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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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Asking the right questions to teach your employees to be independent

Are you an employer that always supplies the answers? Do you often wonder why your employees don’t take time to think for themselves, yet come running to you with every problem? At times it may be scary to hand over the reins and trust your employees are in fact able to handle situations in the office without you. However, how do you get them ready if they are not now?
There is a coaching technique called cognitive coaching. It is the belief that everyone knows the right answers they just need to be asked the right questions in order for them to think and be able to come up with the answers. Sometimes, as employers we are quick to supply the answers to every little thing. But then pretty soon our employees begin to rely so heavily on us that they do not take care of situations that they once felt comfortable making.
Individuals have to be able to have practice in problem solving. You might want to start slow and conduct some role-playing activities during your morning huddle. For example, what do you say when a patient becomes angry at billing or how do you handle a patient that isn’t accepting treatment options? Asking your employees to practice handling the situations can help increase functionality in the workplace.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Command it-Don't demand it!

Anyone can walk into an office and demand respect from his or her co-workers. You can cause fear in your employees in order to get them to cooperate. However, at the end of the day if you want employees that complete the fine dance of dentist and assistant then you are going to have to work on tactics that command respect not demand it. Building a relationship with your staff can help improve the overall culture of the office and improve on your relationships with staff.
In order to build a relationship of respect how you talk to your employees is as important as what you say. For example, if the tone of your voice is impatient and demanding then the individuals around you will begin to resent you. Most of what an individual hears and interprets is your non-verbal’s not the actual words you say.
Everyone makes mistakes. We all have days where we even miss up a procedure we’ve done half a dozen times. How you handle the mistake is what is going to support or damage the relationship. In order to correct the situation, you may first want to determine what the problem was. Was it a simple mistake? Or was it something major? Does the individual who made the mistake know that they need to fix it or are they in denial? All of these determine the language and how you approach the situation.
            Use a calm, supportive tone in order to demonstrate respect of the individual. You might want to ask probing questions in order to determine if your employee is aware of the mistake they have made. Once you determine that the employee is aware, correct as necessary. For example, your employee may need to write down the procedure and have it posted. Or it may be a very simple correction.
            How you handle your employees will determine their success in the office. Success on their part equals a higher success rate with patients.

Monday, July 21, 2014

You’re important too!

It’s easy when we are working to forget to take care of ourselves. As time goes by, we wear down. Pretty soon, we haven’t taken a lunch in months; we forgot our child’s baseball game and our lives are a blur. It is important to find ways to rationally detach from our workday and find a way to relax and enjoy life. This is especially important when you are working in a stressful job.

Rational detachment is the ability to let go and disconnect from a stressful situation or from our work. Some individuals may spend their time doing yoga or hanging out with friends. Other’s may read or enjoy leisure boat rides. What you do isn’t as important as leaving work early sometimes and doing something you enjoy everyday.

Our days are filled with busy appointments, appliances to fix, or equipment to order and patients to see. However, it is important that all of that does not take over your lives.  A 2010 LexisNexis survey of 1,700 white collar workers in the U.S., China, South Africa, the U.K. and Australia revealed that on average employees spend more than half their workdays receiving and managing information rather than using it to do their jobs,” Ferris Jaber. We spend our days solving problems and managing people and yet when we are tired and need a break, most of us continue to push through. However, pushing through actually creates a problem later on as we are not as focused and may have to redo something because we did it incorrectly.

When your body and brain need a time out, take it, even if it is five minutes of a breathing exercise or enjoying a quick lunch with a friend.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Take the time!


      We’re all busy people and it is easy to get in the rush of our day. However, if you want to stand out against the crowd, take the extra time. Take time to say hi to your patients. Stop and ask how your staff’s weekend was. Find a second longer to check the front office to make sure it looks good.
         Patients spend hours over their lifetime waiting for you to see them. They pay good money, they trust you with their oral health, and they suggest that their family see you. But yet, you may only spend fifteen or twenty minutes with them. The extra time you take out of your day can build a stronger relationship with patients and help motivate them to recommend even more people to your office. It will certainly encourage them to keep returning.  
         A patient spends on average sixty minutes in the chair depending on the procedure. Yet, you may spend less than ten minutes talking to them. This relationship is critical to the success of the visit and you have less time to make a lasting impression.
         Take the time to read their body language and what it is telling you. Stop when you are working on a patient if they begin to squirm in the chair. Or ask them how they are feeling. These little things do not take much time however; they have a big impact on the overall relationship. 

Salt Dental Practice Management helps teams achieve success!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Precipitating factors in the dental office

Multiple people and events in our day impact us. There are things that happen to us before we get to the office that may impact how we feel that day. There also maybe many factors that impacts our patients that we do not have any control over but that create a potential problem when the patient shows for their appointment.
         For example, precipitating factors are those events that occur that cause a reaction. If a patient is allergic to sunflowers, and they touch a sunflower they run the risk of having an allergic reaction.  The precipitating factor is that they touched the flower that they are allergic to and will therefore, have an allergic reaction. If one of your patients has been to a dentist that did not do a very good job, when they enter your office they may make that same assumption.  Or if the patient went to a dentist that gave them a discount on their procedures, you may have an angry patient when they find out that you will not be in fact giving that same discount.
         Although, you cannot control the precipitating factors, you can control how you respond to a patient and how you handle the situation in your office.  Talking to your patient in a calm manner, where you explain to them why the policy is in place or explaining the procedure they will go through can help to enhance the relationship and diminish the frustration.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Doctor-patient relationship

You look at your schedule and you’re starting your day thirty minutes behind. Don’t take that out on your patients. They deserve your attention when you enter the room. When you walk in, ask the patient and assistant if there are any problems that they need to discuss.  Even though at times you may spend the shortest amount of time with patients your time spent with them will determine how they feel about the office at upcoming visits.
The reputation of the office rests on the doctor’s shoulders to some extent. If the patient has a fanstic visit and then you enter in a rush, explain what you see over the patients shoulder to the assistant, you are isolating the patient.  They want to know you are interested in them as a person not just a patient. Learning what type of communicator they are, can also increase the overall experience for the patient because you can communicate their needs and adjust as you need. It is important you also know who your patients are as people, for example, do they have grandkids, are they frearful of needles? These details can help the dental visit run more smoothly for the patient.
When the visit is over, although, you may not be able to walk the patient out becaue you will need to move to another patient, it is suggested you say thank you for their time. Also, if you were running late, a simple, thank you for waiting is a great way to set you apart from another office.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Back office greatness

Last week we focused on what great customer service looks like in the front office. This week we’re going to focus on providing fantastic customer service in the back office. As soon as patients come back to the room, it is important to have a polite conversation with them. Ask them how they are doing, their plans for the weekend and about their job.
      Once the patient is sitting in the chair, sit down facing them. It should be eye to eye contact and ask them if they are having any pain or problems. It is suggested to have the conversation eye to eye in order to show respect for the patient. If you are fiddling with other things or are doing things on the computer it demonstrates a lack of caring abou the patient. When the patient is letting you know about any problems they are experiencing use empathetic listening. Nod, to demonstrate listnening and restate what you think they are saying in order to clarify.
      Once the doctor steps into the room, rephrase what the patient told you infront of the patient. You don’t want them to think that you are having a private conversation about them. You also don’t want to misrepresent the problem that the patient is having.
      If the doctor is running behind, let the patient know how far behind and make sure they are able to continue to wait for the dentist. People’s time is valuable and you want to make sure that they know they are going to have t wait for the dentist and about how long it is going to take. Patients are asked to show up early to respect the office’s time, show them the same respect.
Once the appointment is over and the patient is finished, make sure to let them know when they are needed back to the office.  Something as simple as asking if they need anything else and thanking them for coming in can be the difference between them coming back or going to another dentist.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Great Customer Service brings great patients

We live in a world where some individuals have forgotten to say hello when you walk into a business or where being rude is acceptable. With the changes in social media and sites such as YELP some business’s bad social media habits have been blasted across the internet. Don’t let your business be one of them. Follow a few guidelines to improve your customer service and your great reviews will be poring into Yelp and other review sites.  This article is going to focus on the front office.

First things first, when you your patients walk in the door the first thing they are going to see is your front office area. You will want to make sure this area is clean of clutter. It should be organized and should reflect the view and the mission of the office. Furniture should not be broken and should be dust free. It is suggested that magazines be up to date.  Chairs and furniture should be arranged in away that allows all patients to easily maneuver around the office. Patient reviews suggest that walkways should be free and clear. Flowers or a few plants can help liven up the are and the area should be open with as much natural light as possible but not bright or glaring.

When your front office greets a patient, they should have a smile on their face and dental consultant Debra Quarles suggests, “that instead of saying how may I help you?” You say, hello this is Amnesia, I can help you today.” This gives the impression that you are able to meet their needs no matter what they are. Once the patient has completed their check-in process, stating how long the wait is going to be can help minimize tension of waiting. If you have IPAD’s in the waiting room you may want to point that out and then ask if you can get them water.

Great teams are set apart from mediocre and providing great customer service will guarantee great patients.