Managing a successful digital dental lab is certainly not easy. In fact, I would suggest it’s more difficult than ever to run an effective, highly profitable, competitive operation. One of the outcomes of the digital revolution is that more labs can produce better quality work in less time. The advent of CAD software and mills has made us all looking more alike. That said, competing in this new paradigm offers both more challenges and more opportunities. Always looking to come out on top, I want to share three critically important needs for every growing laboratory. Whether you have already made the transition to digital or have plans to do so, training, support and continued education need to be top priorities. Let’s take a closer look at how you should value each of these mission-critical elements.
Rule #1: Ask the Right Questions About Training
Going from analog to digital can be the most disruptive endeavor you can go through in your work life. The differences between a great training program and a mediocre program can result in the following:
- On time delivery vs. late cases
- Quickly falling into a productive workflow vs. struggling through each and every case
- Working through stacks of pans in a timely fashion vs. leaving the lab late at night
- Great designs vs. average or poor designs
- Happiness vs. misery
When purchasing a digital solution that you are unfamiliar with you should ask the following questions:
- How will I be trained?
- How may labs have you used this training program with?
- Can you provide 3 names and phone numbers of labs you have trained?
- How many trainings has the trainer completed?
- How was the trainer trained?
- How long is the program?
If the answer to any of these questions does not satisfy you, move to a different distributor. At Zahn Dental/CAP we have trained hundreds of technicians to be successful using many different CAD CAM devices.
Rule #2: Align With a Cutting-edge Technical Support Team
Ever have a batch of cases that you can’t ship on time because of a technical problem? I have, and this is certainly one of the worst things we go through in the dental lab. What is it worth to have a technical problem solved in 8-10 minutes? What’s the cost of having it linger for days or possibly weeks? Associating your lab with a qualified tech support team is as important to your lab as cash flow, staff that cares and works hard on a daily basis and good customer relationships. Before selecting a distributor for purchase and subsequent tech support ask yourself the following:
- How many tech support staff members are on your team? If there is 1 or 2, what happens during vacation periods? One person out is 50% decline in support response capabilities.
- If I call, how long will it take to get a live person on line to help fix my problem? On average this would be 5 minutes or less.
- How are your tech support staff trained? It’s great if they have worked with the products you are using.
- Do you keep metrics on tech support customer satisfaction? Look for a company that has a minimum of 96% favorable satisfaction rating. If they don’t have metrics on this you must wonder why.
Zahn Dental/CAP now employs 27 full time technical support and training staff with more on the way. Our commitment to resolving your technical problems is simply unmatched in North America. We’re very pleased with our 98% customer satisfaction rating.
Rule #3: Proactively Continue Your Education
Dental technology is changing so fast it’s impossible to keep up without attending relevant educational programs to start or continue to grow your company. Through proper selection of education you can come away with a big uptick in knowledge. Many programs can increase or improve your product line, help open new doors to obtain market share and get more work from your existing customers. Learn the latest on digital marketing, digital design, improve efficiency and anything else that will help you thrive.
We are working diligently, planning educational programs for the next year. Here is a short list of some of the offerings:
- Intro to 3Shape, hands-on (2 days)
- Advanced 3Shape design (2 Days)
- Comprehensive Izir Screw retained bridge clinical and lab protocol (1 Day)
- Hand-on Izir Design (1 Day)
- Digital Denture design
- Planning & designing surgical guides, hands-on
- Digital marketing and managing your website
- Webinars will be announced with a new topic every month
Please keep in mind, our programs sell out. Register early and plan to attend as many as possible. You will come out of any of these programs more knowledgeable. Zahn Dental/CAP want to partner with you to help you thrive. No one will be left out, the choice is yours and the choice is easy. We are better together to help you thrive.
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