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, August 27, 2014

Two Types of Questions

There are two types of questions that a patient may ask. One is an information- seeking question. They are not doing this to threaten you they just want to know the answer.  The second kind of question is challenging and this type of question is usually louder, more aggressive and may be an attempt to control the situation. Again stick to the facts, why is this treatment important for them. Stick to what you know about the patient and bring it back, “Mrs. Etcheverry I know your smile is important to you because you said you want to look younger. This treatment will help rebuild the structure in your mouth so that your smile is brighter and straighter.

When you are talking about these things, focus on what you know about the patient. What is their communication style? Are they passive or aggressive? What type of personality are they? Do they talk slow and ask a lot of questions or do they talk fast and are loud? Knowing this information will help you focus the conversation on what matters most to them, which will allow you to change your communication style to better meet their needs.

In the end you are the professional and you are there to help them. Use caring and compassionate words to demonstrate how much you and the team appreciate them choosing your office. There are hundreds of dental offices that they could choose from however; they chose to be at yours.  Loyalty and trust are earned not given freely and patients have high expectations for your office, work to exceed them.

For more information please visit us at www.saltdpm.com and follow our blog at http://saltdentalpracticemanagement.blogspot.com/

Monday, August 25, 2014

Patient Dialogue

Practicing specific dialogue for potential situations can help make the situation less stressful. An example dialogue may be, you have a new whitening system that you want patients to try out. You say to Mrs. Jones. “Good morning, how are you?”
Mrs. Jones: “Fine.”
You: “Would you like to try our whitening system?”
Mrs. Jones: “Why? Are you saying my teeth are stained?”

Now what? Of course you are not saying that, you are simply offering a fantastic product to a patient who you think may need or want it. The next words you say are going to determine where this conversation goes from here. Use dialogue like, “we believe”, “I find”, and back up what you are saying with facts this will help the conversation.  As a team member in the practice your word, experience and expertise is going to go along way.

Some patients will question your treatment. They may say that their mom or sister went to a dentist and that dentist told them that extracting teeth is better than getting dentures. Focus on the facts; you can’t refute what another dentist said. You don’t know all the facts of that situation. So, focus on what you do know. Why is it important for this patient sitting in your chair right now to embark on this treatment? How is this course of action going to change their life? Or how is it going to give them the smile they want. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Great patients make great referrals

While your discussing concerns or questions with patients your body should be upright. You might want to lean forward a little to show you are listening. Be careful not to turn your body away from the patient while they are discussing their concerns. When a patient is talking to you this is the time you want to be focused and in tune with their needs.  

At times you will work with a patient that is refusing treatment, doesn’t understand the recommended treatment or has an issue with billing practices. You may become the target of their anger and frustration. In these times, remain calm. Refrain from blaming a co-worker for a mistake. This is not going to help the patient. Work to calm down the patient, through your listening skills. Make sure you first understand what the problem is. Let them vent for a short time, but don’t let it over power why you are there.  Ask clarifying questions. Once the patient is done explaining their side, they are waiting for you to fix it. Quickly and efficiently find a way to resolve the problem or let the patient know what steps you are going to take to fix the problem. These types of conversations can become a circular argument of misunderstanding, so practice some dialogue before you are in front of patients.

Do not get into an argument with a patient. If they tell you that your front office messed up the billing, it isn’t going to create a better situation if you tell them billing never makes mistakes. Take a step back, tell them you are sorry they are having trouble and that you will be happy to look into it or discuss it with your front office team member. 

Great communication takes time and great teams. For more information contact Salt.
Salt Dental Practice Management
Article was first published by Tri-County Dental Society

Monday, August 18, 2014

Past the pleasantries, now what?

You have moved past the pleasantries, it is recommended that you now ask the patient specific questions about any concerns or problems they may be experiencing. Empathetic listening at this stage is very important. You want to paraphrase to make sure you understand what the patient is saying, ask clarifying questions to better understand the problem, look them in the eye and nod to show understanding.  

Empathetic listening is the art of hearing what the person is saying and showing that you care through listening. Leaning in towards the patient and nodding your head demonstrates that you care about what they are saying. This is a critical step that is often overlooked by teams because they are busy. However, taking the few extra minutes to do this correctly can increase your relationship with patients.

 Once you and the patient have had the important conversation, relay this information to the doctor in front of the patient. You do not want to isolate the patient at any time. Your dialogue may go something like, “Mrs. Jones is having sensitivity on the left side. She notices it more when she is drinking cold drinks than hot.” Once you have informed the doctor of the situation, ask the patient if there is anything else they want the doctor to know.  

Great communication is not built over night. Practice this simple technique to improve. 
Great communication takes time and great teams. For more information contact Salt.
Salt Dental Practice Management
Article was first published by Tri-County Dental Society

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Your Conversation Matters

When a patient first comes in the room and sits down in the chair, conversation matters. Ask the patient in a caring voice how their day is going. Sit directly in front of them and look them in the eye, knee-to-knee, eye-to-eye. This gives a sense they are important and that you are focused on them. Be aware of how you sound. Zone in on your tone to make sure you are using a calm and supportive pitch. Your non-verbals will speak louder than the words you use.

Often times when a patient first enters the room, you may be busy continuing to set up the tray or get ready to take x-rays. However, it is beneficial to the relationship to take time to focus on the patient only. Leave the other for later.  A patient needs to feel in that moment that they are the most important person in the room.  This few minutes will also give you the time to discuss any concerns the patient has before the doctor enters the room.  

Great communication takes time and great teams. For more information contact Salt.
Salt Dental Practice Management
Article was first published by Tri-County Dental Society

Monday, August 11, 2014

I Can Help You vs. How May I Help You?

Many individuals answer the telephone with “Hi my name is Austine. May I help you?” This statement indicates that you may or may not be able to help. It provides a says that their needs may be too great for you to handle. Try changing your dialogue to be, “Hi, my name is Austine. I can help you today.” This let’s patients know that no matter what the problem is you’re going to resolve it. Or whatever it is they need you are going to make sure you help them. This method is simple and can be used any time you have an initial dialogue with a patient.

Great Communication takes a great team.

Salt Dental Practice Management
Article was first published by Tri-County Dental Society

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Communicate Change: What time should it be done?

There is a right and a wrong way to communicate upcoming change in your office. It doesn’t matter if you are changing something small or it is a drastic change. The way in which you deliver the message will make a difference in how it is received from the team. Change is the only thing that we can count on, yet most individuals who say they like change, can become the biggest resisters to change.
            You will want to set-up an uninterrupted time to communicate the change that is going to occur. You want to give employees time to digest the news but also have time to ask any questions that they may have. You don’t want to rush the staff to the next patient in the middle of delivering something new to them.  However, you also do not want them to have too much time that becomes a complaint session.
            Plan the time of day you are going to deliver the news carefully. If it is something that is going to take awhile to digest and adjust you may want to do it on a Thursday afternoon. This gives them time to think about it, come back the next day and ask questions but does not send them home for the weekend to stew on it.

The morning huddle maybe appropriate to communicate certain types of change.  For example, scheduling changes, mission statement changes or policies on how to handle insurance are appropriate for morning huddle.  A morning huddle is the perfect time to give new information to the team that are going to impact their immediate future.

Avoid lunch-time change meetings, this does not give teams enough time to accept the change and move on from it. It may end up impacting your afternoon. You do not want that.

Monday, August 4, 2014

5 Ways to Inspire Staff

Your employees are a reflection of you and how they feel everyday in the work place impacts your business. Don’t take chances with your company.  Individuals who are inspired by their jobs will complete tasks with passion. Their smile is infectious and employees will want to come to work because it is fun. Here are five quick ways that you can inspire your teams.

Make work fun
            As adults we run through are busy hectic lives.  We often forget to stop and have fun in everything that we do. More fun equals higher productivity. More fun really means happier teams. When our teams are happy they will then attract patients that are the type of patients you want in your offices.  While you are having fun at work, you forget that it is actually work.

Respect everyone
Respecting your fellow team should not go down hill when you are tired, have patients backed up and a patient yelling at your front office. Model respect to everyone at all times. Clicks are not acceptable at work and the negativity needs to be left at the door in order to create the strongest team you can. As you respect your staff they will model this same behavior or they will naturally find another place to work because it will become uncomfortable for them to stay.

Communication between you and your team should be completed with a smile, respect and often. Sometimes, we forget that our team may not know that we scheduled an important meeting at 12:00 because something has come up. Tell your teams what they need to know in order to be successful. The more you communicate with them the more they will talk to you.

Be transparent
Everyone doesn’t need to know everything about you, however, be transparent in the decisions that you are making that impacts them and why. If you want everyone to trust and respect you they have to understand you. Sometimes, we forget to explain why something needs to be a certain way. Or you think it is not necessary to justify why you are doing what you are doing, however, for people to complete tasks sometimes they need to know the why behind them.

Know your vision and mission
To inspire those around you, you have to know where it is that you are going with them. The vision and mission is your path and your future. If you blindly make decisions that do not align it can begin to feel to your employees that you are making willy nilly decisions because your team doesn’t know what your goals are.