Sally McKenzie's Monday Morning Management Memorandum #7

Print this Memorandum, distribute to your team, discuss at your morning meetings!


April 15, 2002


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Now on to toady's Management Tips from Sally McKenzie!


This issue is sponsored in part by:

McKenzie Management and Associates -

A full service, in-office dental management consulting company specializing
in the business, clinical,and hygiene areas of practices nationwide.You can
find McKenzie Management at


More than 30,000 healthcare practices nationwide use CareCredit as an alternative means of helping
their patients finance treatment. You can find CareCredit at

Burbank Dental Lab:

is a full service lab providing fixed restorations that combine science,
precision and artistry. Call David French at (800) 336-3053 or visit their web site at

Lares Research:

Lares Research assures the successful integration of its PocketPro Laser and Laser
SoftCare™ into your practice through the industry's most complete clinical training
and support system. To learn more, visit us at or
call and schedule an educational presentation by calling 800-347-3289, ext 1.


Finances, via lease or loan, dental and office equipment, leasehold improvements, working
capital and supply contracts at fixed competitive rates, with no points, variables or hidden fees.
HPSC also offers a variety of financing programs to dental professionals seeking to set up,
expand, buy into, or acquire a practice.


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Managing the Complainers


Mrs. Jones just pulled you aside and let you know in no uncertain terms that she was
none too pleased with the way your finance coordinator handled her account the
last time she had some major work done.

In fact, she goes on to tell you, she considered taking her business elsewhere. Now
you're standing there, tail firmly planted between your legs, and you're not sure if you
would rather rough up the employee who set Mrs. Jones off or simply kill the
messenger. Choose to do neither.

Rather, Sally McKenzie, founder of, says the
best way to look at the complaint is to consider it a compliment and handle it.
The complainers are concerned enough to clue you into a problem that may
have sent 10 or more other patients packing already.

Even thought it's not easy, intellectually, you know you are supposed to stay
calm and not react negatively. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind when
managing an unhappy patient:

  • You or someone in the practice should listen fully to the grievance.
  • Take the complaint seriously. DO NOT blow it off with the attitude of "Oh,
    that's just Mrs. Jones."
  • Handle the complaint in a professional and timely manner.
  • Inform the patient as to how the issue is being handled and let them
    know about the outcome.

Do more than just manage complaints as they arise. Ask for feedback regularly
from your patients. They feel valued and you will receive insights into any number
of relatively minor adjustments your practice can make to further improve the
experience for your patients. Anticipate potential problem areas.

Ask yourself if the practice is truly patient friendly. Are the staff welcoming and
helpful? Are patients treated the way you would want to be? If not, take steps to
address the problems.




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