– Script the Perfect Story
When was the last time you made a major
purchase, and weren’t asked for payment up front or how you
would like to arrange payment? It doesn’t happen in the real
world, so why should it be happening in your practice? Business
staff often allow patients to walk out the door with nary so much
as a payment envelope in their hands. Not only
does the doctor survive or perish based on collections, so too does
the team, and it is essential the team understand this. At your
next staff meeting take time to discuss your collections procedures
and how they can be enhanced. If a
patient has concluded her visit with the hygienist and will be scheduling
appointments for a crown or other major procedure, the time
to talk $$$ is now, not when the treatment is complete.
Take three critical steps to ensure that your collections are 98%
Plan for solid, dependable collections first by establishing a
clear financial policy that patients and staff understand. Every
successful business has such a policy. The key is to give adequate
options to patients that benefit both the practice and the patient
and control the urge to make policy exceptions a whim. [click
here if you want a sample financial policy]
Prepare. Effective collections require that you know exactly what
you will say to the patient in virtually any collections circumstance.
For example, the patient that will be returning for a procedure
over $200 should be given the opportunity and encouraged to make
payment today. Take this approach, “Mrs. Jones,
your next appointment is for a crown, and that fee is $670. If
you would like to pay for the procedure today or on the day of
your first appointment you will receive a 5% reduction on the
fee, which would be $637.”
Wait for the patient’s response. If she says, “No,
I can’t do that,” let the patient know that the
practice also accepts major credit cards. If the patient says
she cannot place it on her charge card, but she would like to
make payments of $50 per month, politely and compassionately explain
to the patient that as a small business, the practice
is unable to extend interest free loans to patients.
Then tell the patient about the arrangement the practice has with
a patient financing firm, such as CareCredit.
One of the greatest benefits of patient financing is that in most
cases, patients can secure interest-free loans
for three, six, and even 12 months to pay for treatment. Patients
are very open to pursuing major treatment when 0% financing is
provided and clearly explained.
Practice, Practice, Practice. Identify the various collections
scenarios that the collections coordinator is likely to encounter
and plan for those using strategies similar to that outlined above.
Role play the situations during staff meetings,
so that the staff fully understand the policies and those responsible
for collections are prepared when patients raise questions or
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
SEEN YOUR YEAR END NUMBERS ...
PANIC TO PROFIT - TURNING PANIC TO PROFIT
PANIC TO PROFIT - TURNING PANIC TO PROFIT
An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
VP Professional Relations
Last week, [see
article], I started discussing the scheduling coordinator position.
This week, I will continue with the scheduling coordinator’s
job/technology responsibilities. Each dental office is different.
You should consider the following data responsibilities as “bare
minimum” for the position.
scheduling coordinator should be responsible for the following...
Managing the business of hygiene – closing the back door.
than 75% of the dental offices we analyze, practices are losing
more patients out the back door than they are attracting new through
the front door. In an office that has a scheduling and financial
coordinator, it is the scheduling coordinator’s job to stay
on top of overdue recall patients. If you pre-appoint hygiene
visits, this list can get long and seemingly unmanageable fairly
quickly. A minimum of 5 outbound telephone calls MUST be made each
work day to overdue recall patients. Pertinent notes from each conversation
are kept in the computer system. The patient is either scheduled
(best), left on the contact list for future follow up (most), or
inactivated (worst) from the recall system altogether after several
reactivation attempts have been made. This is not an overwhelming
chore if you stick to the 5 phone call per day rule.
Adjust accordingly in larger volume practices.
2. Family Scheduling
One fantastic way to provide
world class service to the patient AND make your life easier is
by using your system’s family scheduling feature
every time the phone rings, a patient is standing in front of you,
or any time you dial out to follow up with a patient. Basically,
family scheduling organizes the whole family’s scheduling
needs on one easy screen. It is a great service to today’s
working parents to be able to review and schedule everyone
in the family during one phone call. In our experience,
this feature of your software is the most under-used scheduling
feature. It is also the simplest feature to implement. If your practice
management software has this capability, work it into your routine.
It makes a scheduling coordinator’s job a lot faster and much
3. Tracking and reporting
The scheduling coordinator
(in an office with both a financial and scheduling coordinator)
has specific reporting responsibilities. One in particular, you
will not find in your practice management software. It is “openings
per day”. The goal you want to shoot for is .5
openings per provider per day. You can use a piece of paper
or a simple Excel spreadsheet. As time goes by, you’ll begin
to see trends and be able to measure how far away you are from your
.5 opening per day target. Other reporting for the scheduling coordinator
can come directly from the reports in your practice management software.
Some may require a calculator. Below is a sample list. All reports
should compare two months ago to last month.
Total gross production
Comparison of actual gross production to practice goal
Total hygiene production
Total unscheduled treatment
Total outstanding treatment plans
Number of outbound calls made (unscheduled treatment)
Number of outbound calls made (hygiene follow up)
Number of active patients
Number of hygiene hours per week needed
Total number of overdue patients still on recall list
Remember, we are here to help. Email
me your questions or comments!
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
The Cold Shoulder
Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To
Concepts of Leadership and Management
A Continuing Discussion
To reiterate last week’s discussion [See
January 23th issue] ... there is a great deal of talk these
days about leadership. It is a big concept that is thrown around
in national and international politics and corporate America.
Today, the concept of leadership from politics and economics has
been rationalized down to the level of the small business.
This process has led to ambiguity, distortion, and confusion over
how it should or should not apply. These detriments not only confuse
the office staff who pines for a great leader on horseback, but
also is distorted by the business owners who perceive themselves
to be more responsible than they really are or need to be.
This week's column is a continuing discussion of the difference
between leadership and management. For the sake of clarity,
I believe that all business owners must be managers first and leaders
second. The reason for this definition is that the goal of the office
practice is simply to carry out the product and services as promised,
effectively and efficiently. The typical office practice is not
challenged with the responsibility of guiding millions of people
and billions of dollars. Ours is a very simple challenge: make
money and enjoy the day.
is right !
Everyone on your left and on your right does things the right way.
Deep down in their heart, they are doing it the best they can and
they are doing it the right way for them. They
very deeply believe this, and they expect you to respect the way
they are doing things. All of us have had the experience of watching
someone do something in a manner that seems to be odd and counterintuitive;
however, the truth is it is counterintuitive to our intuition
but not to theirs.
running a business or participating as a member of the team, your
ability to understand what is right is actually very relative to
the others around you. It is for this reason that defining what
is right in your office at a specific time and place is a requirement
if the business is to run efficiently. In addition, such knowledge
is necessary to receive the very best cooperation between the staff
and the business owner. It is the clarity of the definition of what
is right that provides for the efficiency of a well-run business
foundations of a well-run business are predicated on doing the right
thing and doing it correctly. Business owners and office managers
are required to do the right thing and to do it correctly. They
set the model for the rest of the team. Furthermore, one of the
requirements of a good manager is that they can step in and do anyone
else's job should the need arise the right way, and it is presumed
that the way the team does their job is the way the manager wants
it done: the right way. Once the right way is clearly stated, it
is supposed to be done correctly. The manager is charged with making
sure that what is right is done correctly. There is no interpretation
at the managers' level.
is right and what is correct is always subject to interpretation
by the leader. This might seem irresponsible, but the truth is there
is more than one right way to do everything. There
is more than one path to the top of the mountain, and for this reason,
people must understand that what is right and then what is the right
way is established by the leader of the organization. The leader
establishes what is the right way to do it because it satisfies
the larger vision. The leader is responsible for articulating the
direction and the steps in that direction for the managers and the
is reasonable to presume that the leader and the manager and the
team all want to move in the direction that satisfies everyone's
needs; however, this is not always the case. While the leader’s
purpose may be obvious and self-explanatory, individuals may join
a team with their own concept for direction. When this direction
does not coincide with the direction of the leadership, there
is certain to be conflict. It is the presence of chronic
conflict that reveals a basic disagreement about what is right and
how it should be done.
Just as I said last week that all brains love the novelty of creativity,
all brains also love the stability that comes with knowing exactly
what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. The presence
of stability within any organization diminishes anxiety and permits
a sense of automatic functioning that can be pleasurable.
as knowing your job can lead to a repetitive pattern, repetition
can also lead to a sense of peace and tranquility. Most
businesses enjoy the stability and tranquility of knowing that there
is business coming through the door and that the expectations for
service and fees are agreeable to everyone. This allows people at
work to feel comfortable that they are contributing to an ongoing
enterprise and be a service to the community.
are responsible for maintaining the stability of the daily routine.
Managers are responsible for training staff not only to do their
routine correctly, but also to be able to respond to changes in
that routine. More than anything else, the manager is expected to
be decisive in a moment of crisis. Any deflection
in decision making at a critical moment undermines the team's desire
to follow the managers lead. It is critical that the manager be
a decisive personality. All too often, managers are hired for their
years of experience rather than their capacity to manage. In order
to manage, you want to be able to maintain stability, enjoy the
daily routine, while handling any event that would upset that routine
quickly and effectively.
The responsibilities for change at the leadership level are different.
Leadership is responsible to accept that change is inevitable,
and therefore the leader who can recognize what is just over the
horizon and prepare effectively, creates opportunity for the business
and the team. The leader is responsible to prepare the business
for change in order to maintain competitiveness and profitability.
must anticipate and initiate as necessary in order to fulfill their
obligation to their staff and clients. There is an obligation to
be able to see around corners and over the hill. If a leader has
demonstrated a good capacity to make good decisions, and to make
those decisions decisively, then the business will follow his lead
with a minimal amount of fear and trepidation. It is the leader’s
responsibility to initiate change as necessary
while at the same time encouraging the faith and strength of the
staff. This is not always easy to do; however, it is essential and
differentiates the leader from the manager.
summary, the leader must initiate and recognize change and announce
what is right, while the manager is responsible for maintaining
the capacity to react effectively to that change and then set a
model for doing what is right.
your issues answered? Ask the email@example.com.
your overhead expenses
your accounts receivable
... made easy!
you need to know about cash flow is in this
information-packed book written by
Sally McKenzie, CMC
$37 only for 7 days!!
Management, Inc. has been named the WINNER
in the DentalTown Magazine and DentalTown.com
2003 Townie Choice Awards™
for Practice Management Consultants.
is an overwhelming honor to be singled out by literally
thousands of dental practices across the country as the
number one dental practice management firm,” said
Sally McKenzie, President, McKenzie Management. “We
know that dentists take great care in selecting only the
very best products and services, and to be among this
elite group is truly a testament to the commitment the
McKenzie Management team has demonstrated over the past
23 years to provide consistently superior consulting products
and services,” added Ms. McKenzie.
The McKenzie Management Team looks forward to continuing
to provide the very best consulting services so that dental
practices in turn can perform at their very best.
THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SUPPORT AND VOTES!
is a posting on www.dentaltown.com
Message Board from a satisfied
McKenzie Management Client I wanted to share.
one I got from my McKenzie consultant. Been working fantastic for
us in the couple of weeks we've been doing it.
ordered a bunch of ping pong balls - mostly white, but some yellow,
red, blue, etc. We put them all in an empty 5-gallon water jug and
designated dollar amounts for all the balls. White are $5, the other
colors are designated $10, $15, $20, $25, and there is one with
an eyeball on it that is $50. Each day that we make our total office
goal, every employee gets to shake the jug and take out a ping pong
wouldn't believe how excited they have gotten over this game, and
how hard we are all working to try and make our goals every day.
We had been terribly slow for the past couple of months, but since
we started the "game" we've made our goal at least 50%
of the time.
all love it - it doesn't cost me much (they get it in cash right
on the spot), and it gives us something to shoot for each day, not
like a monthly or quarterly goal. I've even caught them on a number
of occasions "practicing" shaking the jug trying to figure
out how to get the colored balls to come out.
we're all having fun, getting something from it, and my production
is better as well.
OUT OF YOUR
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Business Education for Dental Professionals
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La Jolla, CA 92037
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