7.22.16 Issue #750 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

6 Ways to Reenergize Your Practice
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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There’s no way around it. You’re tired. Some might even say you’re burnt out. You’ve been practicing dentistry for years and the challenges that come with the job, from staff turnover to low case acceptance to a lack of new patients, have simply worn you out.

This happens to many dentists after they’ve been practicing for 15 to 20 years. Problems in practice systems keep piling on, overwhelming dentists who just want to focus on treating patients. But the demand for treatment is way down, and typical practice feeders such as patient promotions, hygiene visits and good old fashioned case acceptance are in severe trouble.

Yes, this is all exhausting, but I’m here to help you refocus yourself and your team members and reenergize your practice. Here are six tips designed to get you over your burnout and poised for success.

1. Take responsibility. Remember, you’re the practice CEO and must provide your team members with guidance through detailed job descriptions and continual feedback. Lack of leadership from you will only breed apathy among your team members. If you don’t care for your practice, it starts to run on autopilot. When it remains there, your practice will not only struggle, it might even fail.

2. Look at key treatment generators. For example, let’s say you just began a new patient promotion. For this promotion to succeed, your team members must be trained to represent you and the practice effectively on the phone. Team members who aren’t properly trained will unknowingly sabotage your efforts, meaning you won’t see the results you’re after – wasting both your time and your money.

Make sure team members know about the promotion and how to properly talk with potential new patients about it when they call. No matter why new or existing patients are calling, team members should never make them feel like a nuisance or let the fact that they’re irritated by the disruption come through over the phone. Patients will notice and opt not to schedule, hurting your production numbers.

3. Examine hygiene production. Hygienists should produce three times their salary. Not happening in your practice? That could be because your Scheduling Coordinator simply hasn’t been trained to schedule the hygienist that way, or because your practice has a problem with broken appointments. Either way, the issue needs to be addressed. Provide your Scheduling Coordinator with the necessary training and make sure all hygiene appointments are confirmed two days in advance.

When scheduling appointments, ask patients how they prefer to confirm those appointments, whether it’s via text, email or phone call, then make sure that’s how the patient is contacted. And remember, an appointment isn’t confirmed until you actually get a response from the patient.

4. Educate patients about the value of hygiene visits. When patients don’t understand the importance of routine dental care, they’re more likely to cancel appointments at the last second or just not show up at all. That’s where patient education comes in. Explain the link between oral and systemic health. Educate them about periodontal disease and oral cancer. Show patients the importance of keeping their appointments and the value of the services your practice provides. This will go a long way in ensuring they not only schedule appointments, but they also keep them.

5. Give patients a hygiene report summary. Before patients leave, make sure they receive a summary of the treatment completed during their appointment, as well as any free products they’re leaving with and recommendations on areas to pay special attention to in-between visits. This will help patients understand exactly what goes into every dental appointment, making them less likely to flake when it’s time for their next visit.

6. Evaluate your practice’s attitude toward case acceptance. Many dentists don’t realize this, but often they’re the ones keeping patients from going forward with treatment. Ask yourself these questions to determine if that’s happening in your practice:

Do you or your team members undermine practice production by assuming patients won’t consider ideal treatment options?
Do you suggest treatment isn’t urgent, so patients think they can put it off?
Do team members imply fees are too high?
Are you comfortable presenting treatment, or would a trained Treatment Coordinator have more success?  

As a dentist, you have a lot to deal with and think about every day. It’s easy to become burnt out, especially if your practice is struggling. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to contact me. I can help you examine your production feeders and determine what you need to do to get your practice back on the road to true success and profitability.

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
Interested in having McKenzie Management Seminars speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
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