have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no
longer in service …”
Telephone Success Tips
I have a new receptionist
I thought would be great when I hired her. But since then,
I’ve overheard her talking to patients on the phone
a few times and I’m pretty concerned about her tone
and her approach. I think she has potential, but I don’t
want her sending my patients packing in the meantime. What
do I do with this “Ringy Dingy”?
Thanks for your help.
Dear Dr. Concerned,
Talk may be cheap
for some, but I’m afraid it could cost you a fortune.
In more cases than you’d care to count, it’s not
the quality of the dentistry that sends patients down the
street; it’s the way they are treated by the staff -
poor customer service/poor patient service.
is the first point of contact between you and your patients.
You don’t want it to be the last. You said she has potential,
but has she been trained? (We can train her
at the Center
for Dental Career Development.)
operating procedures and scripts to give her direction and
guidance on how to handle the responsibility well. Keep the
following points in mind:
always offer to help the caller. If a patient calls
and wants to speak to the doctor and he/she is not available,
take this approach: “Doctor Thomas is with a patient.
This is Jane, could I help you?” If the patient
insists on speaking to the doctor, politely ask, “Could
I please have your name and number and I’ll see that
Dr. Thomas receives your message.”
with skill and finesse. “May I tell Dr.
Thomas who is calling?” Avoid putting the patient
on the defensive. Eliminate questions such as “Who
is this?” “What’s this regarding?”
Or “Why are you calling?” Such questions
force the patient to justify the call. Rather, take the helpful,
concerned approach. “Mrs. Smith, if you could give
me just a bit of information, I’m sure I can help you.”
The patient must be treated like a welcome guest not an annoying
patient pinball. Rather than bouncing patients around
the office, tell them that you will be happy to check on that
matter and get back to them as soon as possible. Or, better
yet, get the person they need immediately,
4. “I’m sure Sue the business manager can
help you. Can you hold while I get her?”
never, ever use the word “can’t,”
or tell the patient “I don’t know,”
or say, “You’ll have to …”
offer solutions. “Mrs. Smith let me see
what we can do to help. Can you hold for a moment while I
check on that?” And if you make a promise, keep
it. “Mrs. Smith, I will give you a call back before
noon with the information.” Follow through on your
The quality of
your dentistry is measured, at least in part, by the professionalism
of your staff. Cut the line on sloppy phone communication,
otherwise … “You have reached a number that
has been disconnected or is no longer in service …”
the training course I am more confident in my job. I no
longer feel like I am "floating" or "just
winging it". I have a definite daily, weekly &
monthly goal and things to accomplish. I would say that
you are actually saving money by spending the money for
the training. It was an eye opener to see how much money
we have allowed to slip through because of ineffective practices."
- Alex, Office Manager
Available: Staff Management for
for Dental Career Development
VP of Professional Relations
for McKenzie Management
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
Coordinator: Performance Reports
In the September
- December monthly newsletter issues, Sally gave our
readers defined job descriptions for business "front
desk" job descriptions. Many of you emailed and
asked me to give you a list of reports from your practice
management software that would enable your employee
to measure their performance. This week, we will focus
on the Scheduling Coordinator position.
Track the progress of a team member’s impact on
their department within your dental practice.
1. New patients vs. overdue patients for the last full
by ADA code for code 00150=new patients
b. A count of the patients on an overdue recall report
for the last calendar quarter=overdue patients.
c. Compare the two numbers
d. Compare the two numbers this month to the two numbers
from the prior two months
e. Track the numbers on a month by month spreadsheet
f. Review re-activation plan of unscheduled hygiene
plan report – All unscheduled treatment.
last report to this report
b. Compare total dollars unscheduled
c. Compare total dollars accepted but not scheduled
d. Compare “missed appointment production”
(available on some practice management software)
e. Clean up old treatment plan items
file report – All appointments in tickler file
total dollars from month to month
b. Measure hygiene vs. restorative dollars
Forecast Report – for next calendar month
out into the future
b. Determine “slow” periods
c. Define a plan of corrective action if necessary
d. Use the overdue recalls, tickler file, and treatment
plan report to implement corrective action
conversion rate – last calendar quarter
by ADA code for all 00130’s
b. Production by ADA code for patients that have both
00130’s and 00150’s.
c. Divide the total number of 00150’s BY the
total number of 00130’s. You will get a decimal
d. Enter that percentage into a column in Excel and
track it every month.
these reports should take maybe 5 minutes. Doing the
calculations might take another 5 minutes. Presenting
the results to the team might take another 15 minutes.
week: Financial Coordinator Reports
Doctors Reveal the Top Practice Issues of 2002
Stifling Practice Growth and Profitability
Issues- Turnover resulting in recruitment of "good"
employees as well as internal conflicts and lack of training.
Scheduling-#1 issue was BUSYNESS! Practices
are feeling the effects of the shortage of dentists since 1995.
Schedules booked out far in advance. Concerns over time and motion
Cash Flow/ Overhead-Payroll expense continues
to escalate beyond the 22% limit. Accounts Receivable over 90
days rises above the 15% range.
Hygiene-Perio therapy treatment still below
33%. Openings in schedule.
your practice operating at optimal performance?
Find out Here
by Sally McKenzie, CMC
Your Patient Retention
How many recall patients didn't return to your office in the past
year? You simply can't afford not to make EFFECTIVE follow up calls!
Get recall patients to schedule,
Turn around those patients who cancel,
Overcome patient objections with field-tested techniques,
Develop an effective presentation script,
overall communication skill.
I moved my chairside assistant to the front desk to be our financial
coordinator after firing the previous one.
I didn't know how to train her and she was quickly becoming
overwhelmed. Knowing that this could no longer go on I decided to
send her to The
Center for Dental Career Development. Sally McKenzie and her
team showed my financial coordinator how to not only do every aspect
of her job but also coordinate her management
duties with the Dentrix Dental System™. I now have
security in knowing that my financial systems are functioning to
the best of their ability and the process even uncovered $110,000
in lost revenues! Bottomline…I made
money on my decision!"
· Patient Coordinators
· Scheduling Coordinators
· Treatment Coordinators
Center for Dental Career Development is compatible with the following
computer management systems: Dentrix™, Softdent™,
Your Skills NOW!
Center for Dental Career Development
Advanced Business Education for Dental
737 Pearl St. Ste. 201
La Jolla, CA 92037
Missed any past
issues of Sally's
(click an item to view archive)
This issue is sponsored
in part by:
Center for Dental Career Development