07.24.09 Issue #385 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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Branding Your Job Value in the Dental Office

It is undisputed that millions of people have lost their jobs in this recession and that it is affecting dental production. In some demographic locations, as much as 36% of patients are postponing dental recalls and treatment because of lack of insurance or money.  Layoffs, rare in dental offices in the past, are now possible if fewer patients force the practice to cut back on employees instead of cutting back patient hours.  Showing your employer that you will do what it takes to prevent being a recession statistic means stepping out of the box that you are comfortable in and reinventing yourself by learning new skills or becoming certified in a skill that will be of value to the practice.  

Knowing what is valuable to your employer means creating your own office “brand” so you are the key person that comes to mind to perform that skill. For instance, take the time to learn the dental software program well enough to quickly create and print treatment plans with photos and with the estimated insurance payment and patient participation. This skill is a must have to properly communicate payment options and prevent financial systems breakdown.

Become a “software trainer” of the program in your practice by taking the appropriate training and passing the examination. This will benefit the practice because you will be asked to train existing and new employees. Having the skills to be the best at taking and pouring impressions to insure a precise lab case will make a difference in the outcome of the final restoration. Taking intra-oral photos displaying the old and worn fillings or cracked teeth and open margins helps to get insurance claims paid promptly without resubmitting, resulting in improved cash flow. The team member that becomes known for taking great before and after photos for the treatment presentation book provides the patients with visual displays of the doctor’s best work, and gives patients the confidence to proceed with their own treatment.

Taking the extra time to get patient testimonials for the website or for the case book is another internal marketing necessity that is often overlooked in dental offices because the staff forgets to do it. Brand yourself as the one who will make sure to get the patient’s written testimonial, right when treatment is complete and the patient is admiring their new dentistry.

In one general practice, one of the certified dental assistants became a massage therapist and the practice was able to offer patients neck and shoulder massages for a minimum charge with dental services. This was a wonderful service and a great way for the dental assistant to establish her brand in the practice.

Is there an aquarium in the practice or have you thought of adding one?  Learn how to take care of it from professionals and offer to add the task to your job description. The same would apply to the care of live plants or water features in the office.

Finding ways to cut back on the overhead by comparison shopping for dental and office supplies will add value to your service in the practice and brand you as a money saver. Have a website? Offer to maintain it by learning how to change text, add and delete photos and provide downloadable forms or other features. Keep up to date on the latest way to market your practice.

Don’t have a logo for your dental practice? Now is the time to get creative. Have a contest to design a logo for the practice and have each team member submit a design. You may decide to get some ideas from the patients also. Logos are part of business branding and a way to become unforgettable to your patients. By updating your image you create a new excitement about the practice. Patients, like everyone else, are looking for positive people and businesses during this rough time.

Have a flair for marketing or advertising?  Design an ad with an offer to the patients to come in for treatment. It could say something like: Times are tough for all of us, but there is never a right time to neglect your health by postponing your professional cleaning and exam. To help you out, we are offering $30.00 off any service in our practice for the month of August 2009.

Interested in learning more about establishing your own “brand” and adding value to your practice? Call today for information about our advanced training programs.

If you would like more information on Treatment Acceptance Training to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com.

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