2.18.11 Issue #467 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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When the Going Gets Tough the Tough Get Going
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

While attending a recent dental conference, I heard people in small groups talking about the recession, the national debt, the health insurance mess and other negative verbal exchange. Statistics say that dental offices are down in production an average of 10-30% across the country. The percentages are demographically driven, as some communities have not been affected as badly as others. Many doctors are concerned, and rightly so. What are we supposed to do with this information?

Buying into negativity can immobilize and foster a defeatist attitude. We can look around and say that we cannot do anything about it, or we can create a positive energy and work on improving office systems that will attract patients. People are saving more, reducing credit card debt and shopping for good deals - but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t seeing a dentist. What they are doing is seeing the dentists who do something to attract them and work on keeping them in the practice.

Contrary to what is happening in many offices, I learned from other practices that had been through our training programs that most have maintained or increased production, and one office was having a banner year and the best January ever. Taking notes from these different offices, I have created the following bullet points to consider when there are openings on the doctor’s schedule and the hygiene schedule has fallen apart. Instead of clocking out, going online or shutting down the office for the day, consider doing some of the following to create improved morale and better systems:

  • Update the website and offer more pages of information. When we are busy, the website is often overlooked and it is a key way that patients check out our practices.
  • Get testimonials and photos of happy patients for the website and ask them to refer patients.
  • Add video clips to your website of services or practice philosophy.
  • Evaluate your marketing system - what is working, what is not?
  • Consider getting a current demographics analysis as many neighborhoods have changed in the last few years. Many of your patients may have moved away and the new residents don’t know you are available to see new patients.
  • Consider a service that confirms appointments and markets your practice online to free you up to spend more time with your patients.
  • Collect email addresses from your patients.
  • Make sure you are linked to the professional organizations that you belong to on your website page.
  • Check with your website designer to see that you have SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
  • Conduct performance appraisals and do training if needed.
  • Arrange for CPR, OSHA and HIPAA updates.
  • Have a patient reactivation party. Make some coffee, get out the chocolate and have the staff members (that are qualified) call patients that have not been in for recall or unscheduled treatment. Invite them back and offer a financial incentive.
  • Have an office open house and invite patients and neighborhood professionals.
  • Take a practice management course together with your team.
  • Do a patient satisfaction survey and analyze the results at a staff meeting.
  • Participate in a “walk-run” for a charitable cause as a group and have matching tee shirts made for the day. Get some media coverage of the event.
  • Answer the phone during lunch hour or stagger lunch breaks to cover the phone.
  • Have a spontaneous staff meeting to brainstorm how to get patients to come in for care.
  • Think about adding more services or products to your practice and determine how you will let people know that they are available.

When you immerse yourself into a creative process and reach out to your patients and the community, it has a positive effect. People start calling you for information and making appointments, and soon you are busy doing what you do best - dentistry.

Need help, call us at McKenzie Management. We have been helping dental practices improve since the 1980’s.

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

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