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4 Ways Your Practice Can Benefit From a Dental Consultant
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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You’re ready to start making positive changes in your practice, changes that will enhance efficiencies, grow production and boost your bottom line.

That all sounds great, but if you’re like most dentists, you probably have no idea how to actually make this all happen in your practice, or even where to start. You might think you can implement the necessary improvements after doing a little research and following self-help techniques, but most dentists find this simply doesn’t get them the results they’re after. In fact, going the self-help route tends to slow you down and might even lead to more problems down the road.

Owning a dental practice can be challenging and overwhelming – and there’s nothing wrong with admitting you need a little help from time to time. You really don’t have to do this all on your own. The right dental consultant can offer the guidance you need to finally meet your goals and realize your full potential.

Still not convinced? There are plenty of ways dental consultants can help you grow your practice. Here are four:

1. Consultants see problems you can’t see. As a busy dentist, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine. How often do you get a chance to really step back and take it all in? And even when you do steal a moment to assess your practice and think about the areas that need work, you won’t necessarily see everything that’s broken. Bringing in an outside perspective can really make a difference. Dental consultants know what to look for; they see the same problems every day playing out in other practices. Better yet, they can help you fix these problems, offering the guidance and support needed to finally have the success you’ve always dreamed of.

2. Consultants help relieve some of your stress. Dentistry can be stressful at times, especially if your practice is hurting and you have no idea why. Hiring a dental consultant will help take some of the pressure off. Your consultant is responsible for identifying weaknesses in your systems then working with you to address those weaknesses. You don’t have to worry about handling it all on your own anymore. And knowing you’re taking steps to overcome the challenges your practice is facing will also put your mind at ease. Your workday will become less stressful and you’ll soon have more time to focus on your patients.

3. Consultants help prepare team members for change. No matter how necessary it is, many staff members are resistant to change. It often seems like the longer they’ve been with the practice, the more resistant they are. If you want the changes you implement to be successful, your team has to be on board and excited about what those changes mean for the practice. While you should take the time to talk with team members about the improvements you’re making, your consultant can also help them understand why these adjustments are necessary.

Working with a consultant also shows team members you’re willing to invest in the practice, which helps boost team morale and encourages loyalty.

4. Consultants know what works. If you have low patient retention numbers, for example, you’ve probably tried different ways to increase patient loyalty without much luck. That’s because you really have no idea why patient retention is down or what exactly makes patients want to call a practice their dental home. Consultants can tell you why patients aren’t coming back and help you develop a plan that will actually grow retention numbers, whether that means improving customer service, spending more time educating patients and cultivating relationships, or revamping your recall system.

If your practice is struggling, I know it can seem pretty overwhelming – especially if you’ve decided you can handle it on your own. A self-help approach might seem like a good option, but in the end it could hurt your practice by bringing you extra stress and frustration, which is something both your team members and your patients will notice. Instead of trying to do it all on your own, give McKenzie Management a call. We’re ready to help you reach your goals and grow your bottom line.

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
Interested in having McKenzie Management Seminars speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
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Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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Is Your Outdated Office Hurting Production Numbers?
By Nancy Caudill, Senior Consultant

Dentist Case Study #219

The doctor’s concerns: “I recently bought a practice in an upper-income neighborhood. Since opening, I’ve struggled with production numbers and patient retention. Team morale is also low.”

The Facts
This doctor bought an existing office with 902 active patients. The nearly 30-year old practice was definitely showing its age. While he installed some new equipment, he really didn’t make any updates to the interior or exterior.

It was clear this practice needed a makeover, which is something our dentist didn’t even consider when he purchased it. He told me he didn’t pay much attention to the front office and waiting area, and really wasn’t that concerned about practice cosmetics. We explained why he should be, and provided some tips to help bring new life to his practice – which in turn increased productivity and boosted team morale.

The Issues
First, we noticed the outside sign was old and dingy. Not only that, it wasn’t illuminated, making it difficult to spot during the dark winter evenings. Parking was also a bit of a problem. Patients had to park on a high-traffic street behind the building. Team members usually took the best parking spots closest to the sidewalk, meaning patients had to walk a bit to get to the office. The dentist fixed this right away, setting aside premium spots for his patients, which we’re told they appreciated.

When I first stepped inside the practice, I couldn’t help but notice the old tile floor. Sure it was clean, but the room just wasn’t very inviting. Uncomfortable plastic chairs lined the wall. It felt like being in an ER waiting room. There also wasn’t much in the way of decorations, and I didn’t see any before-and-after photos on the walls or marketing materials anywhere. I’d describe the atmosphere as sterile – not exactly what patients are looking for in a dental home.

The bathroom was also out of paper towels and I noticed fingerprints on the windows. While this might not seem like a big deal, these are things patients will notice, which means dentists should pay attention to them as well.

Our Recommendations
This dentist had a lot to offer, but it just wasn’t reflected in his outdated office. We suggested he hire someone to create a logo for his practice and then put the logo on his new sign. The illuminated sign is now easy to spot at night and includes a logo that patients associate with the doctor and his practice.

Now let’s go back inside the office. We recommended the doctor cover the tile floor with an area rug to absorb sound and give the room a warm feel. We also told him it was time to buy new chairs. Chairs with arms that are easy to get out of tend to work best, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in this doctor’s reception area now. There are also lamps, tables and live plants. Instead of an ER, the space feels more like a living room, creating an inviting environment that helps put patients at ease.

We also recommended the doctor create a checklist for whoever is responsible for cleaning. This helps ensure things like spider webs and fingerprints are taken care of.

Finally, we talked to the doctor about decorations for the walls. While he didn’t have anything up at all, some doctors opt to hang pictures they just happen to like. That’s certainly better than nothing, but it’s much more effective to place photos of families showing off beautiful smiles that you created. Posters promoting services you offer, such as clear aligners and whitening, are also good options. When patients see the posters, they might be prompted to ask you about those services.

The Results
When I returned to the office six months later, I felt like I was walking into a new practice. Creating that living room feel in the waiting room made a huge difference. The doctor also added a refreshment area so team members could offer patients water, tea and coffee as they waited.

Patients certainly have noticed the update. Many of them have made comments to the doctor and his team about how much they love the practice’s new look and feel. Team members are happier to come to work each day and patient retention numbers as well as productivity are on the rise.

Making necessary practice updates can really have a positive impact on productivity and revenues. Take a few minutes to walk through your front door and view your practice through a patient’s eyes. If you feel like it’s time for a makeover, give McKenzie Management a call and we’ll help you get started.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you implement proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com

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