08.18.06 - Issue # 232 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

The Importance of Advanced Business Training
For Your Front Office Staff

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
Advanced Training Instructor
McKenzie Management
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Desperate Dentist needs warm body to take this job---PLEASE!!!!”

After weeks of searching by network, word of mouth, ads in all the major papers, employment agencies and the local Dental Society, one is tempted to dig thru those rejected resumes to take another look at the applicants. 

Nationwide there is a shortage of qualified and experienced dental applicants to fill all positions, and some dentists I know have resorted to “tempting” their colleagues’ staff with an “offer she can’t refuse.”

Dentists are turning to hiring an applicant with a business degree and or a customer service background, teaching them the basics of dental terminology and then giving them the title of “Office Manager”.  The clinical staff is delegated to “explaining” to the patient about treatment, length of appointments, post and pre-op care, insurance reimbursement and fees and financial arrangements. In many offices I hear the following from clinical staff “I have enough to do without having to tell the patient about insurance or fees”; “I don’t know why Dr. Smith hired her, she doesn’t know anything about dentistry”; “She is always coming back here asking the “dumbest” questions and interrupting the doctor.”

Large corporations hire professional recruiters to find the best people.  After passing a battery of qualifications these new employees go into a “training program” that lasts anywhere from one to three weeks before they begin their job assignments, sometimes with the aid of a supervisor who mentors them along the way.  How many CEO dentists have time for this??  From my experience, I say very few have the time and even fewer have the business knowledge or the computer software skills.  There is no revenue unless the high speed is going full speed in the treatment room.  Many dentists have a “sink or swim” attitude about their staff.  “I hire someone with experience, I throw her into the mix and if she survives and the practice doesn’t suffer she gets to keep her job.” This is a quote from a dentist I know who has a “revolving door” reputation.

 I recently instructed a very sharp woman, Jane, who had taken a position as “Office Manager” in a dental office because she “wanted to try something different.”  Jane had worked in a bank and had a BA in Business Management.  She felt she was learning very fast and was enjoying her new career. Jane said,  “The only thing that is hard to grasp is why people balk at paying for their dental care and understanding dental insurance is confusing. These are big issues but the biggest is getting the respect from the other team members who already know about dentistry, they aren’t very patient.”   I discovered that she did not have a structured training period, nor did she have any written materials as a resource.  She shadowed other team members and was allowed to participate as time allowed which gave her a chaotic view of her day.

After creating a formal JOB DESCRIPTION we were able to concentrate on the areas where she needed the most help.  We did mock treatment presentations and financial arrangements with much coaching on how to answer the most common questions patients have about insurance, fees and financing options.

“Coming here for training and receiving so much important and useful information is the best thing that has happened.  I feel hopeful now and I understand how the pieces fit together”, says Jane. After completing McKenzie’s Advanced Training for Office Managers, she felt that she was headed toward a real career and not just a job.

If you don’t hire smart and train well, you have to face the “revolving door” as people leave almost as soon as they arrive.  A worst-case scenario is letting someone go because you hired in haste and now regret it. 

“Burned out” over training people?  Let us train your business staff.   Ongoing training and education is necessary for the success of any practice.  The patients who visit dental offices on a regular basis expect everyone to know what they are doing and to be able to answer questions about fees, insurance, treatment and comfort.  With the addition of new technology, products and materials, training is an ongoing expense that has many benefits to the practice and to the patients.  The rewards are a team of professionals who take pride in their work and are enthusiastic about communicating dental services to patients.

For more information on McKenzie's Advanced Training for Front Office, Office Managers or Dentists email training@mckenziemgmt.com or visit our web-site at http://www.mckenziemgmt.com/.

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