12.25.09 Issue #407 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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Keep Your Job - Don't Fly Under the Radar

“I just don’t see that Mary is contributing enough to warrant keeping her next year,” lamented Dr. G. as he addressed his overhead concerns while setting goals for 2010.
Mary kept her head down and worked at what she was hired to do, no more and no less, surely she will be protected from a layoff.  If that is your thought pattern to protect your job, then your thinking is off and needs to be adjusted immediately. The recession is technically over but the recovery will take time and money is short all around, with layoffs still happening daily. Many practices have frozen salaries, cut benefits and hours to keep the staff that they have. This still may not be enough if collection figures cannot support the overhead.

Having an Action Plan for you position in 2010 needs to start now. Start setting a goal to excel at what you do. Take a hard look at your job description and assess whether your skills are at the level necessary to take the practice to a new high. If you are an RDA or a CDA, have you thought about taking the pit and fissure sealant course to free up the doctor or hygienist on the schedule? Do research and bring the information to the doctor. It will demonstrate your willingness to improve your skills and the practice production. 

Treatment plans need to be entered in the computer from the treatment rooms.  If dental assistants are still writing them on paper and taking them to the front office, this is an outdated system that leads to errors and miscommunications. Dental assistants should be cross trained to enter treatment plans, set up appointments and post a check if necessary to manage patient flow in the treatment rooms. Offer to learn new skills that will benefit the practice, volunteer to work over or through lunch, and offer to take on a project that needs someone in charge such as taking gifts to referral sources in the area.

According to the December 2009 issue of Money magazine, raises will average 2.7% next year - the first time in more than 30 years that average pay hikes have dropped below 3%. If you position yourself as a top performer you may be able to justify more.

Get paid for results. Practices grow with new patients, so get the team motivated to personally bring in new patients. If you can’t get them going, then do it yourself. Suggest a $50.00 off any service campaign for all patients bringing in the doctor’s business card with your name on it. Be in charge of putting together an informal holiday open house and invite patients, friends, peers, businesses etc. to drop by for a warm cup of cider and a cookie. 

Even if they are postponing maintenance visits, stay connected to your patients with a newsletter. Start collecting samples of newsletters that have appeal and determine what messages you want to deliver to your patients. Emphasize total quality of care and service, and that even though times are tough you are still there to take care of them.  When you have launched your newsletter either hard copy or email, ask for feedback from your patients. This is another way to stay connected to the most important reason that you are a dental practice - patient care. Now more than ever it is important to keep your name in front of your patients so that when things improve they will come back to you.

One of the most important things to do at this time is to improve skills in patient communication and business development. Many people, whether employed or unemployed, have identified the necessity to keep learning and developing new skills to stay in demand as an employee.

McKenzie Management’s Advanced Business Training is more than a course in dental business systems. It is a course that is targeted to the concerns of your particular practice, with the goal of improving your production and collection statistics. A recent report from several training client’s revealed improvements made in treatment acceptance, overdue accounts receivable and overdue insurance claims. Most importantly was the expression of improved confidence and professionalism after completing the training.

Keep your job by improving your practice. Sign up today for Advanced Business Training and improve your odds for a prosperous new year.

If you would like more information on McKenzie Management’s Advanced Training Programs  to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com

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