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11.30.07 Issue #299 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
McKenzie Management
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Team Members…Is Your Dentist Dr. ‘Nice Guy’?

Dr. Bob Baker – Case Study #101

Dr. Baker’s concerns: “Nancy, I love dentistry but I am not a business person and I really don’t understand what makes a practice successful monetarily.  I want all my patients to be happy and like me.”

Dr. Baker wasn’t saying anything different than the majority of dentists that McKenzie works with.  This is just one reason why it is so important for any dentist to have a business-thinking coordinator in the front office.  SOMEONE must understand that concept of “making money” and in many cases, it is not the dentist!

Dr. Baker’s practice facts:

  • 5-year old practice in the same location with the same team members
  • The practice production has never “taken off” like it should.  He is averaging $45,000 a month
  • Approximately 22 new patients a month
  • The recall system is effective  and the hygienist is producing 3x her salary

Dr. Baker’s team members were frustrated with his generosity.  On one hand he was always complaining about not making enough money and how he wasn’t busy, etc.  Then, they would observe him “giving away” dentistry, even when the patient was informed of the cost and had made financial arrangements to pay for the procedure(s).

The team wanted Dr. Baker to be successful.  He was a very likeable dentist and was easy to work for…but not easy to work with.  His team was putting forth the effort to encourage their patients to accept recommended treatment and he was talking the patient out of the very treatment that he had recommended six months ago.  They were very discouraged because they knew that the practice could be very productive, as they had wonderful patients that trusted them and were willing to have their work done.

Observations:

  • Dr. Baker thought that if he said, “I think that I can fix that with a filling.” his patients would like him more.
  • He didn’t LISTEN!  I observed Dr. Baker’s #1 assistant inform him in the hall that Mrs. Jones elected to have her new partial done and was scheduled for the next month.  When the doctor walked in, his comment to her was, “Mrs. Jones, everything looks good.  I will see you in six months!”  This is enough to drive any dedicated assistant out the front door.
  • Dr. Baker also had difficulty making a diagnosis and following it.  I hope that he read my previous article about “say what you mean and do what you say”.  It is confusing to the patient when the treatment plan changes repeatedly and it is very difficult for the team to stay on the same page as the doctor.
  • Doom and Gloom…I think that Dr. Baker enjoyed being unhappy and feeling like a failure.  I recommended that he consider Dentist Coaching.  He was surrounded with excellent employees and wonderful patients but all he saw was the negative aspects of his practice.

During my 4 days in the office, over $3,000 worth of dentistry was either “given away” or negated after it was sold to the patient.  This is $12,000/month and $144,000/year!  This is enough to decrease his overhead to 55% and give his team members a well-deserved bonus or salary increase.

Doctors…it is very costly to be Dr. Nice Guy and it gets you nowhere except a non-productive practice where patients don’t know the difference and unhappy employees.  Patients respect you for telling them what their dental problems are and how you can help them.  It is NOT your fault that they have the needs that they have but it IS your fault if you don’t address their needs and make your best recommendation to solve them.  Be Dr. Great Dentist instead!

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Practice Enrichment Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies….. email info@mckenziemgmt.com.

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