9.7.12 Issue #548 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Jean Gallienne RDH BS
Hygiene Consultant
McKenzie Management
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What Makes You Better Than Other Offices?
By Jean Gallienne, RDH BS

Many offices think they are better than the guy next door - but are they? Is your office really providing better service or better quality of dentistry than the other dental offices in your area? It is always a good time to do a self-evaluation of your own practice. It is best to have the entire team give input and have them provide the information confidentially. This will allow for many different perceptions. If you have a small staff, ask family members to help give input as well, and remind them that it will only be effective if everybody on the team is truly honest.

You may want to start with the physical part of your practice, and then look at the customer service and systems. Take a tour of your practice, and have questions, paper, and pen out to record the individual input. Employees may want to do this at their own time interval instead of as a group. The team can create the list of questions. This may be done by posting a piece of paper in the meeting area with “Self Evaluation Questions” written at the top, so that staff members can write any questions they may think of that will help with the evaluation of the office. Here are just a few to get you started:

  • Is the front desk area cluttered with signs, pamphlets, or stuff?
  • Is the reception area clean?
  • Is the bathroom clean and organized?
  • Are the operatories clean?
  • Sit in the chair and write down anything that is not eye appealing to you.
  • Are the walls, carpet, upholstery, and overall decorating in good appearance?
  • What suggestions do you have to make improvements?


Make sure to set a date that this is to be done by, and make the date a reasonable amount of time. Once this has been done, look at the list and do the cleaning duties as soon as possible, as they do not cost a lot of money. Next, prioritize what needs to be done the soonest and start preparing financially in your budget to make the changes.

The next thing you may want to look at is the new patient exam, and the experience for the new patient all the way from the initial phone call made into your office. Again, everybody should have input. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourselves:

  • Is the phone answered in a professional, friendly, and calm manner?
  • Does the team member sound disrupted or inconvenienced by the phone call?
  • Does the staff member listen to the new patient?
  • Is the phone call interrupted by other happenings in the office?
  • Is the information given to the patient accurate?
  • Is the new patient put on hold?

When the patient asks about insurance, does the team member take control and offer to call the insurance company for the potential new patient to get the information they need? Or do they tell the patient to call the insurance company themselves to see if they have an out-of-network option, in-network, or dmo? This is an example of what the patient wants to know before they come into your office.

I once made a phone call to a medical doctor that I was considering going to and they had an answering machine pick up. The friendly voice requested I leave my name and number and they would get back to me. My immediate perception was: “They don’t have time to take care of me.” I did not go to that doctor. Another medical doctor I was considering going to put me on hold so long that I again perceived: “They are far too busy.” I did not choose that doctor either.

Once when deciding to go to a new veterinarian, I had all my animals’ medical records transferred and called to make an appointment for my dogs to have an annual exam and vaccinations. The team member that answered the phone asked me what vaccinations my three dogs were due for. My first thought was: “You are the professional in this area, not me. I have provided you with all of the information from my past veterinarian; it is now your turn. Pull the chart or look it up in the computer. Don’t ask me.” She finally did look it up, but this almost caused that doctor to have a very upset new patient.

The point is that you may be losing potential new patients to your practice by the way the initial phone call is handled. In my next article we will look at what the patient experiences once they have actually made an appointment and come into your office for their exam.

Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email hygiene@mckenziemgmt.com and ask us about our 1-Day Hygiene Training Program or call 877-777-6151

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