11.24.17 Issue #820 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Boost Patient Appreciation and Grow Your Practice
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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The more patients appreciate what you do, the better off your practice will be. When patients understand the value of the services you provide, they’ll be more likely to show up for their appointments, accept the treatment you recommend and refer your office to family and friends.

For that to happen, you must take the time to educate patients – not only about the importance of maintaining their oral health, but how your practice can help them reach their goals. This means making sure they are aware of the many services you offer, whether it’s implant dentistry, veneers or Invisalign.

If you don’t let patients know these options are available, they might assume they’re beyond the scope of your practice, prompting them to call another office when they’re finally ready to improve their smile. That, of course, costs you money and keeps your practice from meeting its full potential. The good news is this is avoidable. Help patients understand what you do, and both your case acceptance numbers and practice revenues will get a boost. Here’s how: 

Don’t Assume They’ll Ask You
While it would make life easier if patients just told you what services they’re interested in, it doesn’t usually happen that way. Patients tend to be nervous when they’re in the chair, and might be too shy to ask about cosmetic services without any prompting from you or a team member.

Instead of waiting for them to bring up their interest in clear aligners or whitening, ask patients about their oral health goals and what changes they’d like to see in their smile. Answer their questions, address any concerns they have and educate them about the services you offer that can help them achieve a brighter, healthier smile.

Invest in Marketing
Most dentists hate the idea of marketing and would prefer to avoid it if possible. They think it’s a waste of time and money, but that’s only true if it isn’t done right. One-time campaigns, for example, aren’t going to do you much good. Let’s say you offer a free whitening coupon to first-time patients. Sure, you’ll probably get quite a few patients who take advantage of this deal. The problem is, you’ll never see most of them again. That’s why I suggest you invest in continual, targeted marketing efforts that include consistent branding and messaging to attract new patients who eventually become loyal patients.

How can you get started? Commit a certain amount of your budget to marketing. Develop a clear plan, seek outside help if necessary, and be sure to get your team members involved.

Use a Variety of Marketing Tools
It’s important not to rely solely on one marketing method. Instead, use different tools to promote your services. Here are a few examples of ways to market your practice, both internally and externally:

Put up signs in your reception area that promote the services you offer.

Place educational brochures at the front desk that patients can pick up and read as they wait for their appointment.

Email patients a monthly newsletter that features educational articles and details on practice promotions.

Use on-hold messaging to educate patients about the various services your practice provides. 

Train team members to use every patient interaction as an opportunity to educate.

Focus on providing high-quality customer service throughout the patient visit. 

Educate your patients chairside. That includes answering their questions, having them watch educational videos, and showing them what’s going on in their mouths via intraoral cameras and radiographs.

Mail educational materials. Consider including flyers with patient statements or other communications from the practice.

Create a website that features information about you, your team members and the various services you offer. Make sure the website is easy to navigate. Include testimonials, before and after photos of successful cases you’ve completed, and contact information.

Develop Connections
Making marketing and patient education a priority in your practice will go a long way in establishing strong patient relationships. Keep in mind it’s also important to show patients you care about their wellbeing, and you’re not just trying to sell them on dentistry when you recommended treatment.

Show an interest in their families and jobs, and encourage your team members to do the same. Call patients the day after a procedure to see how they’re doing. Remember an important event they mentioned, such as a wedding or a reunion, and ask them how it went. Start building a rapport, and you’ll be rewarded with loyal patients who accept treatment.

The more educated your patients are and the more connected they feel to your practice, the more likely they are to say yes to treatment. Investing in marketing helps you achieve both. When patients understand what you do and how important it is to maintain their oral health, they’ll appreciate you and your team members. They’ll feel comfortable entrusting you with their care, and even recommending your practice to family and friends. 

Still seem a little overwhelming? If the thought of increasing your marketing efforts sets you into panic mode, don’t worry. I’m here to help. Give me a call or send me an email and we’ll get started.

You can take my free Marketing Assessment HERE.

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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Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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How Job Descriptions Can Improve Practice Efficiencies
By Nancy Caudill, Senior Consultant

Dentist Case Study #414

The Doctor’s Concerns
When he came to us, this doctor felt like his practice was out of control. Tasks kept falling through the cracks, yet no one wanted to admit responsibility. He couldn’t hold any of his team members accountable for their performance, and no one seemed to know who was supposed to do what. All this confusion was not only leading to conflict among his team members, it was also hurting practice productivity and killing his bottom line.

After talking with the doctor, the problem became clear: He had never taken the time to develop job descriptions for his team members, leaving them feeling lost. They truly had no idea who was responsible for which tasks, or what the doctor’s expectations were. This lack of direction left the practice unorganized and chaotic, making it difficult for the team to meet daily production goals.

In his frustration, the doctor would hold team meetings to determine why there were errors in the schedule, or why certain tasks weren’t getting done. But because team members didn’t know which systems they were actually responsible for, those meetings got him nowhere. Nothing changed, and he continued to feel like his practice was out of control. 

The Solution
So how did we help this doctor? We told him to sit down with his team members to develop detailed job descriptions. He was resistant at first (like most dentists, he thought job descriptions were nothing but a waste of time) but knew something needed to change. He matched his current team members with jobs that fit their temperament and skillset, and made sure his expectations were clear. Now, his once chaotic practice is much more efficient, with team members who are confident in their skills and who know exactly what’s expected of them each day.

Many dentists struggle to create job descriptions, and that’s where McKenzie Management can help. In this case, the doctor received input from his team members to craft effective job descriptions, while we also provided guidance along the way. What we came up with has served to improve practice efficiencies and ultimately his practice’s bottom line. Here’s a quick overview of the job descriptions we developed:

Scheduling Coordinator
The Scheduling Coordinator manages the schedule, and is the only one who should book appointment times. This team member must be trained to schedule you (and all producers) to meet production goals, not just to stay busy. It’s this team member’s responsibility to follow-up with patients who have unscheduled treatment. In some cases, like in our doctor’s practice, the Scheduling Coordinator also checks every patient out, and is responsible for posting their charges and payments as well as scheduling their next appointment.

Treatment Coordinator
After you talk with your patients chairside, the Treatment Coordinator then spends time answering questions and educating them about recommended treatment and the potential consequences of not going forward with that treatment. He or she presents cases for all producers in the practice in a quiet, relaxed environment, and then follows-up two days later to address any lingering concerns and ultimately get these patients on the schedule.

Financial Coordinator
The tasks on this team member’s to-do list should include:
- Generate claims each day
- Verify patient insurance eligibility
- Confirm all patient insurance information is correct
- Manage outstanding insurance claims, outstanding account balances and weekly statements

Hygiene Coordinator
This team member is responsible for growing the practice through the hygiene department, and is charged with “dialing for dollars.” Each month, the coordinator should perform a five-step follow-up process to keep the schedule full. He or she must be trained to schedule the hygienist to produce three times his or her hygiene salary or 1/3 of the total practice production goal.

Hygienists and Assistants
These clinical team members perform specific duties associated with their training.

The Outcome
Once job descriptions were put in place and shared with the entire team, there was no longer any doubt about who was responsible for which tasks. If the doctor suddenly has a problem with procedures being booked incorrectly, for example, he knows he must talk with his Scheduling Coordinator about the issue and possibly provide additional training.

There is no more confusion, and employees now have a much better idea of how their contributions help move the practice forward. Team members are more efficient and much happier, and it shows in the way they interact with each other and with patients. Productivity and revenues have gone up, all because this doctor took the time to give his team members the direction they craved, enabling them to finally feel comfortable in their roles.

Need more help crafting the perfect job descriptions? Contact McKenzie Management and we’ll get you started.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you implement proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com

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