If you are not able to read this HTML message, click here to view in a browser.

Sally McKenzie's

Weekly Management e-Motivator


Issue #53

Click here to print this
e-motivator Article.

February 27, 2003

Sally McKenzie,CMC
McKenzie Management

1-877-777-6151 Ext. 11

“You have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service …”
Telephone Success Tips

Hi Sally,

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.
Dr Concerned

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.

Your receptionist 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.)

Develop standard operating procedures and scripts to give her direction and guidance on how to handle the responsibility well. Keep the following points in mind:

1. Always, 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.

2. Screen 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 interruption.

3. Avoid 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?

5. Never, never, ever use the word “can’t, or tell the patient “I don’t know,” or say, “You’ll have to …

6. Always 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 pledge.

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 …

"After 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

Now Available: Staff Management for Dentists

The Center for Dental Career Development

For current information

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.

Scheduling 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.

Purpose: 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 calendar quarter.

a. Production 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 in Excel
f. Review re-activation plan of unscheduled hygiene patients

2. Treatment plan report – All unscheduled treatment.

a. Compare 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

3. Tickler file report – All appointments in tickler file

a. Compare total dollars from month to month
b. Measure hygiene vs. restorative dollars

4. Production Forecast Report – for next calendar month

a. Look 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

5. Emergency conversion rate – last calendar quarter

a. Production 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 (or percentage)
d. Enter that percentage into a column in Excel and track it every month.

Running 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.

Next week: Financial Coordinator Reports

Doctors Reveal the Top Practice Issues of 2002
Stifling Practice Growth and Profitability !!!

  1. Staffing Issues- Turnover resulting in recruitment of "good" employees as well as internal conflicts and lack of training.
  2. 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 ineffeciencies.
  3. Cash Flow/ Overhead-Payroll expense continues to escalate beyond the 22% limit. Accounts Receivable over 90 days rises above the 15% range.
  4. Hygiene-Perio therapy treatment still below 33%. Openings in schedule.

Is your practice operating at optimal performance?

Find out Here

Telephone Effectiveness
by Sally McKenzie, CMC

Improve 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!

Learn how to:

  • Get recall patients to schedule,
  • Turn around those patients who cancel,
  • Overcome patient objections with field-tested techniques,
  • Develop an effective presentation script,
  • Strengthen overall communication skill.


"Recently 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!"

Advanced Business Training

· Dentists
· Business Administrators
· Financial Coordinators
· Patient Coordinators
· Scheduling Coordinators
· Treatment Coordinators

The Center for Dental Career Development is compatible with the following computer management systems: Dentrix™, Softdent, EagleSoft, PracticeWorks, Easy Dental, Discus Dental.

Test Your Skills NOW!

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

737 Pearl St. Ste. 201
La Jolla, CA 92037


Missed any past issues of Sally's
Weekly or Monthly Newsletters
or Magazine Articles?
(click an item to view archive)



This issue is sponsored in part by:



McKenzie Management




The Center for Dental Career Development


Lares Research


For more information, email info@mckenziemgmt.com
or call 1-877-777-6151

McKenzie Management Newsletter Information:
To unsubscribe: To discontinue receiving the Sally McKenzie eNewsletter,
click on the link at the very bottom of this page for instant removal,
or simply click Reply to this email with the word "Remove" as the only word in the subject line.
To report technical problems with this newsletter or to request technical help,
please send a descriptive email to: webmaster@mckenziemgmt.com
To request services, products or general inquires about McKenzie Management activities
please send a descriptive email to: info@mckenziemgmt.com
If you would like to have any of your dental practice concerns answered personally by Sally McKenzie,
please send a descriptive email to her at: sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com.
Copyrights 2002 McKenzie Management - All Rights Reserved.