Coach’s Corner | Gratitude – Look at us now

In November, I typically write something about gratitude, and this post is extra special. This is my first pandemic gratitude post. Hang with me for a moment. I think it took 2020 to teach us what we value as most important in our lives.  Yes, we had to deal with all the changes that Covid 19 placed on us and look at us now. There is a lot to be thankful for. 

We learned how to juggle family obligations like never before and look at us now. There is a lot to be thankful for.

We learned to handle changes in our offices like never before and look at us now. There is a lot to be thankful for.

We understand the stress our patients have felt and maybe some financial stress like never before and look at us now. There is a lot to be thankful for.

We know our health is important and something we should not take for granted anymore. Maybe we have learned to prioritize our healthy eating habits and work out routines and look at us now. There is a lot to be thankful for.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and get the opportunity to spend it with those you hold closest to you.

Dental Office Consultant | Get Organized, Get Productive

Time is money. If you want your practice to be as efficient and economically prosperous as possible, you don’t want to spend valuable time dealing with the effects of clutter and chaos. Disorganization is shown to have a direct negative impact on productivity and, by extension, your earning potential as a practice.

Whether you feel like you’re drowning in papers or you want to learn tips to take your efficiency to the next level, here are some tips to help you and your team get organized. Contact our team today at Victory Dental Management to learn more about the strategies we can help you implement to ensure you’re getting the most out of your practice.

Clean Up the Clutter

When you have so many different things demanding your attention throughout the day, it can be difficult to keep on top of everything. If you’re not careful, papers and other clutter can accumulate faster than you realize. Once the pile starts to get away from you, it can be hard to ever work your way back through without having to set aside valuable time to sort through everything.

It’s easier to avoid getting yourself into this mess in the first place once you have organizational strategies in place. You might create a unique filing system for handling the various kinds of mail that comes through your office. Perhaps you set specific team members in charge of returning calls. The best system of organization is the one that works for you and your team.

Don’t Let Your Time Manage You

It can be difficult to prioritize the different duties of your work. It’s rare that even an hour will go by without a variety of different distractions. While you’ll have the occasional emergency that demands immediate response, most of these interruptions will not need to be addressed right away.

Resist the urge to drop everything every time a new email or task arises. Operating this way will only make it harder to actually accomplish any of your duties on time. Instead, learn to prioritize which things need to be addressed immediately and which can be done later. Delegate what can be passed to another and clarify deadlines for things that must be completed by you to allow accurate prioritization of tasks.

The day-to-day efficiency of your business can impact its long-term success. Don’t waste your time digging through clutter because you’re working without a plan. For more strategies for your success, contact Victory Dental Management.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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Consultant Near Me | Things to Consider Before Buying New Dental Equipment

No matter how well-equipped your office is initially, time, wear, and changes in technology will at some point require you to purchase additional or replacement equipment. There are a few points you may wish to keep in mind before making your final decision on a major equipment purchase for your practice.

First, take your time. Like with any other major purchase, rushing into a decision can be costly. Instead, spend several weeks in preparation for this choice. Meet with your Dental CPA about any tax implications and ask if there is an optimal time to make such a purchase. Consider carefully the following factors to be sure you are choosing the right piece of equipment for your needs:

  • What is the main purpose of this equipment?
  • What features do you want/need it to have?
  • Are you and your team going to need extensive training to use it?
  • How often is this equipment going to be used?
  • Will it fit the space available?
  • Will you have to make changes to the space to use this equipment (ie, wiring, utility connections, etc)?
  • Is the manufacturer reliable?
  • Does the manufacturer provide good service for their equipment?
  • How long should this equipment last?
  • What is the expected benefit of this upgrade?
  • When do you plan to have it installed and in use?
  • If this equipment is to allow new services, is there a demand for those services in your practice/community?
  • Will your pricing for your services offset the investment cost and still be competitive in your market?
  • If the equipment you are buying is used, have you obtained an independent opinion on its condition?
  • How does the cost compare to other models? Other manufacturers?
  • Can you purchase directly from the manufacturer to save on cost?
  • Have you compared pricing from a variety of sources online?

While not all of these may apply to your equipment purchase in every circumstance, it should be clear that major dental office equipment should never be bought on impulse or without thorough consideration and research. Recommendations from other dentists or your dental CPA can also be helpful in narrowing your search.

Your dental equipment plays a vital role in the quality of care you are able to provide to your patients. When it is time to add or replace a piece of that equipment, make sure you take plenty of time to research, refine, and select the right piece for your practice. This will help you be certain that your investment will bring value to your practice for years to come.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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Dental Business Consultant | Why Your Practice Needs Effective Team Meetings

Regular effective team meetings can play a crucial role in the health of your dental practice. That one simple-sounding factor can impact every aspect of your business. Your people, your patients, and your practice all benefit from regular effective team meetings.

Your people need team meetings. The core of your practice is your vision, your goals, and your strategy for achieving your goals. Each member of your team needs to understand all of these things and, just as importantly, needs to understand their part in your plan. Without that understanding, your team is working blindly and is unable to actively contribute toward reaching your goals for your business.

A team meeting is an ideal format for open discussion about your vision, goals, and strategy. Not only can you use this discussion to ensure every member is clear on your expectations, but you may find that their unique perspective creates an exchange of ideas on more effective ways to reach your goals and how each person can best contribute.

While not every team meeting needs to include high-level discussion of vision, goals, and strategy, it is a good idea to include this at least once or twice a year and when bringing a new employee into the team. Additionally, many successful dentists find that it is highly useful to touch on how the strategies are being implemented and to discuss any measurable progress toward goals on at least a monthly basis. This helps to keep your team engaged and motivated toward achievement.

Your patients need team meetings. One of the most common components of an effective team meeting is education. Your team needs to know what the policies are, what is on the agenda for the day, if there are any specials being offered, if anyone is sick or on vacation. Any new ideas, training, or techniques that can be shared should be. Your patients need to know they will be given correct and consistent information from any member of your team. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Your practice needs team meetings. Teach your team how to ask patients for referrals. Word of mouth can have a huge impact on your new customer base. Even happy, satisfied patients rarely refer anyone unless asked to do so, according to a recent study.  Your team members should be engaging your patients in every interaction to ensure a positive experience and should be able to ask for referrals when patients are pleased.

Only you can review your practice, your time, and your schedules to determine when and how frequently you should hold team meetings. Whether you meet daily, weekly, or on some other timeline, make your meetings regular and effective. You will see benefits to your team, your patient experience, and your practice.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Coach’s Corner | Dysfunction in dental teams and the road to redemption

I have seen some very dysfunctional teams – not only in a dental practice, but in other industries, and sports as well. The reasoning is different depending on the environment, but one thing is consistent. At least one person feels they need to be heard, or their opinion should mean more than anyone else’s. 

Think about that for a moment. One employee, not a team member by my definition, feels like their opinion of themselves rises to a higher level than the rest of the team.  This sense of entitlement is very detrimental to any dentist or office manager that is trying to create a true team in your practice. 

This situation will continue to raise its ugly head if corrective measures are not taken.  Case in point, I have a client that went through this a few years ago. Her dental assistant would always tell everyone that she was a team player. However, talk is cheap. When someone asked if she could help with a task, she would reply “that is not my job”. When the doctor wanted to have a team meeting on a day the office is closed, she replied “I can’t come in on my day off – I work enough during the week.” When the doctor told her, she was a member of the team and needed to be there she replied, “I am tired, I do too much already.” I can continue with more examples, but you know where I am headed with this. In fact, while reading this, you might have a picture of someone in your head that reminds you of a past or current coworker. 

All the previous examples are indicative of a bad attitude. I define attitude differently than most people – I believe attitude is based on emotion and environment. I also believe attitudes can change if an individual will allow for growth and change. This client of mine saw so much potential in her assistant that she asked me to work with her one on one. I will make a long story short for our purpose. It took some time to dig down and really find out why she so closely held to her entitlement attitude. 

Apparently, she had gone through a very rough divorce and had previously worked for an abusive employer. By abusive I mean an associate dentist used to throw instruments at her and would yell at her on a regular basis. She was equating her past with the requests that her current employer was asking of her. She had placed a wall around her to protect her and if it wasn’t for the doctor who saw so much potential, she would have been fired. We worked on numerous things for the next few months and she understood how her current employer and team members really wanted to break down her barrier and become a close knit, better performing team. She didn’t realize at the time she was the one blocking that advancement for the entire team! 

I will not use her name for obvious reasons but she worked really hard to improve her attitude and I am happy to share that she is doing very well and the rest of the team is performing better each year. 

Why do I share this with you? Well, this situation is not unique. Many times, there is one employee that gives lip service to being a team member, but their words do not match their actions. I believe the best in people and most want to learn and grow. If you can identify with this situation and you or your team member needs help, please let me know. Until next time, I will see you at the next Coach’s Corner.

Dental Business Coach | How to Ensure a 5-Star New Patient Visit

It’s often said that first impressions can make or break a new relationship. For dental offices, this is no different. The appearance and comfort of your office can determine whether your new patient will return. Follow these tips to ensure your patients are experiencing a 5-star visit that will keep them returning to you for care.

Is your office clean?

The first stage to delivering a fantastic experience is maintaining a high level of cleanliness and organization. Is the lobby or waiting room spotless? This will be the first area your new patient sees, and they will make judgements based on their observations. If your waiting area or bathrooms are not well-maintained, new patients could believe that your office may not be following proper sanitization procedures and decide to go elsewhere.

Are you welcoming?

How does your front desk team respond to a new patient arrival? Are they focused on gathering paperwork or do they take the time to greet your patient and start building a rapport? Those first minutes of the appointment provide an opportunity to establish the beginnings of a lifelong relationship. Be sure that each member of your team understands their role in developing loyalty.

Are you focused on the patient experience?

Patients have many options for care. Your focus on patient comfort and convenience can make the difference between returning to your office and moving on to your competitor. Invest in amenities to make patients feel at ease in your office. Even simple additions like pillows, blankets, coffee, and water bottles can add a sense of home and help new patients relax. Consider digital paperwork to minimize wait time and apologize if an appointment is late. By showing that their needs are important, you help build trust and care that can turn into long-term loyalty.

With some training and forethought, your practice can have your patients raving about their incredible experience and referring friends and family. For more ideas to help grow your business, contact our office.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Coach’s Corner | Make sure to taste your words before you spit them out

I cannot take credit for this quote, but I love it. Several months ago, while I was onsite, a Dr said this at morning huddle, and it resonated with me. Right now, with everyone’s stress level, I think it is a great quote for this month’s Coach’s Corner. 

Sometimes we say things or change the way we communicate differently under stress. One thing about 2020 so far, it has been a stress filled year. Stress from all sides of our lives – home, work, family, really all aspects of our lives has been touched. Normally for September I would be discussing something in dentistry with a back to school theme, but this quote encompasses that and so much more. 

It’s more important than just going back to school. I know for a lot of my clients they have multiple team members affected by their children either doing remote learning, hybrid, or changing in/out of the classroom. What used to be a standard of what “back to school” meant is changing for everyone. That is causing a lot of stress within families and our practices. I think this quote has many levels of meaning for us and is a reminder to take our time and be patient with one another. This is not only true for our team member but for our patients as well. I know patients are coming into offices and acting different than they did before just because of the stress they are under and wondering when their lives are going to return to normal. Due to this stress, our patients are exhibiting a lot more issues with bruxism than ever before. 

By “tasting your words before you spit them out” it reminds us to reset and align our thoughts, words, and actions so we may be a bright spot in someone’s day. We make assumptions all the time about others without knowing what is going on in their lives. Use this month’s Coach’s Corner for your next morning huddle. You may be pleasantly surprised with how this phrase will open your team up to share with one another.

Dental Coach in Richmond | Follow the Trends! – Grow your Practice with These Smart Tips

With technology and economic changes overhauling much of the dental industry, practices are requiring more innovation to stay ahead of the curve. Below are some trends to explore that can help you reach the top of the chart and stay there.

Onsite Amenities

Dental practices often run the mistake of being too clinical or severe in their appearance. Make your patients comfortable with modern, innovative amenities. Heated or massage chairs in examination rooms can calm anxious patients, while TVs installed on the ceilings (complimentary earphones optional) can offer a safe distraction while your team works.

Dental Insurance Coverage

Many patients are turned away at the thought of visiting a dentist who is out-of-network. Whether you decide to be in-network with more plans or use targeted marketing showing how affordable you are for out-of-network plans, you can open the door for many potential patients that otherwise may have gone elsewhere.

Payment Plans

Many potential patients do not have the option of a work-based dental benefits plan. Consider offering monthly payment plans, in-house financing, or working with a third-party to provide affordable options in these cases. When given the opportunity to have care within their budget, patients who lack insurance will have more ability to accept treatment.

New Technology

Upgraded equipment and modern technology can be a game-changer for many patients. Whether offering a quicker, more comfortable experience or ensuring a safe and effective treatment, using advanced technology on the market can help your dental practice target patients interested in quality.

Bolstered Online Presence

The internet has limitless potential to reach prospective patients in your area. Allow patients to learn more about you and your office, schedule a visit, and ask questions through your website, social media, and other online resources. In the modern economy, internet marketing is a must.

Don’t let your practice fall into the past – keep your practice relevant by following the trends that will keep you thriving. For more professional guidance, contact our office for a consultation.

Victory Dental Management

Phone: (804) 399-2053

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Dental Consultant Richmond | Mitigating Missed Calls

One of the primary concerns of any dental practice is attracting new patients. An effective marketing campaign can help drive traffic to your website and get your phones ringing. However, what happens when the phone rings can have an even greater impact on the success of your business.

Even the best-trained team may miss an incoming call. Unfortunately, many people do not leave messages when they reach an answering machine or voicemail. If you don’t have a plan in place to track and return missed calls, you could be losing thousands in lost revenue every year. Here are 3 easily implemented steps to help you be certain you are making the most of every call.

Step 1: Track Your Calls

When calls are missed, it is important to be aware it is happening. Whether you use the caller ID or a dedicated call-tracking service, your team should be checking for and returning missed calls at least daily. If you close the office for lunch or only have the capacity to answer one call at a time, it is better to check for missed calls multiple times each day.

Step 2: Return Missed Calls

For best results, have your team return missed calls as promptly as possible. Train them to handle these conversations with confidence and compassion. Whether the missed call is from a current patient or a prospective one, a quick response and a caring tone can make the difference between an appointment with you and a decision to look elsewhere.

Step 3: Check for Patterns

Tracking and returning missed calls are an effective way to prevent lost revenue. However, no matter how skilled your team is in handling these return calls, some potential patients may have already scheduled elsewhere before their call was retuned. By reviewing for patterns in when calls are missed, you may find that making minor changes, such as staggering lunch breaks, could help prevent missing future calls in at least some cases.

Missed calls can affect revenue and growth potential for growth, especially if your practice doesn’t have a system in place for tracking and returning them. Be proactive. Review your current plan, check for patterns, and ensure your team is fully trained to handle return calls.

For more ways to keep your practice on the path to success, contact Victory Dental Management.

Victory Dental Management

Phone: (804) 399-2053

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Dental Consultant | Dealing with Patient No-Shows

No-shows and same-day cancellations can take a toll on your practice’s monthly revenue. Patients with busy or complicated schedules may find it difficult to commit to an appointment months in advance. Here are six ideas to help you keep your calendar full and your patients on track.

1. Implement a wait list. By providing an optional waiting list, you can turn one patient’s same-day cancellation into another’s earlier appointment opportunity. When your patient schedules their next visit, ask whether they want to be notified if you get an earlier opening. This can give both your office and your patients added flexibility, as well as showing your patients that you care about their convenience.

2. Add a cancellation fee. While most practices find these fees rarely need to be enforced, the option to apply a fee can impress on patients that your time is valuable and can act as a deterrent for missed appointments. Offer to waive one same-day cancellation or no-show — be it an emergency, mistake, or otherwise — but retain the option to apply the fee for repeat offenders.

3. Consider offering extended hours. Many patients have difficulty keeping an appointment during their workday. Time off from work, even for health care, can be limited. If your office has the capability, try adjusting open hours by an hour or two before or after standard business hours for flex appointments. Even offering this once or twice a week can help mitigate patients’ scheduling challenges.

4. Call, text, and/or email day-before notifications. In some cases, appointments are scheduled weeks or months in advance. During that time, work schedules can change, activities may be planned, and the appointment can be forgotten. By contacting your patients the day before their scheduled visit, you provide both a reminder and an opportunity to reschedule, if needed. Even knowing a day ahead can help you fill a time slot that could otherwise sit unused. Ask your patients how they like to be contacted for best results.

5. Provide context during scheduling. If your patient doesn’t fully understand and accept the necessity of their treatment, they may fail to prioritize it. When you schedule the appointment, restate the reason for the visit and why it is needed. Focus on the benefit of treating on schedule, so they are more likely to think of their appointment as important.

6. When no-shows or last-minute cancellations do occur, be sympathetic. As we all know, life happens. If your patient does miss their appointment with little or no advanced notice, be courteous and understanding of their situation. This helps instill positive feelings toward your team, which can help them keep future visits a priority.

No-shows and same-day cancellations can negatively affect your office, but they don’t have to be devastating. By implementing these or other ideas, you can minimize the impact on productivity while helping build loyalty and value with your patients.

For more ideas on improving your systems, contact Victory Dental Management for your consultation.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053