Down the Marketing ‘Matters’ Barrier
Today’s marketing challenge isn’t
attracting warm bodies, it’s attracting quality patients interested
in investing in quality dentistry and keeping them in the practice.
But bringing in the plum patients requires more than slick
materials, a fancy website, and aromatherapy. While all
of those may be pieces of your general marketing picture, zero in
on the areas that matter most to the quality patient seeking the
quality practice, and you’ll soon have marketing that
Patients are calling because they want your services now, not
next month. Office hours that are 8-5 are not convenient for a
large percentage of your patients – those who work. The
most successful practices are open starting at 7 a.m. or closing
at 7 p.m. at least two days per week. Be considerate, if you are
running late, telephone patients so they can make changes in their
plans or reschedule if necessary.
Never underestimate the expectations of prospective and existing
patients. From the first phone call a patient makes to a practice,
they are sizing up the professionalism of the doctor and the staff.
Make them feel welcome. Always greet the patients by name. Look
patients in the eye and sincerely thank them for choosing your
office. Provide follow-up surveys to patients when they leave.
Ask them to give their honest feedback and return the form to
you at their convenience in the self-addressed stamped envelope.
Respect and professionalism matter
Patients want their concerns and needs addressed expeditiously.
And, they expect doctor and staff to have their acts together.
Like it or not, the quality of the doctor is judged by the quality
of his or her staff. Ensure that your team is well trained and
fully prepared to interact professionally with patients. Leave
the personal side conversations in the break room.
Develop a script for key patient interactions from scheduling,
to confirmation calls, to treatment presentations, to financial
arrangements. This ensures that you’re prepared for patient
questions, objections, and concerns. It also provides the employees
with a game plan so they are not handling critical communication
off the cuff.
The “Welcome” matters
Send every new patient a Welcome Packet the same day they call
to schedule their first appointment consisting of a letter, practice
brochure, directions, and parking availability.
Consistent messages matter
If you claim that your practice is state-of-the-art but the orange
shag carpet, avocado countertops, and cracked upholstery on the
operatory chairs say otherwise you’re sending conflicting
messages to the patient.
The patient matters
When the new patient arrives, they should feel like they are the
most important person in your office. Do not make them wait more
than three to five minutes before conducting the “new
“What brings you to our office today, Mrs. Jones?”
Ask several questions to learn what is motivating the patient
to seek dental care. Determine the patient’s wants, needs,
and expectations for their oral health and your dental practice.
Chances are pretty good that your services are competing against
car payments, the college fund, the big screen TV, etc. Partner
with a patient financing company such as CareCredit.
These firms provide excellent financing options that benefit both
doctor and patient.
Stay in regular contact with your patients through thank you letters,
phone calls to check on how they are doing after major treatment,
a quarterly letter/email updating them on continuing education
courses you and your staff have taken, advances in care offered
by your practice, etc.
what matters to the patient is what matters to the practice, and
marketing is simply the fact of “the matter.”
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
VP Professional Relations
Computing - Part 5 – Patient WOW
Last week, I discussed your affection and disappointment with your
clinical software shortly after “live” day [see
article]. It’s OK, the relationship you have with your
clinical software is supposed to be a “love-hate” relationship.
let’s focus on why you put computers in the treatment rooms
in the first place.
Our patients are the reasons we invested so much money, time, and
energy into clinical computing. Here are some key patient benefits
to clinical computing.
Use this as YOUR practice’s clinical computing commitments:
patient of ours will never show up for an appointment with a missing
or incomplete lab case.
A patient of ours will always have a completed HIPPA consent
A patient of ours will always have a recently completed or updated
medical history form.
A patient of ours will know and value that we provide oral cancer
A patient of ours will know and value that we provide plaque
A patient of ours will know and value that we check “their
A patient of ours will be much more aware of the depth and breadth
of our clinical examination findings.
A patient of ours will know that the whole team of clinical professionals
are aware of their particular planned treatment,
no matter if they are in the doctor’s schedule or the hygiene
A patient of ours will be able to see the results of their homecare
regimen on screen and how it has affected their periodontal condition.
A patient of ours will be able to visually compare the results
of their improved homecare regiment from this visit to the last.
A patient of ours will have immediate access to information (visually
or printed) specific to the treatment we recommend and/or they
A patient of ours will always be able to see a sample “before
and after” picture of themselves BEFORE they commit
A patient of ours will always be able to take home specific information
about the treatment we recommend (or they require) so as to discuss
this treatment with their spouse, family, significant other.
A patient of ours will always SEE the problem before we present
A patient of ours will NEVER be told that we cannot locate
A patient of ours that we refer to a specialist will NEVER get
lost through the cracks.
A patient of ours will ALWAYS receive reinforcement from the ENTIRE
TEAM (yes, business team too) because all of the information they
need to be reinforcing is in front of everyone.
95% of our patients will be able to learn of their diagnosis and
planned treatment during one visit. They won’t have to come
back to have the treatment presented.
A patient of ours will ALWAYS know that financing is available
when we (the clinical team) present treatment.
A patient of ours will appreciate and UNDERSTAND a 15” digital
image of an x-ray vs. the doctor holding a 1 x 1 x-ray up to a
light box 6 feet away.
A patient of ours will appreciate receiving professional information
about their necessary treatment. They will also appreciate not
getting those little hand written drawings.
A patient of ours will always know their current remaining
deductible and any unused benefits for the current insurance
A patient of ours should expect us to be able to email their treatment
plan to their spouse.
A patient of ours should expect us to coordinate treatment professionally
and efficiently (electronically) with those to whom we refer.
A patient of ours will appreciate knowing that we have reduced
their exposure to radiation and helped the environment
by limiting chemicals used to develop traditional x-rays.
When within our control, a patient will be seated within 5 minutes
of their appointment time and should expect to leave within 5
minutes from the anticipated end of their reserved appointment
There’s a lot of benefits aren’t there? Next week I
will begin to isolate sections of the above list and discuss the
specifics of each. If any of you want to add to this list, just
send me an email!
you have any questions or comments, please email Mark Dilatush at
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
Mark's Technology Workshop titled Using
Your Practice Management Software to Drive Revenues on Dec.
10th in La Jolla. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 1-877-900-5775
The Cold Shoulder
Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To
Makes a Great Leader...continued
a doctor writes to his colleagues “One of the tough things
about having a dental practice is leadership.
Some people are a natural at leadership but not me".
My discussion of what makes a great leader continues.
Point #3: there is no such thing as leadership
where the day-to-day operations are left unsupervised and do not
require constant monitoring and adjusting. All great leaders take
upon themselves the responsibility to say “it is I who is
responsible for what goes on here and I will take responsibility
for guiding the direction of the feelings and thoughts of my team”.
There are many business owners who believe that people can be told
once what to do and that is sufficient. That will never be the case.
If you hire people who are too independent, they will do what they
are told but be so individualized that there will be no team culture.
On the other hand, you can hire people that are very dependent upon
the support of others but their productivity and efficiency quotients
will always be low.
The essence of good leadership is to recognize the human frailty
and vulnerability in any endeavor that involves people. With this
recognition, the good leader moves forward to monitor and aid in
the decision-making and the prioritization that goes with a smooth
running business. The goal of the leader is a team that can constantly
adapt to changing conditions, and not a team that can run
without them. The good leader is involved in the day-to-day. If
the day-to-day operations cannot be adequately guided, then there
cannot be any leadership.
and conflict resolution are part of the job. Once again, it is a
misappropriated definition if you think that guiding your team and
keeping them motivated and resolving conflicts is beneath the leadership
role. The leader wants to be involved in these day-to-day issues
because it feels good to be involved in people's lives.
the doctor’s reference to chocolate,, I am assuming is a reference
to incentives. The reality is that chocolate will only go so far
if there is not enough chocolate and everyone wants it or not everyone
responds to chocolate. Notice that this belief in a universal reward
is faulty reasoning and sets the stage for defeat.
No. 4: there is no leadership if the leader has to do all
the jobs, and therefore the act of delegation is not an active leadership;
it is an act of organization. There is a very old axiom that I have
run into for many years which is open " I lead by example".
This is a very serious reference to the fact that leaders do not
ask their followers to do something that they would not do. That
was the intent. This makes perfect sense. In the real world, people
have options and they do not enjoy doing your dirty work.
However, "I lead by example" as used here and in other
practices is synonymous with “I will not talk or connect,
I will ignore the problem and simply model hard work, I will model
what I want and say nothing." This is nothing but the ostrich
strategy in a white coat.
concept of leadership is the act of creating organization in order
to accomplish a vision. There is no leadership without organization,
and there is no organization without delegation. There is no such
thing as leading by example and ignoring the individual’s
perspective which is no longer the same as the leader.
them once and they will do it, give them an idea and they will run
with it, everyone is self-motivated. The world of dentistry and
medicine attracts a certain kind of professional and a certain kind
of staff and both the owner of the business and the employees have
their idiosyncratic values, beliefs and the emotional history that
is far too diverse to assume control and obedience for the sake
of your leadership.
Point No. 5: I would disagree with the doctor when
he says they can get to the next level and want to know how to get
their staff up there. There are far too many inaccuracies and distortions
in this personal definition of leadership that demonstrate to me
that the concept of leadership is not at the next level; it is not
even on a reasonable surface that would permit the acceptance of
the truth. “I have a great staff, but don't get me wrong"
Everyone says that while they complain about their staff.
Talk to anyone who has successfully led a company and they will
tell you the same thing. It is never about the staff, it is always
about them, what they did wrong, what are they missing, and how
can they improve themselves. The author of this letter continues
to look outside for the explanation of what is good leadership when,
in reality, good leadership comes from within. The essence of leadership
begins with the ability to bring people close to them and not tell
them what to do and expect it to be done.
However, once they know you love them....they will follow you anywhere
and only need to be told one time. Get it????
Want your issues answered? Ask the email@example.com.
miss The Coach’s workshops on November 8th, Taking
Your Practice Back – Leaderhip Development for Dentistry.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 1-877-900-5775
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Should the Dr. pay staff to work when he is gone on vacation ? I
take one week off in the summer, and several days off around the
holidays for vacation. Usually, the front desk staff alternate days
so the phone is covered. I encourage staff to take their vacation
at the same time, but the clinical assistants seem to feel they
should be paid to work around the office while I’m gone. I
have two expanded duty assistants, one dental assistant, three hygienists
and two business staff. This could be a HUGE payroll to support
with no production. Any suggestions?
This is an executive decision that should have been made the day
you opened the doors, prior to hiring your first employee and stated
in the employee policy manual at the time of hiring.
Now…you’ve got yourself backed into a corner with the
potential of unhappy employees and that sometimes perpetuates an
uncomfortable feeling of fear that they might quit. By informing
as part of the interview process, the applicant has had full disclosure
about the position and can then decide if she wants the job. In
other words, A. The office will be closed for 4 weeks out of the
year. Employees will be given a minimum of two months notice. The
employee has the option of acquiring temporary employment during
this time. Salary will not be paid. or B. The office will be closed
for 4 weeks out of the year. Employees will be expected to work
during this time and the following is a list of duties that will
be required during that time. Those duties might consist of a clinical
assistant purging charts or purging x-ray mounts from charts, cleaning
out cabinets, revamping an inventory control program, going to one
of the doctor's colleagues dental office to learn how to make temporary
crowns. The business staff might be making contact with over due
patients or patients with unscheduled treatment. In some states
it is legal for the hygienist to keep working without the dentist.
Hygienists also have a greater chance of seeking substitute work
than a business assistant, for example. I would say that the expanded
duty dental assistant's would not be paid their normal “producing”
salary during that time because they are not producing but be paid
basic chairside assistant salary if they are going to work when
there are no patients. The key here is not to decide this type of
policy after the fact or as the moment occurs but to develop this
policy prior to interviewing. Hope this helps.
you wondering if your hygiene department is producing what it could
Allan Monack's hygienist produces $1231 a day seeing
1 patient an
hour with a
prophy fee of $70.
your hygienist producing?
Monack is the Hygiene Clinical Consultant for McKenzie Management.
He can help you produce the same results.
To find out more about the Hygiene
Clinical Enrichment Program [go
here], contact us at email@example.com
or call: 877-777-6151
Center for Dental Career Development
Business Education for Dental Professionals
737 Pearl Street,
La Jolla, CA 92037