3 Reasons Your Practice is Stuck in a Plateau (and how to get over it)

By Sally McKenzie, CEO Printer Friendly Version

You know there are dentists out there who bring in a million dollars or more every year, without fail. Unfortunately, you haven’t reached that level of success just yet. In fact, you’re not even close, and have no idea what these doctors are doing that you’re not.

Instead of growing each month, your practice is stuck on a plateau. The stagnant production numbers have become a source of frustration for both you and your team members, and you’re ready to make the changes you need to finally start meeting your full potential. You know you can be one of those million dollar or more doctors you hear about all the time, you just need a little guidance to get there. You’re in luck, because I can offer that guidance.

Before you can get out of that rut you’re in, you need to determine what’s causing it in the first place. Over the years, I’ve worked with many practices that seemed to be going nowhere fast, and have a pretty good idea of why it happens. Here are the most common reasons practices get stuck in a plateau, and a little advice to help you get over yours:

1. Your team members aren’t as efficient as they could be. If some of your team members don’t seem to be pulling their weight, it’s likely because they don’t have the direction they need to succeed. As the practice CEO, it’s your job to provide them with guidance.

As nice as it would be, you can’t expect new hires to just hit the ground running without any direction, or for team members to magically know how to use a new piece of technology. That’s where training comes in. Proper training will give your employees the confidence they need to excel, and that will boost practice production.

Part of providing team members with the guidance they crave is creating detailed job descriptions that outline their responsibilities and your expectations. Job descriptions make it clear who’s responsible for what, eliminating confusion and the conflict that often comes when there are undefined roles.

Including performance expectations in job descriptions is also key. Let employees know what systems they’re accountable for and how you want those systems to perform. It’s also important to let employees know how they can earn raises and under what circumstances they will be discussed. This will motivate them to excel rather than stay with the status quo.

With a little direction, your employees will know exactly what they need to do, making them happier in their roles and more efficient, which translates into increased production.

2. Your practice experiences a lot of turnover. If your team members aren’t happy, they won’t hesitate to look for another job—and that could mean trouble for your production numbers.

Lack of direction is one of the reasons employees opt to leave, but offering training and detailed job descriptions will help eliminate that problem in your office. You also have to make sure team members are in the right roles. Many dentists rush through the hiring process only to bring someone on board who clearly isn’t right for the job, making everyone miserable and damaging the practice in the process.

Bad hires can lead to team conflict, hurting productivity and maybe even costing you patients. As much as you might want to get the hiring process over with, taking the proper steps will make your life easier in the long run. Job descriptions will help you weed out candidates who just aren’t a good fit, but it’s also important to create detailed ads that outline all the relevant job details, review resumes for red flags, conduct phone screenings, ask the right open-ended questions during face-to-face interviews, check references, and ask candidates to take a personality test before offering them a position.

Don’t just hire the first person you see with an impressive resume, or promote your star employee to a job he or she isn’t really cut out for. Doing so will only hurt production numbers and cost you a lot of time, money and heartache.

3. Patients aren’t coming back. It’s pretty simple. When patient retention is down, so is practice production. This is a common problem, but one you can turn around. You can start by focusing on creating an exceptional patient experience, whether that means giving your waiting area a homey feel, promptly answering patient questions with a helpful tone or simply greeting every patient with a friendly smile.

Reactivating recall is another way to boost patient retention. Most practices ignore this system, but that is a mistake. Task an employee with reaching out to and scheduling five past due patients every day and you’ll soon see a rise in patient retention as well as practice productivity.

Being stuck in a plateau is pretty frustrating, especially when you know there are dentists out there achieving the success you’ve always dreamed of. Recognizing what’s holding you back is the first step in making the changes you need to finally start reaching your full potential.

Next Thursday: More tips to help you finally get over that practice plateau. Share this Newsletter

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.
Be sure to find us on Facebook! Facebook Page