Dr. Anissa Holmes is voted one of the top 25 women in Dentistry by Dental Products Report. She has effectively mastered the skill of the use of social media with a Facebook following of nearly 50,000 fans. As a Practicing Dentist, Social Media Strategist, Author, Podcaster and Speaker, Dr. Holmes shows dentists exactly how to create a profitable, thriving dental practice which has motivated, inspired team members and patients who are now raving fans. She does this by providing actionable steps to help dentists develop their business culture, their systems and their brand. Dr. Holmes is the host of the iTunes podcast, The Delivering Wow Dental Podcast and is also the author of the book Delivering WOW: How Dentists Can Build a Fascinating Brand & Achieve More While Working Less.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
- Can you share with us how you use some of the strategies and actions to create that delivering wow experience in your practice?
- In your book you say that there’s a myth that says “To be successful, we must be better than everyone else, we must try harder and work longer” but then further on you say it’s not about being better, it’s about being unique, can you speak a little more about that?
- On a global level, how do feel about customer experience from the Jamaican perspective, what do you feel are some of the things that are limiting organization from really delivering that WOW experience?
- Do you think that there is a direct correlation between poor leadership and poor customer experience in a lot of businesses?
- How do you stay motivated every day?
- What is the one online resource, website, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
- Do you offer programmes for persons who may want to take the step a little further, who may want to connect with you and learn how to use Facebook to build their business?
- What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
- What is one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – something that you are working on to develop yourself or your people?
- Where can our listeners find your information online?
- What is one quote or saying that you live by or that inspires you in times of adversity?
- Anissa Holmes is originally from the United States of America and grew up in New Orleans and attended dental school in Alabama. After completing dental school, she met her husband who is an oral surgeon and he grew up in Jamaica. They decided about 10 years ago to move from the USA to Jamaica, he figured that that’s where he could make the biggest difference so she sold her practice she had in Birmingham and she started again in Jamaica. She worked a few years for another dentist who had a really great reputation and about 5 years ago she started a brand new practice in Kingston, Jamaica and the premise there was that the practice would eventually be the number 1 dental practice in the country known for delivering a wow experience to its patients.
- Anissa Holmes shared the first step of creating an amazing practice; one that people talk about, one that has a fascinating brand is first creating that vision and saying, “What do I want to be known for? At the end of the day, what am I working for? What do I want to achieve?” Her vision was to create the number 1 dental practice in the country known for delivering an amazing wow experience and that was the vision that they would be there and that was the vision before anything was put in place and from there they said “What sort of practice would we need to be? What sort of team members would we have to have? What would have to be our core values?” Before they did anything, they actually thought about what they wanted to be and when she says “we”, it really is “we”. She feels like businesses that are super successful, if you look at Zappos, Amazon, Disney – it’s all about the team and for her when she was creating her core values for her company, she involved the team and they said “What do we want to be known for?” They did things like saying they wanted to be very unique, they wanted to make an impact on the community, they wanted to build strong teams, and they wanted to be known for delivering wow. So they set those core values out and so every decision they make had to be in align with those core values, so pursue growth and learning and so having those luncheon learn session where her team is constantly training and having book clubs where they are reading books together in terms of growing business and personal development with a kindle and that was something she did for her team, she thinks it’s really important, many people create this checklist and just put it down somewhere or hang it up but they don’t live it and once you have that, you know your vision then you have to say what sort of business do we need to be, what sort of team do we have to have and then you have to start creating amazing systems and really just designing how you are going to get there.
Anissa agreed that there were team members that weren’t agreeable in her vision. She stated that it’s very interesting because she really believes now that she is in a different realm and working with business owners and dentists and a lot of them have fear. Fear that the team is not going to buy into this whole creating an amazing experience culture and so what happens is that they do nothing. What she always says is that if you are a business owner, it’s your business, it’s your vision and her team is very aware for example if they have 100 things that have to happen to be able to create amazing experiences or to have consistency in the quality of work that they do or to make sure they are seeing people on time. These 100 things have to be done and if she could do them all by herself, she would have no reason to hire someone and she can keep that money in her pocket but she made a decision that all of these things need to be done, so there are different people that need to do it and the job has to be done and this is the vision of this company and it’s okay if you don’t feel like this is the right company for you but at the end of the day this is the company, these are the values, this is what we are working for. Anissa stated that when they first decided that they are going to be known for delivering an amazing experience, some people that was working at the practice said “okay, we are willing to try” they are still there and they are happy and they are making more money than they have ever made. This year January they had the entire team write down what it is that they are going to achieve, she put down her dream to go to Europe and have gone to Europe, 4 of her team members actually got cars this year which is a huge deal for people working in small businesses in Jamaica to be able afford a car. They have had amazing things happening and it’s because she aligned with her team members, she told them from the very beginning, if you they help her grow this business, you are going to develop personally, you are going to impact your family, achieve all your personal dreams and those that bought in with her, they are definitely living their dreams and some people it wasn’t for them and that was okay and she was okay to let them go.
Even along the road she has had different people and had to increase her team, just a few months ago they were testing someone for their new Dental Assistant, they needed to add a new Dental Assistant and someone came in, she was an assistant at another practice and she says “You mean I have to give a tour?” And that’s something when they look at their reviews, people constantly mention that – customers say “I can’t believe that I am getting a tour before my procedure”, and so this person was clearly not going to fit into the vision and the culture of the practice and so she just didn’t work out.
- Anissa Holmes stated that it’s very interesting because when you look at businesses, a lot of time they are focusing on what’s the competition doing, what’s this person doing and in Jamaica for example, her practice has a social media presence that is now over 50,000 fans and they are doing some cool things and as a result of it they see other practices that are doing similar things or posting similar things of what they are doing and she says it’s okay because they are connecting with people and growing their businesses but she is not focused on that. What she’s focused on is really always being innovative, being different and really not looking at what any one else’s doing and every year trying to strive to do something different. For example, 2 years ago they said that their vision, their focus for that year would be to create KPI’s and systems so that everything would be written down and so they created the manuals, they did that to systemize the practice and the next year; they said how can they create customer experiences , so that was their whole focus for last year and that’s when all of their team members were trained in Hand and Arm Massage and now they offer complimentary Hand and Arm Massages, so everything in terms of their brain storming with their team building was, how can we create a better experience, they created a system that at the end of an appointment they were guaranteed that a patient would give them a video testimonial and it’s just creating that system, touch points of giving them a tour, offering them a Hand and Arm Massage, giving them the headphones and the iPads, giving them a warm towel at the end, the Doctor, the Hygienist, the Front Desk saying, “How was your experience?” Guaranteeing that the person is going to say it was great, so that was their focus, just focusing on that.
- This year their focus now that their system is in place, they have an awesome team, their doing great experiences, this year they are like “How can we be different in our community impact?” So this year they say every month they are giving to different charity, they have done small make over competitions, they have given equipments to Children’s Hospital, their dental clinic, they have done all sort of things and it’s about being unique, not worried about what anyone else is doing, just trying be very innovative, be very different. In their practice they have a guarantee that you’ll be seen within 15 minutes of your appointment time or your next exam is free but you have to have the systems in place and that was done 2 years ago, she could have not given that guarantee then but they have it now and they guarantee that you will have an amazing experience and you get a great quality of work. Just focusing on what can you do that makes people become very drawn to your business. Anissa stated that in marketing, it’s not good for her to go out and say, “I’m a Dentist and I do fillings or I’m a Dentist and we do teeth whitening” doing an advertisement like that is not very effective because Dentists are supposed to do that but when you create an advertising campaign or creating promotional pieces about how you make people feel and how you have been able to change their lives by taking away the fear and giving them an amazing experience, what happens is that people are drawn to your business and you are able to grow.
Dr. Anissa Holmes stated that hiring for the right profile, they do that and they look at DISC testing behavioral style, for example, if their Hygienist is very outgoing in terms of her behavioral style, they want someone who has the profile of being a very sensitive, very compassionate type to be her Dental Assistant and so they kind of have that balance, the person who does their training of Dental Assistants has a different style and that’s part of it. The other part is that once you start to be knowing for having a certain type of business, those sort of people are going to be attracted to your business and so they are now finding that a lot of their new hires are actually coming to them saying that they know about their business already, they have been following us on Facebook or people are talking about them in the community and they want to work in their practice and so it’s that sort of the mindset of the people and again, once they come in having that training and so most people are not trained on understating that they way you connect with people is not by necessarily talking, it’s about listening and a huge part of their training with all of their team members is understanding the importance of listening, of asking questions, so you can get to the heart of the matter.
For example, in dentistry, a lot of people may say, “I don’t want a crown” some dental offices or dentists around the world will say in their mind, ”They don’t want it because they can’t afford it” or “They don’t want it because they are afraid” but you are not asking them why they don’t want it and you just move on and you miss out on that opportunity to help them. Dr. Anissa Holmes stated that what they do in her practice they will say “Why don’t you want that crown?” and they may say, “The reason why I don’t want it is because my daughter is getting married next month and so I just don’t have any money right now”, and you can say, “Will you be ready in a few months?” and then they say “Sure” and you say “Okay, great, just write it down and when you come back for your next cleaning then we’ll go ahead and have it sorted out then” or they’ll say “I don’t want it because I don’t think I need it” and then you can say “Okay, let’s talk about why or what happens if you don’t do it. In my experience of practicing for so long this is what happens and so if you don’t fix the tooth, what’s going to happen is that you’re going to be out one day and you’re going to bit down and it’s going to break, it’s going to split, you’re going to have to take it out, it’s going to be more procedures, more cost and based on the condition, you are in a 80% chance that that’s going to happen to you, are you okay with that?” The person is going to think and say, “You’re right, I need to do it.”It’s all about training your team, letting them understand how that happens and when they see it happening over and over again, in terms of people making decisions to have a purchase or do treatment because of asking questions, they buy into it.
- Anissa Holmes stated that she feels that a lot of organizations and businesses locally and internationally, the challenge is that they don’t understand how valuable it is to help you to grow your business and for her having business, her dental practice is set up on systems, it’s very profitable, it can run without her and a lot of people think that for you to have success, it’s going to take 20 years of you working, 80 hours a week and that is not the formula for her that she wanted to take and for her she said, “How is it that I can create a practice that can essentially run without me?” meaning that she is there because she wants to be there not because she has to be there, she has 2 other dentist that gives her freedom at this stage in practice which is over 17 years to now start teaching other dentist and do other things as well. That’s the key for saying, “What’s going to be the way for me to get there? Is it working for 20 years or is there a smarter way?” Once you start thinking of the smarter way, everything that she does, she likes to break it down and figure out how she’s going to do it. For her, the how of how she was going to get there was looking at creating a unique business, creating something that people would be talking about and it’s because she got it, because she understood the importance of putting in an amazing customer experience and there was an objective there. Also if we do this, this is what will happen to me personally, she can have a more balanced life, better things for her family, for her team as well. A lot of people just think that a business is all about having it for 30 years and you work in it until you can’t work anymore and that’s really what business is all about and people at a higher level realize that that’s really not what business is all about and it’s about serving your customers, being able to solve their problems and also create something that would give you that balance and be able to give you that profitability to do what you want to do for your family, people just don’t know that formula so they just work too hard.
- Anissa Holmes agreed that there is a correlation between poor leadership and poor customer experience in a lot of businesses and it boils down to leadership and sometimes you have great team members or you have a great product or service but you have no one to really lead that team and a lot of times that vision does come from the leaders. In her practice for example, it was her coming and say, “This is the vision I have for my practice” and getting people inspired to take part and they knew that it would help them to achieve their dreams as well and so she finds that businesses that have the strongest leaders are the strongest businesses so it absolutely boils down to that. Sometimes as a leader, you have to make decisions that may make you uncomfortable, for example, there may be people who are on your team and you have to be the one to says, “Listen, this is not working” or training them again or saying “I’m sorry but we need to shift you to a different position because you’re not able to really give your fullest potential in this position” and being able to shift people around in a way that they understand and not get offended and leaders have to make those uncomfortable decisions but they also have to be there to inspire people to greatness.
- Anissa Holmes stated that staying motivated it’s really about just creating a culture where you are having fun, where you are solving peoples’ problems. She hears from her team that it’s not like going to work, it’s like you have a family and you build that culture and you see the lives that are being changed, how you’re helping people and that’s really powerful. The other thing that’s interesting is that her team, they all know their strengths and they know their weaknesses and for her, she really great at coming up with strategy and design of different implementation plans that they are going to be doing, she’s really great with helping to inspiring but a lot of the “nitty gritty” details that have to happen and she can’t do everything herself. She is not great at following up with patients every single night for phone calls but that’s something her husband does every night and that’s great but for some reason she can’t do it but it’s important and it has to be done and so one of her team members who is really great at that, she’s one of the assistants, people love her, she’s the one that actually makes all the calls, she does it the next day so by then they have the time to settle and really assess but she calls every single day and she follows up with people and she’s consistent. So they all know their strengths in terms of their behavioral styles and weaknesses so what they do has a team is that they don’t judge, just take the best of everybody and put them in the right spot that way the business can continue to thrive and that boils down to leadership and because of the culture and everybody knows it, no one gets offended, it’s about everybody giving their best so that the business can grow and at the end of the day if the business grows, everybody wins because we are able to have a more profitable business and as a result, salaries can increase and benefits can increase and everybody wins.
- Anissa Holmes shared that the one online tool she uses everyday is Facebook, she stated that she started using Facebook in 2010 when she first started her Dental Practice in Jamaica and that’s when Facebook was getting started with their business pages and when she first started using Facebook, she said she is going to use this tool because you can share your culture and you can share your practices’ story and it’s very difficult to do that in other forms of paid advertising. You can actually build a community of people that are helping each other that are not even patients, some are patients, people are asking questions and people are answering each other questions and it’s really cool. At that time they started to get 5 new patients a month because people were engaging with them and over the years, is that their audience has grown, they’ve understood what content works, what doesn’t work, they understand how to embrace Facebook Ads and targeting and creating audiences where they can retarget people, for example that have been to their website, people who are similar in their characteristics behavior to their existing patients. Now they are getting 40 or 50 new patients every month just from Facebook marketing and she’s spending only US $500.00 a month for their paid advertising and it’s very interesting because about 2 years ago she was testing the return investment on all of her paid advertising and she actually made a decision to drop every other form of paid advertising, they had a yellow pages ad and so she was spending US$800.00 a month, she’s getting 4 new patients, just speaking in USD and is she’s charging US $200.00 , then she is breaking even. Now she said let’s shift that money over so now she’s spending $500.00 a month and getting 50 new patients and the industry standard is 12-15 a month, they are getting 50 just from Facebook. She loves when people come in from Facebook because that means that they know them already, they know their culture, they’ve been following them, they see what they’ve been doing in the community, they see how they are changing lives, they’ve seen patients video testimonials, they’ve been to their website, they know about their team and to her there is no other form of paid advertising where you can just connect with people like Facebook.
- Anissa Holmes stated that she currently has an online course and it teaches dental practices, she has students from all over the world; she has several hundred that are in the programme. It’s an online course, the first 3 or 4 modules is teaching you about how to grow your culture and the importance of that and how you have to have that part right before you start creating ads and copy writing, create calls to action and targeting and creating ads and that’s available on her website which is www.deliveringwow.com. It’s created specifically for Dentists but the principles are uniform and where she is now that her practice has grown to the point where she can cut back a little bit and the plan now is for to work 2 ½ days and spend the other time working on training small business owners/ entrepreneurs, so the next step for her is creating an online course which will help local businesses not online entrepreneurs, local businesses where you have a wine shop for example or if you are have a training centre promoted on Facebook so that’s the next step for her.
- Anissa Holmes stated that there are a lot of books that she reads all the time and a few books for when you’re just getting started are: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, Eat That Frog by Brain Tracey, those are some great books, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose by Tony Hsieh – book talking about the story of Zappos and creating an amazing customer experience. What she tells people too is that you have resources in terms of books but podcasts are really great and she use to spend her time with books and now she is also really hooked on podcasts because you are actually able to speak and hear from the authors of what’s going on in their mind and even for herself, strategies she spoke about in her book that was released earlier this year, they have already implemented additional strategies. Things are always evolving, you’re pivoting, you’re testing, you’re growing and so listening to podcasts is another way to get that fresh material as it comes out.
- Anissa Holmes stated that she is excited about a few things, in her Dental Practice, they just added another Dentist and they are super excited about this and so are the customers. They are at a point now where there is no debt for the practice and that’s where they want it to be and they are now looking to taking the team out of Jamaica for training, getting into that international space with them. They are excited to start that next phase of just taking it to the next level in terms of being able to have other experiences and bringing additional things back to Jamaica to make the Practice even better. Personally, just growing her online business and blogging and as she creates one course, another opportunity opens for her and she is really excited about what’s going on the online space as well.
- Anissa stated that listeners can find him on:
- Anissa Holmes stated that her motto, what she is known for is keep “Delivering Wow” “and it’s just two words but to her it means so much, it means always just get to one point, you say what’s next for me? How can I make a bigger impact? How can I inspire more people? How can I change more lives? And once you do that, your business is growing, you are profitable, how can you impact your family, how can you travel more, how can you achieve your dreams?
New Online Course – Mastering Customer Experience and Increasing Your Revenue – A Must Have Course for all Business Owners, Entrepreneurs – Videos, PDFs, Worksheets, Exciting Content that can help your business make more money and increase customer retention
- The Delivering Wow Dental Podcast
- Delivering WOW: How Dentists Can Build a Fascinating Brand & Achieve More While Working Less
- The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
- Eat That Frog by Brain Tracey
- Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose by Tony Hsieh – book talking about the story of Zappos
- Twitter @deliveringwow
- Facebook @delivering wow
- Delivering WOW Website