Productivity to Perception - What the ‘Place’ Says About
The eyes may be the mirror
of the soul but the workspace is the ultimate reflection
of your skills as a dentist and the professionalism of your team.
Take a look around your office. What does it say about you, your
practice, and your team? Is the reception area a welcome oasis for
busy patients or the loading dock for your day? Do the hallways
provide easy access to and from treatment rooms or are they a pinball
alley in which you are bouncing off walls to dodge oncoming patients
and staff? Do the treatment rooms lend themselves to efficient scheduling
or do they lock you into performing specific procedures
in particular areas?
design and flow of the physical infrastructure have a profound effect
on the human infrastructure – from stress
to productivity to patient perception. Yet many dentists
give relatively small consideration to the impact their workspace
has on their own success, that of their team, and the practice as
those dentists that do seek to improve their workspaces and build
new office buildings, many find they are unprepared for the magnitude
of the project they’ve committed themselves and their checkbooks
to. It is not uncommon for a dentist to envision a new practice
as a virtual carbon copy of the existing facility only larger. This
transfer of problem areas does nothing to address
the key stressors and function flaws that are tripping up the team
in the existing space.
If you’re planning to build a new office, chances are pretty
good you will do so only once. Make sure you avoid building the
same traps you are struggling to escape. As my friend, dentist/architect
Dr. Michael Unthank of Unthank
Design Group, likes to say, “It costs just as
much to build it wrong as it does to build it right.”
Before you undertake the most expensive investment
you will ever make in your business take two critical steps in planning
and save dozens of missteps in design:
yourself daily that you are a dentist, not an architect.
Choose a team of qualified professionals – preferably not
your old college roommate or your brother in-law. You want experts
who have built dental offices and are intimately familiar with
the challenges of running a dental practice. Although yours is
the final word when it comes to decisions, a qualified design
team will save you from making a string of bank-busting
the Design Program. This is the “treatment
plan” of sorts for your ideal office. The Design Program
identifies what you do and do not want in your new facility. It
is an exhaustive list of practice needs, desires, and goals for
the new building. This is the written foundation upon which all
of the design plans stem.
Design Program spells out clearly the functions that will be performed
in the office and what essential elements are necessary to ensure
those functions are carried out effectively - from diagnosing and
delivering treatment, to treatment planning and presentations, to
financial arrangements and collections, to greeting patients and
managing the schedule. The design program is not just a reflection
of where the practice is today, but also a blueprint
for where the doctor wants to take the practice in the future.
week, key recommendations to keep in mind when building the new
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
Your Office a Place of Appreciation
Dr. Nancy Haller
doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving to tell your co-workers,
staff and patients that you appreciate them. The word ‘appreciation’
generally means gratitude, thankfulness, admiration, and approval.
From a financial perspective, something that ‘appreciates’
grows in value. Therefore, by being appreciative, you get the benefit
of both perspectives: as you learn to be consistently thankful
and approving, your practice and your life will grow in value.
with the demands and pressures associated with running a dental
practice these days, you might be thinking, who has time for such
quaint customs? Make no mistake about my intention. Extending courtesies
to others - staff and patients alike - is not just about
having manners...although we all could use more. According
to a Lenox etiquette poll, nearly 50% of the population do NOT always
say thank you. That being the case, remembering to express
appreciation is a sales point…one that will increase
patient satisfaction and revenue, AND increase employee retention.
Bottom line…thanking others gives you a competitive
So give thanksgiving, not just on the fourth Thursday of November,
but every day. Here are some suggested ways to express your
Compliment an employee for a job well done. Identify
the specific actions that you found admirable. Thank a
reticent patient for flossing because it makes your job easier.
In addition to saying "thank you", remember
to say, "please". Social niceties DO belong
at work. Patients want to be in gracious, polite environments.
Employees are more productive.
Show interest in others. Ask employees about
their family, their hobby, their weekend or a special event they
attended. Your staff will feel more valued. Do the same with patients.
Put post-it notes in their chart to remind you to follow-up during
their next appointment. Patients will feel special because you
personal thank you cards. The sentiments can be brief and scripted
for efficiency. Handwritten notes make you stand out among
the competition. Send them to new patients. Give them
to employees for exceptional service. For a fun touch, add a Starbucks
gift card with a “Thanks a latte” note.
Share the wealth. If a patient or employee refers someone
new, give a discount or small bonus. Word of mouth is
still the best form of advertising.
possible, allow staff to have flexible scheduling.
Employees work harder when they have some decision-making authority
for their hours.
your staff with food…bagels, fruit, pizza. Take
employees to lunch for a birthday, a special occasion or for no
reason at all. Let them pick the restaurant.
a fun tradition for high production days. One dentist
told me that he uses a ‘grab bag’, a Tupperware container
filled with tickets. When the office revenue reaches the target
goal, each employee picks a ticket with pay-off amounts ranging
from $5.00 to $100.00.
complaining patients. Research indicates that customers
who voice their complaints still want to do business with you.
So thank and assure them that you will do everything you can to
correct the problem.
but not least, provide opportunity. People want
to learn and grow. Offer them training and cross-training. Notice
their talents. Consider having them attend a professional association
meeting or representing your practice at civic and philanthropic
I encourage you to stretch your imagination. These are just a few
of the things you can do to show appreciation. Make thanksgiving
a part of every day – it will build a positive and
productive workplace. It will bring you success in patient
satisfaction and referrals. Your employees will be more motivated
and loyal. You will be rewarded financially and personally. Then
you will have a very Happy Thanksgiving Day!
Call or email
Dr. Haller. She will help you to improve your effectiveness
and build a stronger practice.
Haller is available to speak to your dental society or study club
on subjects such as interpersonal communication, conflict management,
and team building. If you would like information about any of her
practice-building seminars, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 1-877-777-6151 Ext. 33
Executive Coaching Help YOU Be A Better CEO?
this test to find out ...
Belle M. DuCharme
RDA, CDPMA, Director
The Center for
Dental Career Development
you ever embarked upon a road trip without a map? Would you go to
sea without a chartered course? Would you go into business without
a business plan and written policies? If you answered
“no” to these questions then you are ahead in the game
of life and business. As the instructor for Dental Business Training
for dentists and their staff, I am amazed at the number of offices
that come in for training that do not have an Office Policy
Manual. Here at The
Center for Dental Career Development, it is my mission to give
offices tools to increase
production, collections, teamwork, and also provide tools to lessen
the stress of office politics.
Office Policy Manual provides a consistent set
of rules and regulations for governing the working condition, behavior
and compensation of dental office personnel. In other words, it
tells employees how they should work, when they should work and
what happens if there work is excellent, average or poor. When workplace
standards are clearly communicated to employees, many benefits come
to the dental practice. Staff tends to:
WORK MORE PRODUCTIVELY
HAVE A DECREASED TURNOVER AND ABSENTEEISM
COOPERATE, NOT CONFLICT WITH OTHER EMPLOYEES
MAINTAIN A BETTER TEAM MORALE
PROVIDE A HIGHER QUALITY OF WORK PERFORMANCE
The first step in compiling the policy manual is to write a mission
statement. This is a statement of the purpose and vision
of the practice. Many dental teams write this mission statement
together. It is important that all team members be on the same page
to achieve success. The famous comedian, Woody
Allen, once said, “The world is run by people who show up.”
I would like to take that a step further and say, “The world
is run by people who show up with a purpose.”
If you are hired without a clear job description as to what is expected
of you or where you fit into the fiber of the business you will
seek your own path of least resistance. This is office politics
One of the weakest areas I have seen in many offices is the lack
of job descriptions, areas of accountability and
performance measurements. These systems can be defined in an Office
Policy Manual and the materials are provided during the training
here at THE CENTER.
the hiring process, without written policies about vacation time,
sick leave, military leave, jury duty etc., the possibility for
misunderstandings and hard feelings can surface.
Do you pay for vacations after one year? Do you pay for sick days?
Is there reimbursement for continuing education courses? Without
a plan for these employee issues there is chaos.
Don’t rely on your memory about benefits you have promised
to employees. If it isn’t written it will become a dispute
of “I said” “She said.” Make
sure that any policies concerning employment meet with federal and
Office Policy Manual is not a contract of employment. It is a guide
to how you, as an employer, want to conduct your business.
Remember, without policies in place you are like a ship at sea without
a compass and there could be rough water ahead.
For more information about Business Training for dentist and staff
please contact The
Center for Dental Career Development.
Belle M. DuCharme, RDA, CDPMA, Director
DOES YOUR OVERHEAD
just can¹t say enough wonderful things about McKenzie
Management and their help in making my practice a ³business²
not just a ³place of dentistry². I learned so
much from McKenzie Management that I can¹t begin
to tell you how it's impacted my life. If I hadn¹t
contacted McKenzie Management, I would
still be in the same unorganized, ³flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants²
routine that I had been in since I started my practice.
I now know with the business principles that McKenzie
Management has taught me and of course my
willingness to learn and perfect new techniques, that
my dream of having a million dollar practice is very attainable
and will be here sooner than I
had originally thought.
WANT TO BE
Lorin Berland, D.D.S.
an even easier and more effective smile design resoure to help
you create the perfect smile for your patient! The Lorin Library
Smile Style Guide! 88 full color pages, 6
sections of patient education and smile design strategy. And
all new tooth shape comparison sections! Use the Guide's 3 easy
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*Good Through 11/26/04
Missed Past Issues of Our e-Management Newsletter?
am interested in obtaining some information about scripts we can
use in our office. Can you tell me where and how I can get this
type of information?
Dr. New York
McKenzie Management just completed our NEW AND IMPROVED WEBSITE
which I invite you to explore. One feature of the site I most excited
about is our Practice Management Library. I have taken all of our
past e-Management newsletters and identified by practice management
a search capability for you to find information on topics ranging
from cash flow to scheduling to computers and beyond. You weren't
specific regarding what subject matter of scripts you were looking
for so I know our Practice Management Library will direct you to
a specific topic. On the home page you will find a button titled
Practice Management Library that will take you to the search page.
Hope this helps.
Let me know if I can be of any further help.
OUT OF YOUR
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Business Education for Dental Professionals
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