Tech tip: One provider's engager trick

Today's tip comes from Dr. Mark Bentele:

One tip that I have is on placing the engagers. The engager template may not fit passively over the entire tooth if the teeth are not tracking fully. In that situation, the engager may not end up in the right place when you use the entire template. Instead, trim the template down to just the tooth with the engager and about 2/3 of the teeth on either side of it. The template will fit fully in place and the engager will be bonded correctly. This is also helpful because the engager template can be peeled away from the tooth facially rather than trying to pull it off vertically, which is more difficult.

Sounds like a good idea to us. Thanks, Dr. Bentele.

If you have any tips you'd like to share, email us or let us know in the comments.

Passion totem awarded to Daniel Cantu

We're not a big dog. If the competition is a Saint Bernard, then we're probably like a Jack Russell Terrier. They may be big and powerful, but we more than make up for that with our energy, our vigor—our passion. (And ingenuity too, but that's more of a collie-like trait, which doesn't really fit in this analogy.)

Since we've started up on these core values, I've noticed that we've got a lot of people here who go the extra mile, who get energized when you present them with a challenge. These are the kind of people we like to see at ClearCorrect—people who, if you give them a challenge, they kick it into high gear.

This is how Daniel Cantu is. One of our most experienced sales reps, Daniel's the winner of our second totem, and it's not too hard to see why:

"He’s been with the company since the beginning and he’s stuck it out through thick and thin."

"He’s shown an interest in learning several different areas of the company so he can pitch in and help whenever needed."

"He’s a fighter—when met with obstacles, he works hard to overcome them."

"He owns in tug-o-war."

“He’s a Marine. ‘Nuff said.”

So of course Daniel deserves the boxing gloves—commemorating a fighting spirit—and you can't say they don't look good on him.

 

Core Value game #2: Tug-o-war

The second core value game was represented by a very passionate game: Tug-o-war!

We assembled 8 teams and they battled through out the week in a tournament-style bracket, each team passionately pulling the ropes as if we were pulling away from the competition.

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Core value #2: Be passionate

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.
—Mark Twain

We’ve measured it. We’ve weighed it. We’ve counted and quantified it. And if the bumps and bruises weren’t proof enough, we’ve now settled it.

We’ve got fight.

It turns out, our fight is an old-school model—vintage. It’s larger than most you’ll see today. Solid and well-built, from a time before they started making them all plastic and compact. It runs a little loud. It runs a little rough. But it’ll plow over anything in its path.

Our fight will take us wherever we want to go. We just have to fuel it. Lucky for us, it runs on something cheaper than gasoline and in far greater supply: passion.

So let’s top off the tank and go for a ride. With a fight our size, no one can stop us.

Creating a league of extraordinary reps

Meet Marvin

Marvin is the not-so-mild mannered alter ego of one of our real-life account reps. Many of our doctors may recognize Marvin from the recent mailers we’ve been sending out to introduce him and the other superheroes we’ve added to our team of reps.

Marvin is service personified. He represents the months of work we’ve dedicated to completely transforming our customer service department from an inbound, reactive call center to a proactive league of extraordinary account reps, focused and driven by service.

It’s been a huge undertaking for us, and we’ve still got a ways to go (our heroes haven’t mastered all of their powers yet), but I thought before we announced our next value, this would be a perfect opportunity to share what we’ve been up to and to highlight just one way we’ve been injecting our first core value into one of the most important parts of our company.

Holy crappy service, Marvin!

Several months ago, we had one of the best realizations we’ve ever had: our customer service sucked. It hadn’t always sucked, but it sucked then. Phone calls were going unanswered. Messages weren’t being returned. And our doctors were having a harder time than they should have been.

Our initial response to this realization was MORE. More reps, more managers, more shifts, more phone lines, more computers, more technology, more, more, more. That helped for a little while, but just a little while.

The problem was in our customer service model. Something like a tier-based system, we had “specialists” dedicated to handling various parts of a doctor’s account: If you needed some shipping supplies, you’d call rep A; needed to check on a case, you’d call rep B; had some technical questions, you’d call rep C. The result for our doctors wasn’t a pleasant one. Callers would get bounced around and end up disgruntled, thinking the right hand didn’t know squat about the left. The model was broken, and what had only kind of worked with 1,000 doctors wasn’t scaling well at 10,000. Adding more of what wasn’t working wasn’t the solution.

After our legs stopped swinging from that initial knee jerk, we came up with a better response: CHANGE.

We looked back in our short history for the time we had serviced our doctors the best. It didn’t take long to find it; all the stats and feedback pointing to it made it easy to spot once we were willing to look.

It turns out, believe it or not, we delivered our best customer service when we had a single, solitary rep. Just one. She had no fancy technology, just a notepad for tracking stuff. When doctors called, they could easily reach her. She had no elevated tier to defer to; she had to learn everything so she could answer anything. We had considerably fewer doctors back then, numbers she could manage on her own and numbers that allowed her to forge lasting relationships, many of which continue today, years later. She was passionate about service, and she did whatever it took to make sure her doctors were happy.

She was our first superhero, the prototype. And if we were really going to make a change that worked, we’d need to get her back in a cape.

Splicing Marvin with the prototypical genome

Her name is Carrie. She used to be our one and only account rep, and now she’s back leading the project determined to mutate Marvin into a service-driven hero. Taking her successful actions from the past and scaling them up to work with more reps and more doctors, we’ve been making changes bit by bit. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Doctors have dedicated reps.
    There’s no more bouncing around. Just as it was with doctors who depended on Carrie, doctors now have just one person they can call, one person they can know by name, one person they can depend on for anything and everything.

  • Reps have dedicated teams for support.
    Carrie’s support team was just me, but she had one nonetheless. Now, once again, if a doctor’s rep is unavailable for any reason, a team member familiar with his or her account can step in and assist if needed.

  • Reps have fewer doctors.
    We’ve reduced the number of doctors per rep by nearly 80%, down to the range Carrie was handling. Reps are now free enough to give their doctors more time and attention.

  • Reps work when their doctors work.
    Back when Carrie was a rep, most of our doctors were based in Texas, so she was working when they were. With doctors now scattered across the US, having reps just work 9 – 5 CST doesn’t cut it. Reps are assigned doctors by time zone and they work 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (at least) for whatever time zone their doctors are working in.

  • Reps are trained better. 
    Carrie had been with ClearCorrect from the beginning. She had seen every version of our products and every iteration of our processes. That’s a lot of knowledge. New reps now receive the most comprehensive internal training we’ve ever had on our products or our processes. They may not be able to answer every question just yet, but we’re working on it.

  • Reps live and breathe service.
    Carrie was driven by a pure passion to serve. It’s the same for our reps now. They’re there to help their doctors, not push for sales. They’re free to take as much time as they need and do just about anything to ensure their doctors are happy and satisfied with our products.

So far, the changes are working well and the feedback from our doctors is positive. Carrie won’t be hanging up her cape just yet as there’s a bit more to do, but now Marvin and the other superheroes on our team are flying in the right direction, and they’re gaining speed.

We’ve learned a lot about what it really means to be service-driven over the course of this project, and we expect to learn quite a bit more. I hope this inside look at one way we've approached being service-driven has been helpful or at least interesting.

Feel free to share your thoughts, questions, or even your own service-driven experiences with us in the comments.

Tech tip: Special guest edition

Today's tips come from Stephanie, our director of communications, and Katrina, our case receiving coordinator.

They've seen it all when it comes to case submissions, and they have some friendly advice that could save you (and them) a lot of headaches:

  1. Write the tracking number in your patient's chart when you submit a case or send in materials. (The tracking number is printed on the UPS shipping label.)

  2. We won't start a case until we get all required materials (no exceptions):
    • Case submission form
    • Well-defined upper & lower impressions
    • Bite registration
    • Photos
    • X-rays

  3. Always include a form with your impressions, photos, and x-rays. It's not ClearCorrect's responsibility to figure out what to do with unidentified materials.

  4. Make sure you send in the correct, fully-completed form. All of our forms are available on ClearComm, and most of them have been updated recently, so you should make sure you have the current version. If you have questions about which form to use, how to fill it out, or how to log on to ClearComm, please call (888) 331-3323 and ask your account rep—that's what they're here for.

  5. Print clearly on the form and double-check the spelling of the patient's name.

  6. One case submission per box, please.

  7. If you email photos or x-rays, always include the doctor's and patient's names. Make sure that the photos and x-rays are sent as attachments instead of pasted into the middle of the message.

That's it for this week. Until next time...

Tech tip: Should I do IPR before impressions?

Question:

Should I perform IPR before I take impressions to submit a case to ClearCorrect?

Answer:

Generally speaking, no. We recommend taking impressions first, and waiting to perform IPR until the recommended phase, for the following reasons:

Impressions do not always capture enough detail to reproduce the spacing properly.

If more IPR than necessary is performed in one arch, you might need to perform IPR in the opposing arch to compensate. (We usually recommend IPR in just one arch, whenever possible.)

It's best to minimize the amount of time that patients have excess space between their teeth.

You may not be able to use the area where IPR was performed as a Compliance Checkpoint for some time.

Core value game #1: relay race

We introduced our first value ("Be service-driven") with a relay race.

Eight teams of ClearCorrect employees scrambled to assemble boxes, sort models, and pack bags as quickly as possible—without any errors.

(Don't worry: no actual cases were used for this game.)

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Service totem awarded to Kevin Bell

When we started thinking about how we were going to roll out our core values to the company, we were thinking long-term. To get everyone invested in the concept of these values, we wanted to recognize and honor employees who exemplify them. But trophies aren't really our style. You have to keep giving them out and giving them out, and if the same people win multiple times, next thing you know, you're experiencing massive trophy inflation. Pretty soon, people would be trading 8 trophies for a sandwich at lunch, or a whole wheelbarrow full for a car wash. No, what we needed was something unique, and something tied to the core value it represented.

Hence, totems.

Instead of being awarded by the management, totems are intended to be passed from peer to peer, recognizing consistent, conspicuous displays of a given value. This will encourage coworkers to observe each other and appreciate the roles they play here at ClearCorrect. Our hope is that, over time, these totems will come to be one of the most meaningful ways an employee can be recognized, because although it isn't a plastic tower masquerading as gold, it is awarded by the people who know him or her best.

Our first core value is "be service-driven," and the corresponding totem is a vintage rotary phone (an homage to our outstanding account reps). However, the first recipient of the service-driven totem isn't an account rep; Kevin Bell, our deputy director for manufacturing. All ClearCorrect employees are called to be service-driven, and Kevin has always answered that call the loudest.

Why is Kevin our first winner of the service-driven award? Well, here's what some of Kevin's peers have said about him:

He always does what he says he’ll do.  If he tells me a case will go out, I have no doubt it will happen.

He gets others to deliver what they promise.  He’s the kind of guy who’s so good, he makes others better by working with them.

He’s responsive to the needs and wants of those around him.  More than once, like some kind of service ninja, he’s shown up out of nowhere because he heard I was talking about some case that needed to go out and he wanted to make sure he knew so he could help.

He’s dedicated to getting the job done.  (I think he works more than anyone in manufacturing, possibly the whole company.)

I don’t think he’s ever really complained about the amount of work we’ve given him.  He just smiles and gets it done.

So congratulations to Kevin—service-driven. With a smile on overdrive.

Core value #1: Be service-driven

We’re a service company that just happens to sell shoes.
—Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com

We’ve got a secret.  Despite popular belief, we’re not in the aligner business.  We deal in a rare and valuable commodity. It’s the one thing everyone wants, the one thing no one can get enough of.  It never fades or goes out of style; versions of it from the ’70s and ’80s still look good today.  And while it’s always in high demand, it’s often in short supply. 

We deal in service. 

Now, there are varieties of service:  There’s crappy service.  We don’t touch the stuff.  There’s so-so service.  The market’s saturated with it, so we don’t sell it.  There’s good service.  Most people looking for service expect to find at least this one, so we keep some on hand.  And then there’s exceptional service, the brand that excites and surprises.  We can’t stock it fast enough!

See, this secret means that no matter what else we sell—right now it just happens to be aligners—there will always be someone out there who wants what we’ve got. 

All we have to do is deliver it with service.