We are a group of Dental Consultants who offer, improved practice morale; a happier, more profitable patient base;and improved home life; increased collections. (And yes, our average is 35% in year one.)

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Cleaning By Salt Dental Consultant

 Lenora Milligan

 Take a break and go outside as a group.  Everyone has paper and pencil.  We put on our "new patient" eyes and try to see what they see when patients pull up to your location.  Go on a tour of the entire office and really look around.  Write down everything you see that needs to be upgraded, cleaned, painted, replaced, and erased.   Afterward, compare your lists and come up with an order of priority.
            It is shocking to some how many things they find that are in need of change.  As we go through our days at work, we develop "blind spots" to our surroundings.  For example:  Let's say you are moving into a new home.  As you haul boxes in and out you notice a broken switch plate in the hallway.  You make a mental note to replace it, and promptly continue unpacking and settling in.  Days turn into weeks, which turn into months.  The phone rings and it's your mother-in-law telling you she is coming for a visit.  As you go down the hallway thinking about things that need to be cleaned and prepared, you suddenly notice the broken switch plate.  For months you have walked past it without noticing. 
            The same thing happens at work.  We get comfortable with our messes and no longer see them.  We don't think about the coffee cup, or 42 oz soda container that sits behind the pile of papers you've collected at the front desk, or the stain on the counter in op 3, the window blind that is crooked, the scuff marks below the front check-in counter, the dust buildup on the x-ray unit, or the hard water buildup on the faucets. It all blends into the background because you have seen it for so long that you no longer notice all the little things.
            Some of you reading this may think, "My practice is great, I don't allow this to happen."  I challenge you to take this spring-cleaning break.  You may be surprised with the results.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Keeping the Horizon in Sight

By: Debra Quarles
Salt Dental Consultant
Part 2 of 2

The vision should be one that all team members agree to. The easiest way for that to happen is for you all to work together to create it. Write down all the great ideas everyone has for the future. Compose a story that utilizes each idea. When writing a vision statement use descriptive details, and use all of your senses. What do you see, feel, hear, and smell when you visualize the practice of your future? How is the office positioned in the market place? What tools and equipment does it contain? What educational opportunities are you preparing for? What does your team accomplish daily, weekly and monthly? Have each member review the story and underline anything that they personally can not agree to for any reason. Rewrite the vision and then get a verbal commitment from your team to pursue it. If team members are not interested in heading the direction you want to travel – it may be time to find other team members.

This step is about direction – not motion. But once you’ve verbally committed, (why verbally? Because people generally keep the commitments they make verbally) the next step must be about focus.

Are the things you are doing today taking you closer to your vision? If your vision is to have a practice of people who love and appreciate you, are you asking today all such patients currently in your practice to refer you their friends and family? If your vision is to create a practice where patients are accountable for their appointments – what are you doing to establish that accountability today? If you want to be known for something, what are you doing to create that recognition? While the vision is about direction – start taking the necessary steps now to implement it. Remind yourself and your team frequently to take a breath, refocus and review what they’ve accomplished each morning, each afternoon and each day that is moving them toward the vision. Your actions today are what will enable you to realize your vision.

Your brain when you start writing down your vision may tell you this is silly, you can’t have that. You will fail. Our brain wants us to minimize stress, avoid pain and pressure, and consequently resist change. Play safe so we don’t have to worry about failure.
Do not listen to that part of your brain. It was designed to protect you from lions and tigers and bears, oh my, but now it may prevent you from enjoying the idea of accomplishing impossibilities.

Think about all the impossibilities: Man will never fly. Man will never go to the moon. There is a need for no more than 5 computers in the world. No one will buy a computer for their desk. Who would want to carry a phone with them all day? Who would pay for overnight delivery of a package? These were all ideas that were thought to be impossible.
Impossible is not a fact or truth. It really is only an opinion.

What are the impossibilities that you see for your practice? How far is your horizon? Five years? Ten years. Twenty or 100?

One team I work with as a coach developed their ten year vision, but the team members were so excited about the vision that they asked their doctor if they could change it to a five year vision. How’s that for team commitment?

Remember, like the pilot flying the helicopter, always keep the horizon in sight.

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Keeping the Horizon in Sight

By: Debra Quarles
Salt Dental Consultant
Part 1 of 2

When you fly a helicopter and lose sight of the horizon you crash – that’s why they train pilots to use instruments. Losing sight of the horizon is a serious matter. When you can’t see the horizon your inner ear takes over - that part of the body designed to tell you up from down. When your inner ear has control it isn’t able to distinguish up from down and so you crash.

Your brain is an incredible tool. (Of course, my brain told me to tell you that, so consider the source.) In critical or stressful situations your brain instructs fight or flight. When this happens we are unable to process information, instead our body takes over. This is so instinctual that if you are approached by a bear – your brain does not say, “That’s a bear. Run!” But instead says, “Run!” And as you are running it tells you, “That was a bear.”

The same thing can occur with divers. If they rely solely on their inner instincts, they can become confused and actually dive to the bottom. Instincts that are in place to help us survive can cause us to die because they are so overwhelming they do not let us rationalize. We become frustrated, we may be argumentative – and we are arguing with our own reasoning. This does not allow us to function at our best.

In other words, a part of your brain may actually prevent you from getting what you want. The good news is now that you are aware of this you can use other parts of your brain to override that behavior and get where you want to go.

The forebrain is the part of your brain that allows you to think ahead. You’ve heard the term use it or lose it – this is especially true here. If you are not thinking ahead to what your future holds, to the horizon – you may lose the ability all together. And much like helicopter pilots, losing sight of where you are going or not having a vision in business is courting disaster.

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement.

This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin

Monday, April 23, 2012

Envision The Future

By: Debra Quarles
Salt Dental Consultant
Part 1 of 1

I’ve started a new exercise program and I’m really excited about it. I do twenty five sit-ups, twenty five pushups, and then I run a mile. After my workout I get out of bed. Whew! Laugh all you want but my pajamas are starting to fit better.

I read an article about a study where people were put in a room and told to concentrate on strengthening their pinkie for twenty minutes over a six week period and guess what – they strengthened their pinkies. It also worked for elbows and biceps. If it can work for them, maybe it can work for me and my abs, too.

The brain is an incredible tool, but you must use it or risk losing it. That is especially true when you are thinking about the forebrain. The part of the brain that lets you look into the future and dream about what could be.

Dentistry is an awesome career, (It has treated me well for twenty five years this month.) but in order to maximize your opportunities you must look to the horizon. What does a career in dentistry hold for you? Unfortunately, if you are not looking into the future you may be missing out.

The future is about:

· What patients we are seeing today and what will they require

· Anticipating what instrument the dentist will need next

· How you answer the next phone call

· How you will handle the next patients

· Scheduling the next appointment and collecting patient portions

· Finishing the day and achieving your production goals

· Finding opportunities today to learn new things

But the future is also about five years, ten years, maybe even 100 years from now. That’s what’s on the horizon. How does it look for you? How does it feel? What type of office are you working in? What kind of people are you working with? How have you contributed to the office and its growth?

It is important to realize that what you do today all has an impact on what you’ll experience in your future. If you haven’t taken the time to think about the horizon how do you decide what actions to take today? Everything you do today is taking you toward your future in dentistry, either good or bad. What are you doing today to insure that your career in dentistry is continuing?

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement.

This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Creating an unforgettable New Patient Experience

By: David Milligan
Salt Dental Consultant
Part 2 of 2


When scheduling a patient remember to give choices that are good for them as well as for the practice.
“Would the early or the latter part of the week be better for you?”
“Would 10:00 or 2:00 be best for you?” Always give time choices based on the blocked scheduling format and try to fill the most difficult times first.
When the day and time has been chosen say, “Okay Mr. Smith, I have reserved 1 hour of Dr. __________’s time for you on _______ at ______ o’clock.”
Use the word “reserve” and the doctor or team member’s name that they will be seeing. This makes it more personal and emphasizes the importance of the commitment.
New Patients arrival:

There is a counter between you and the new patient so please extend your hand and introduce yourself. Use the patient’s name.
Forms and the new patient interview:

New patients should be greeted immediately upon arrival. Use a dialogue similar to this:
“Mr. Smith, I would like to invite you into our conference room so we may talk for a minute.” Take a moment to ask about their expectations. "It helps us to know what you liked about your last office and what you didn’t like.”

Let the patient talk and listen actively to what they say.
“It gives our patients a great deal of comfort to know our practice philosophy and the types of services we offer. Our doctor provides the newest technology and takes pride in providing the highest quality dental care. We do general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, implants, whitening, _______, _____________, and _________________.” It is helpful to show pictures. “We are very thorough. We will do an oral cancer screening every six months for you as well as screen you for gum disease. Our team is interested in helping you achieve your goals. The doctor will tell you everything that he/she sees that needs your immediate attention. Then, of course, you will have the final say as to what you would like to have done.

As a courtesy, we will file your insurance and follow up for a period of 60 days to ensure payment. At that time, if there are any challenges, we will contact you for assistance. We also work diligently to provide financial options."
Assistant and Hygienist Dialogue
Please extend your hand and introduce yourself in the following manner.
“Hello Mr. Smith, my name is _____; it’s so nice to meet you. Thank you for choosing us for your care. You will really like Dr. __________, he/she is wonderful. Dr. _______ has requested that I ask you a few questions about your teeth. Is that okay? Great! I will be focusing on areas you’ve noticed are sensitive.

When the doctor comes in he/she will also be looking for areas you may not have noticed, but that will need your immediate attention."

Ask the following questions:
• When you eat or drink something cold, like ice cream or iced tea, do any of your teeth ever hurt?
• If you eat or drink anything hot, like hot cocoa or soup, do any of your teeth hurt or ache?
• When you bite down on something crunchy or hard, like meat, nuts or tough bread, do any of your teeth hurt or feel weak?
•Do you avoid chewing on either side of your mouth?
•If you eat something sweet, like candy, honey or jelly, do any of your teeth react to that?
•If you had a magic wand and could change your smile, what would you change?

Magnify the complaint by asking the following questions:
•What happens when you ___________?
•How would you describe the pain?
•How long does this last? Does it keep you up at night?
•How long have you had it? Is it getting worse?
•Do you take any medication for it? How many, how often and does it help?

Once the issue is magnified, you will have a better idea of how to proceed.
“It sounds like you would be a good candidate for ____________.
Always end with, “BUT LET’S ASK THE DOCTOR.”
Doctor’s exam
This takes place with the assistant or hygienist in the room with you.

Introduce yourself to the patient. "It’s good to meet you." Ask the assistant or hygienist what are their findings. By listening, you learn where to focus your attention. This saves time. Provide a complete treatment plan and go over everything that needs their attention.

Use urgency dialog. "Make sure Mr. Smith gets the next available appointment.” When the appointment is finished the patient is “passed” to the financial manager by the assistant or hygienist as follows:
“Mr. Smith, this is __________ she will write you a receipt for today and then schedule your next appointment.” Turn to the financial manager and say, “____________, Mr. Smith needs a ________ and the doctor wanted to make sure you schedule him at our next available appointment."

This new patient experience combines like-ability and believability. Being congruent and consistent creates trust. When patients trust you, they say "yes" and refer more new patients.

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com
This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin

Monday, April 16, 2012

Creating an unforgettable New Patient Experience

By: David Milligan
Salt Dental Consultant
Part 1 of 2

This article is designed to give you the tools to facilitate consistency and trust.

When we talk about the new patient experience we have to start long before the phone rings and patients flow through the door.

To receive the new patient call, the marketing plan must be working. Whether the plan contains radio, news print, word of mouth or web presence, one thing is clear, the patient already knows more about you, then you know about them. What do they know about you? Do they know who you are? Does your practice match what your advertising says? Does your practice match your expectations? Do you have the right people in the right places and are they trained in the way you want them to behave. Too many times there is a rift between what you want and what is actually happening.

Can you really expect your team to do as you ask every time? Do you even have any control over their behavior? If you think about what you can do to influence, then the answer would be yes, you do have some control. For example, in 1966 Detroit manufactured cars with safety belts as standard equipment. Since then the government has been working on changing our behavior.

Because something is the right thing to do, doesn’t always translate into doing it. That's why you have heard about the "click it or ticket" and "safety belts saves lives" programs among a few. What has proven to be the most successful? An engineering system. What’s that noise? When the buzzer won’t shut off, you fasten your safety belt.

The influences we have are the systems we put in place. Systems support behavior. In the case of the safety belt, the buzzer is the system. In many cases the system happens by default, meaning, you do what you do because there were no established systems in place. Are you getting the results you want with your current systems?

When a new patient finds you, they are making the choice based on who you are; systems support that behavior, that’s who you are and what makes you different from any other office.

The New Patient Experience

Answering the phone

“Thank you for calling _________, this is _________ and I can help you.”

What a positive start to a conversation!

To determine if the caller is a new patient simply ask, “When was the last time you were in to see Dr. __________.” If the caller is new, please do not ask about their insurance information first! We should always show that their needs are our first priority. Develop a new patient phone slip to ensure the appropriate information is collected.

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement.

This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Customer Service By: Lenora Milligan

Salt Dental Consultant
Part 2 of 2

I love to share great customer service experiences. I went into a Chick- Fil-A fast food restaurant and, much to my surprise, my expectations were exceeded. I was promptly greeted with a smile and eye contact. Every response was concluded with a my pleasure. I never heard the more common No problem, which highlights the negative. It was easy to see they had a clear customer service model and had taken the time to train their employees.

An employee that has poor customer services skills is not necessarily trying to provide poor service. Most simply do not know what the basics are and have never been trained. They are hired, showed around a bit, maybe given a manual, but otherwise thrown into the fire. Spend time training your team. Take a personal interest in each team member, find out who they are, what innate talents they possess and where they may need extra assistance. While protecting and enhancing their self-esteem, help them develop themselves into the very best that they can be. Do it not only because it helps you get where you want to go, but because it will help them get where they want to go.

Of course this means you need to create a vision of what you want your patients to experience. Make certain your vision is not just a bunch of words on a plaque hung on a wall somewhere. Instead ask each of your employees to write down the vision or mission of your business. See if they have similar feelings about who you are as a practice. If not, perhaps it would be a good idea to schedule some time so you can all get on the same page time where you can work on your business instead of always working in it. If you dont have a vision or mission statement, create one. Do it by deciding what you want for yourself and your patients. Dont just think about what you want this week or next, but five or ten years from now. Youll achieve more by thinking big and then going over your thoughts and thinking even bigger. Take a tour of your own practice while looking at it with patient eyes. Start in the parking area and notice what patients see when they approach your office. What do they smell, hear, and see when they open the door and enter. Stand where patients will stand, sit where they sit, lie down in the chairs and look up at the ceiling. Take notes, set goals and make changes.

Many practices offer water, tea or coffee when a patient arrives. They set out apples, breath mints or chapstick. They provide warm towels after procedures, juice and ibuprofen to go, wipes for eye glasses and some even have spa services. Most patients appreciate these things. Beyond that it can be a bit of a mystery.

How do you find out what your patient expects? Ask what is important to them. Do they want to keep their teeth, get out of pain, and never have an emergency again? Are they concerned about appearance or function or both? Find out. Then give it to them. Seriously, give them what they want and you will have a very appreciative, compliant patient that leaves and tells everyone they know about the best trip to the dentist theyve ever had.

It is up to us to make what they need align with their personal goals. For example, a patient comes in with a cracking molar that is causing some pain. After addressing the chief complaint you could ask the patient if it is important to them to not have this type of painful experience again. Most likely they will say that it is. That is when you tell them about the opposing molar with a large fracture that if not taken care of will be splitting in half. Youve told them what they need in a way that aligns with what they told you they want. If a patient comes in and you ask if looks, function and longevity are important and the patient says they like their smile, but definitely want to keep their teeth into old age, then refer back to those statements during your diagnosis. When you give people what they want you meet or exceed their expectations

Customer service starts with an attitude of gratitude. You must have a great appreciation for all of your patients. Yes, even the ones that ask a million questions, show up late, or fail to take your advice and end up being an emergency. They are, after all, the reason you are in dentistry and the reason you receive a paycheck. Create a culture of courtesy that starts with you and your team. Say please, thank you and its my pleasure. Think about great customer service experiences, or companies that are well known for their service. The Ritz Carlton, Nordstroms and others are great examples. Remember, it starts from the inside out. If you and your team treat each other with respect and courtesy, then it's easy to treat your patients the same way.

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement

This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin

Monday, April 9, 2012

Customer Service By Lenora Milligan

Salt Dental Consultant
Part 1 of 2

. This article will help you understand what your patients really want from you and your team.

Lets start with your business or place of employment. Who is your boss? Who pays your paycheck? Its not the dentist you work for and, if you are the dentist, its not you. Its your patients. They are the boss. They pay your wage and have expectations of how they wish to be treated

If I were to ask, could you and your team meet my dental expectations right now, what would you say? Most answer quickly with a resounding YES! But how do you know? Do you even know what my expectations are? Have you asked me? How can you possibly meet anyone's expectations if you dont know what they are?

Now that I have your attention, lets talk about expectations.

When dealing with expectations there are three possibilities. 1. Meet. 2. Exceed. 3. Fail. Obviously we do not want to fail. But is meeting someone's expectations good enough? Or do you consistently strive to exceed them? Take for instance a plumber. Most of us have had to bring a plumber into our home or work space for an installation or repair of some sort. Let's say the plumber shows up promptly, quickly and efficiently fixes the problem and takes his/her leave. Were expectations met? Yes, in a very basic way. However, the bathroom has muddy boot prints, the sink is dirty, and water has been dripped or sprayed in multiple locations. You talk to a friend about the experience and they tell a completely different story. They hired a plumber who showed up promptly, placed booties on their feet, quickly and efficiently fixed the problem, cleaned the sink and mopped the floor before leaving, all for the same price. Another bonus? He/she smelled nice, dressed nice, and had excellent manners. Were expectations exceeded? Yes! Who do you think will receive a call the next time a plumber is required?

In the dental office every patient is unique and yet many share common expectations. One may want to turn the visit into a social event, while another may want to get in and out quickly without a lot of small talk. Treating both patients the same will leave one of them with failed expectations. That is a 50% fail rate. If you are the type of person who consistently reads people well, or if you have been well-trained, you will recognize certain signals emanating from the patient and act accordingly. Otherwise you may need to ask more questions and clarify your patient's expectations.

However, we can make certain assumptions about the average patients expectations. Such as: A phone will be promptly answered by someone with a smile that can help. Your patients probably expect a clean, uncluttered office that smells nice and is comfortable. Maybe they also expect a well-trained team of friendly people, who greet them with a smile, a handshake, eye contact, and a warm, caring demeanor. Providing quality care means being present in the moment, instead of on autopilot.

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement

This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"Taking Control" By: Debra Quarles Salt DPM Consultant

Part 2 of 2

In California, many times the fixed overhead issue is the rent. Rent should reflect 5-8% of your overhead, but this number can be higher if your location also serves as part of your marketing plan, in other words, if your building is located in an area that has significant walk-by or drive-by traffic, you may add a percentage or two.

Lab fees are an area where a lower percentage does not necessarily reflect positively. Lab costs generally reflect how much crown and bridge is being done by the practice. An excellent range would be 10-12% of your collections. A number in this range usually means that case acceptance for crown and bridge is okay. If you find your percentage is higher, it may mean one of two things. 1. You have a lab fee that is outside of the range affordable for the fees you are charging or 2. Outside the range affordable for the fees you are receiving from your insurance contracts. A lower percentage means you may not be getting the case acceptance needed for a healthy practice.

Inventory your supplies at the beginning of each year. This is a great time to start a new system. Why not create one that keeps track of supplies and that causes you to utilize supplies before their expiration dates. Then turn over ownership of purchasing supplies to a trusted team member. When dental supplies are monitored, it can result in huge savings and when team members are given the responsibility and a goal, dental supplies can be easily kept in check. Your dental assistant can be a great asset in dealing with this issue. Give a 5% budget based upon the previous month’s collections. (Remember if you didn’t earn it, you can’t spend it.) Allow a 1-2% override each month. This 1-2% override is for emergency situations and can only be authorized by the doctor.

Of course, all expenses should be evaluated. Is this expense necessary? Or could this expense be reduced without affecting patient care? But be discriminate when considering where to cut costs. Remember, cost cutting will not benefit you if it results in negatives for the patient, either in customer service or in actual quality of care.

What else should be done to increase profitability?

Examine insurance participation and marketing expenses. Fee increases should happen yearly. As a general practitioner fees should reflect at least the 80th percentile according to the National Dental Data Advisory Service while specialists should consider a 95th percentile. Why? Your fees reflect your competence. A low fee equates, in a patient’s mind, as meaning low competency. A mediocre fee equates to mediocrity. If you do not feel comfortable with increasing your fees, it’s time to evaluate why. And then take action. If you feel your dental skills need to improve before you can feel comfortable with a higher fee, then by all means use this year to gain that knowledge and competency.

Collection numbers should be evaluated monthly and reflect 98%-102 of your net (after adjustments) production, with a third of your collections coming in at the time of service by having your team collect patient portions.

Closely monitor adjustments as they can sometimes be an area where many feel they have no control. Insurance continues to dictate what fees will be paid and the percentages paid continues to decrease. However, you do have some control and it must be exercised. Reduce your patient courtesy or discount to 5% and make this for paying at the time of service with cash or a check. Create an employee day, where all employees come on a typically non-work day to receive their dentistry. All ‘work’ for the betterment of each other at no cost to the doctor. Plan the days well in advance and be sure each team member is available to work. Work to keep adjustments to production, not including insurance, at no more than 3%.

Empower your front desk team to review and control the schedule to achieve that goal.

Accounts receivable is considered normal if it is 1-1/2 times an average production month. Anymore is uncommon. Having current accounts means we are able to collect more of those dollars in general – less is being written off for bad debt.

Who is average? Studies have shown that most of us consider ourselves above average. So why not strive to own an optimal practice with optimal overhead?

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement

This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin

Monday, April 2, 2012

"Taking Control" by Debra Quarles Salt DPM consultant

Part 1 of 1

Taking control is part one of a series of six articles

designed to get your practice working

efficiently and effectively.

The New Year, for many, means a time of evaluation and reflection. There is a sudden renewed sense of focus. Goals are set. Perhaps procedures and products are evaluated. And of course, somewhere in there is the dreaded visit to the accountant’s office to see if the practice was profitable. If not, there are two choices: 1. Increase productivity or 2. Decrease overhead.

Why not work on both this year and be ahead of the game? Getting a handle on your overhead means monthly evaluation - monitoring expenses to determine if they are staying within guidelines so action can be taken quickly if needed.

Fixed versus Variable Expenses:

Fixed expenses are those which, for the most part, remain the same month after month: employee wages, rent, insurance premiums, equipment payments, front office supplies, and utilities. Variable expenses are those which you have control over and/or that vary depending upon production. Those would be your lab expenses and supplies, marketing/promotion dollars, continuing education programs and team bonuses.

You have probably seen the figures before. Employee wages should be between 24-28% of total overhead. Supplies 5-7% and rent no more than 8%. Can a practice even hope to stay within these guidelines? The answer is a resounding yes! The real issue most times is not that your rent is too high, or you pay your team too much, although that can be an issue, the real concern is that you may be under-producing for your overhead.

As your practice grows, it is natural that you should see a decline in the percentage of overhead. Produce more and your overhead drops effortlessly. Employees are generally your largest expense, but also they have the ability to be your greatest asset. Utilize them to their fullest. You’ve probably heard the saying, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Make sure your team knows the goals and what they are striving for. Then track your production daily. When teams have a sense of ownership, they make things happen. It they know the practice is shy of attaining the goal for the day and a patient cancels they are much more apt to work to retain the patient or to immediately contact someone else to take that appointment time when they feel their efforts are noticed.

So where do you find those employees that will take ownership? You actually create them yourself. Do this by evaluating and reviewing your employees at least twice a year. Evaluations and reviews are a time to discuss what is working and what is not with the employee’s behavior. It is not a time to evaluate compensation. I find that most dentists feel if they sit down with their employee to discuss how they are doing, the employee will expect a raise. Employees will not have any expectation of a raise if you set the stage and inform them that raises and monetary compensation of any kind will not be discussed, only how they are doing in their job performance. So how does an employee receive a raise? Whenever I’m informed that an employee wants a raise, I encourage them to submit a request in writing, citing how they have improved the practice since their last wage increase.

What about performance bonuses? While wages are part of your fixed expenses, bonuses are considered part of your variable expenses. Team bonuses are a great way to give raises when the office can afford it and, at the same time, keep overhead in check. Think easy. Two percent of net collections – minus refunds – each month goal is produced. You may consider doubling that if goal is made three months in a row. Remember, you are the one that sets the goal. Choose a number that allows for bonuses and it will be a win-win.

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement.

This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin