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Sally McKenzie's

Weekly Management e-Motivator


Issue #41

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e-motivator Article.

December 06 , 2002

Sally McKenzie,CMC
McKenzie Management

1-877-777-6151 Ext. 11

Strrrrrike Three You’re OUT (of money that is)

One look at your payroll and you’d think you were financing a team of major league ball players. And at least one of them is spending too much time warming the bench. You manage to eek out a meager percentage for yourself, but installments into your retirement account have virtually evaporated and forget plans for spring training. Payroll, last time you forced yourself to check, was at 29%, not counting taxes and benefits – well above the 20-22% benchmark. At this rate, you’re about to be thrown out of the game. It’s time to walk the bases and see who’s on first and what’s on second.

Strrike One, when Mary, your business manager, said the office needed more help to tie up loose ends, you had nary so much as a question about training and better utilization of existing staff.

Strrrrike Two, Wanda, who has been with you for years, has “topped out” on the salary scale. Nonetheless, you continue to reward her longevity, not her performance. And as much sick time as she takes, her name is a permanent fixture on the team’s injured list.

Strrrrrrrike Three, your hygienist is paid 40% of her production. OUCH! She’s practically a free agent.

Sally’s Recommended Actions
  • New hires brought in to tie up loose ends usually unravel your budget all the faster. However, if you bring in a patient coordinator who will increase practice revenue by making sure appointments aren’t lost, any negative financial impact should only last for about 60 days. Beyond that, production should increase, and the wage percentage return to the 19%-22% range.
  • When employees “top out,” they do not continue to receive pay increases beyond cost of living. Base raises on performance. Explain your performance expectations to staff and what standards you will base salary increases upon. For example: the treatment coordinator is to secure case acceptance at a certain level. (See Performance Measurements in Side Bar)
  • If the hygienist receives a guaranteed salary regardless of their production, the expectation must be that they produce three times their salary. Schedule hygienists to meet that expectation. Hygiene salaries should not exceed 33% of hygiene production, not including doctor exam fees.

Lastly, when profits go down salaries don’t go up.

Technology Tool Box

Mark Dilatush
VP of Professional Relations

for McKenzie Management


1-877-777-6151 Ext. 28

A series of short weekly chores designed to keep the return on investment in technology at its highest level.

If you missed any of the previous issues CLICK HERE.

Patient Recognition - Complete Contact - Complete Service

Every week we will publish one of the top ten. Unlike the “Tonight Show”, these are not in any particular order. These are compiled from watching 20 years of mistakes and helping to fix those mistakes. We would rather our clients just avoid the mistakes!
We receive at least 50 phone calls per day. We also personally greet another 25 patients per day who visit our office. We have a team of 5 staff in our dental office. Some of our team have been with us for years but others are relatively new. How can we use our computer system to "personalize" every patient visit and maximize our level of service to the patients?
What NOT to do:
Do not ignore the importance of being recognized and greeted by name. It is your chance to make a positive first impression with every patient visit.

Do not underestimate the importance of patient perception in the level of service delivered by your team. In this case, perception truly is reality.

What TO do:
Review the telephone greeting procedure with your business staff. Within the first 8 seconds of your telephone greeting, you should learn the patient's first and last name. As soon as you hear their name, it should trigger you to "Find" (bring up a patient list window) the patient on the phone.

If you have a patient driven practice management system, you should be able to suspend (stop) what you are doing (no matter what you're doing) and instantly bring up your list of patients.

Look at their record and confirm their street address: "Mrs. Smith, are you still at 376 Elm Street in Shelbyville."?

A quick glance at their balance, their next scheduled appointment, and any outstanding treatment plan should be done. Immediately after that, go to the patient contact area to review a list of notes from team conversations.
This whole process should take no longer than 4 seconds. You are now totally prepared to service this patient.

Same process holds true for personally greeting a patient. Your practice management system should support patient pictures (Portraits). Confirm by sight (with the patient picture in the computer) and greet every patient by name. For instance: "Hello, Mrs. Smith, how are you today? You are right on time"! Now mind you, the personalization isn't over. After greeting the patient by name, review Mrs. Smith's balance. Review why she came in today (work to be performed), any family members who are overdue for their recall, the age of any outstanding treatment plan, the last time you updated her insurance information (if she has insurance), and any notes from previous conversations with team members. This process should only take 5 to 6 seconds and two mouse clicks. Ask the patient any pertinent questions.that require immediate attention and certainly ask any question that help make the checkout process as smooth as possible (update medical history, updated insurance information, street address, guarantor relationship, etc)


Your patients can tell when you are prepared or unprepared. Think back to your last hotel stay. Did they actually get your room preference correct? Or, did they let you know you had a message and a box waiting for you the second your record appeared on their computer screen? How did you feel about that experience? Pretty special right?

Practice the sequence of steps at your next staff meeting. If you do not know the steps, get trained and learn them. Adapt the steps into your normal business operations.

Your patients will reward exceptional service.


You have 12 work days to reach your year end GOALS . . .

•Will your production exceed   last year minus fee   increases?
•Will your patient retention   increase to add days of   hygiene?
•Will you take home more   money?

The TOP 4 concerns of 2002
•Staffing •Scheduling
•Hygiene •Cash Flow

Will you make it?
Take this test to find out!


What if ...
Your business staff had the training, efficiency, knowledge, expertise and organization of the
Nation's TOP Dental Management consultants?

"I have some GREAT employees and know they could be even better with the proper training, but that's not my area of expertise. HELP!"

How do I know if my staff needs Advanced Business Training?
Find out by clicking here!

The Center for Dental Career Development
Advanced Business Education for Dental Professionals


Looking for an
Easy, Quick, Painless
way for you and your employees to know when a raise is in order?

Performance Measurements for the Dental Team
Book and Audio Tapes
Special Rate for this week's newsletter subscribers-$77!!!

Order before 12/13 and receive as an added bonus…
Sally McKenzie's Most Popular Lecture on DVD
Breakdown: The Hidden Signals of Practice Erosion

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This issue is sponsored in part by:




Secure Data Express™ (SDX™)



McKenzie Management






The Center for Dental Career Development



Lares Research








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