and your team should want to make sure that all of your patients feel that every time they are in your office, they will have a customized experience just for them. 

It is so important to hire the right team members for the right position, with the right DISC personality profile, for your practice. Never settle, always hire the best, and hire those with a high HQ! People with a high HQ have nine common traits: kindness, empathy, optimism, integrity, work ethic, self-awareness, anticipation, curious intelligence, and spontaneous creativity.

Also, when a patient tells you things as part of your relationship building, such as how her daughter just had her first baby and named her Emily, and that she is a grandma for the first time, write that down. When you see the patient next time, you can ask how Emily is doing. You will blow your patient out of the water. This is so simple to do, and it works. 

When all of these techniques are used by team members who have a high HQ, your patients will say that your practice, and your team, is their favorite—not the best, but their favorite! It is tough for anyone to argue when somebody says that a practice is their favorite. Remember, your best (and least expensive) marketing is internal marketing from your great, existing patients.

You always want to have a practice that keeps innovating and has the best service, the best skill, the best equipment, the most up-to-date technology, and the best systems. But you also want to have the practice with the best team with the best HQ factor. So many “things” can be copied today in a heartbeat if they are good, but no one can copy your HQ aligned team.

Understanding Personalities

Part of giving your patients happiness, emotional comfort, and a customized experience to make your practice their favorite is the ever important understanding of each individual patient’s personality profile. My team and the teams that I coach I personally train in the DISC personality profile system. Understanding personality profiles is so important, as we all are different and we all respond in so many different ways.

You want to have your team so good at understanding personality profiles that they can discern your patients’ personalities just from their conversations, even on the phone and without seeing or meeting them. These personality estimates are then further confirmed upon their first contact. 

For example, it is usually easy to tell if someone is quite serious by their demeanor, by their lack of expression, and by how they want detailed information. These people have an analytical personality, like Mr. Spock from Star Trek. On the other hand, if you had President Donald Trump on the phone, he would display a driver personality, with a fast conversation that gets right to the point with information.

Both personalities would be very different, just based on how they speak on the phone. Whoever takes these calls would write down what they assess the caller’s personality to be. The assistant, hygienist, and doctor would confirm this assessment when they meet the patient, and this all would lead to how they interact with that patient for an amazing experience.

Your Turn 

In any business, if you really want to be someone’s favorite, you are just a box—a hospitality box. You ultimately want to give your patients happiness and emotional comfort. So if you can understand who your patients are and what their personality profile is, you can create the most amazing and emotionally great patient experience. Your patients then will tell you and others that you are their favorite, and you will have succeeded at a level that most dentists will not. You will also get new patients galore guaranteed!

Dr. Pick received his dental degree, certificate of residency in periodontics, and master’s degree all from Northwestern University. He currently is an associate professor of surgery, Division of Dentistry, at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and an attending at Northwestern Hospital. He is in full time practice and in the trenches just like you as well. He also is the CEO of the Pick Group, a practice management firm designed to make your practice unstoppable. He can be reached at (773) 402-8933 or

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