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September Coach’s Corner | Relieve Your Stress

In the last month I have received many emails from followers of the Coaches Corner. The theme has been the same – everyone needs encouragement. I know we are at the end of the third quarter and a lot of practices are under stress from many factors – staffing issues, patient behavior, and scheduling issues. I have received many of the same team issues in these emails.

Covid has put a lot of stress on doctors as well as team members. Most alarming is the stress that is coming at everyone from multiple places. School has started so for those working for you that have children, this is really stressful with getting their kids in a routine and handling any anxiety issues regarding all of that. Everyone on the team is feeling the stress when patients are dumping on them either with language or behavior they have never exhibited before. The doctor and team may feel defeated if the schedule falls apart and that has not been the norm before in your practice. All of this, and more, adds up to everyone feeling on edge, like a pot that is ready to boil over.

Instead of allowing these concerns to permeate your team, focus on the positive. You have woken up today and have been given another day to make a difference in someone’s life. Start your huddle with how excited you are to see Mr. Smith and the treatment he is getting that day and what it will mean for him and his oral health. Showing excitement can be a catalyst for the rest of your team – excitement is contagious!

If you have a true team working with you, this positive outlook will multiply and touch everyone, mostly your patients and other team members. Looking for those moments where gratitude and thankfulness can be shown will focus you on something positive instead of something dragging you down. I promise you; this will lighten your load, you will smile more, and have a better day. Try this instead and let me know how it works for you and your team. 😊

If you would like to get more information on how you can learn to be the head coach of your team, please email me at lynne@victorydentalmanagement.com

Nobody Told Me That! | Ep. 86 A Gathering of Insurance Geeks is a Beautiful Thing featuring Lynne Leggett (PODCAST)

Lynne Leggett was recently featured on an episode of the Nobody Told Me That! podcast. The lively discussion, hosted by Teresa Duncan, focused on the benefits side of dentistry. This episode also includes Christine Taxin, the founder of the Insurance Extravaganza, an annual event that’s coming up this November in Orlando.

Topics covered include Medicare, Medicaid, credentialing, and all the frustrations that can arise for an insurance coordinator.

Enjoy this great discussion!

Effective Goal-Setting: Making Dreams into Reality | Dental Office Coach

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No matter how impressive your vision for your business may be, dreams require hard work, strategic planning, and a willingness to adapt to make them real. Highly successful business owners learn to set goals realistically and effectively. Master the skills of effective goal-setting, strategic planning, and assessment to find greater success in your business.

Set Incremental Goals

Start small when setting goals. Establish daily and weekly goals. It can be easy to let ambition take over while you dream of long-term goals. However, you cannot reach your long-term goals without smaller victories along the way. Setting smaller, incremental goals provides the opportunity for you to be in constant control of your business. You will know if you miss a weekly goal, and you can then adjust your strategy to make sure it never happens again. If you are only setting quarterly or yearly goals it can come as a surprise when you miss them, or your team might be left struggling to meet them at the last minute.

Make Goals Visible

You and your team need a visual reminder of what your goals are and when you plan to achieve them. Put them up on a bulletin board in the office, include them on your calendar. Write your goals in a place you look daily as a constant reminder. We all have those back-of-the-mind thoughts or ideas that might be good if implemented, but they are frequently forgotten. Make your goals visible to you and your entire team.

Goals Need to be Measured

How will you know if you achieved your goal if you cannot measure it? Goals should have a measurable standard. Perhaps your goal is to see 10 new clients by the end of each month or to increase the number of referrals by 50% before the end of the quarter. Pick specific numbers and concepts that can be defined in a concrete way. Abstract goals are harder to reach because they are too difficult to define. When goals are measurable, you will know exactly what you need to achieve your desired result.

Rethink the way you are setting your goals for your business. Your ambitious plans will be successful only if you have a road map to reach them. This is where effective goal setting comes in. Get into the habit of writing down your goals and measuring them. Effective goal-setting strategies take careful planning. Master these skills and you will be on your way to the business success you have dreamed of achieving.

For more tips on managing your business, please contact us.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

The Bright Side of Patient Complaints | Dental Management Consultant

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No matter how fantastic you and your team are, you will occasionally have a patient complain about something. When this happens, you and your team may feel discouraged, frustrated, or even annoyed, depending on the specific complaint and how it was shared. It can be easy to brush the complaint aside and tell yourself that the patient was just having a bad day. However, changing the way you think about patient complaints can be highly beneficial to your business.

Patient complaints may involve anything from office décor or other patients to the time, cost, or outcome of a treatment. Even concerns that feel trivial or unfair to you should be handled with respect and appreciation. Like any consumer, your patient wants to feel like you care about their experience and their feelings. A complaint is an opportunity for you to win back a patient’s trust.

If you thank your patient for bringing their concerns to you, commit to taking action to correct the situation, and follow through on your commitment, you will earn loyalty from that patient. This loyalty can translate into fewer rescheduled or cancelled appointments, increased case acceptance, and even referrals to friends, family, and social media connections. Over time, handing one complaint as an opportunity to improve can lead to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in revenue.

However, if patients leave your office feeling that their concerns are unimportant to you, they will likely look elsewhere for dental care in the future. Unhappy patients do not stay with your practice. They do not refer others to you. They may even tell others about their unpleasant experience with your office, which can cost you potential patients and revenue.

Every patient complaint you receive is a gift. Your team or practice may have a weakness that you were unaware was an issue. If one patient voices a complaint, it is likely that others have noticed the problem as well. Consider asking patients for feedback after a visit. Let them know proactively that you appreciate their input and are ready and willing to provide the best experience possible. When your patients feel valued, they will be more loyal to you, your team, and your practice.

For more tips on providing a better patient experience, contact our office.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

August Coach’s Corner | Your Operatory Does Not Need to be Your Only Happy Place


Leadership is one of those things that does not naturally occur, sometimes it needs to be taught. I find that most dentists and specialists admit to me that they hate this part of their job the most. Let me make this easier for you – if you call the people that work alongside you a team, then that makes you the head coach. There are aspects of coaching that you are already doing naturally, and I can show you how to take advantage of those.

You are already educating and encouraging your patients regarding their oral health. The same thing is done as the head coach.  As a seasoned basketball coach myself, I love to teach leadership using the coaching method and part of that method is using the strengths you already have. My goal is to make this easier for you since none of this was taught in dental school. It does not matter if you are a new graduate or you have owned your practice for over 20 years, leadership is something that needs to be worked on; it is not a one and done kind of thing.

By teaching leadership using the coaching method, it takes something that can be vague and makes it very structured and easy to do. As the head coach, you need to prepare and have a plan for practice time and a plan for game time. The hard work is in the preparation. Practice time is when you are not seeing patients and game time is when you are seeing patients.  Once you have prepared those plans, it is easy for your team to understand, get on board, and work your plan for your practice success.

If you would like to get more information on how you can learn to be the head coach of your team, please email me at lynne@victorydentalmanagement.com

Dental Practice Human Resources: FAQs | Dental Business Coach

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Whether you manage human resource decisions and concerns yourself or simply oversee your practice manager, as the business owner, you are responsible for ensuring your policies are legal, appropriate, and applied fairly. You may find it useful to take a moment to review a few commonly asked questions regarding aspects of human resources for dental practice owners.

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What questions do I need to avoid during interviews?

There are a few basic, even common questions we would not think twice about asking during conversation that are not appropriate for an interview setting. Some of these include:

  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children?
  • What is the origin of your (unusual) name?

While all these questions can be meant to break the ice, they can also lead to the sharing of information about protected class status, such as disability, family status, ethnic or religious heritage, and others. Even if the answers would have no bearing on your decision, these questions can leave you open to a complaint or suit if the position is not offered.

What should I do if an employee refuses to sign their disciplinary action form?

Bring a witness into the room, note the refusal to sign, and have the witness sign confirmation that the disciplinary action form was provided. Additionally, remind the employee that refusal to sign does not nullify the disciplinary action and further infractions can still lead to more serious consequences.

We use software to track the hours our employees work. The program has a function to automatically deduct meal times so the employee does not need to manually clock in and out. Should we use that function?

Before you decide to implement an automatic system of this type, consider the time saved by not manually entering hours. Then compare that to the time lost by entering corrections if a team member misses lunch, returns early, or runs late. If your office rarely deviates from schedule, this may be beneficial. However, if you find that you are making corrections more than once or twice a week, it may be costing more time than it saves.

If you have other questions regarding staffing concerns, contact our dental coach office for a practice management consultation.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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Why You Should Join (or Start) a Dental Study Club | Consultant Near Me

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Science is a field where the only true constant is change. Dentistry is no different. With advances in techniques and new technologies every year, it can be challenging to stay current, especially without breaking your budget.

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Study clubs can be an ideal solution to this inevitable problem. There are many reasons why you should be gaining the benefits of membership in a dental study club. Here are some of the most valuable advantages you stand to gain:

Continuing Education

By pooling the resources of a group of dental professionals, you can attend continuing education lectures and clinical hands-on training in your local area, without all the time and expense of travel. This added source of training and education can be invaluable for staying current with new techniques and new technological advances. If you have a desire to focus your practice on one or more specific areas of dentistry, such as implants or sleep apnea treatment, a targeted study group can help you find and attend the courses you need to develop the skills and qualifications to reach your goal.

Peer Support

With a dental study club, you are interacting with other dentists and specialists in your area. Group discussions have been shown to be one of the most effective ways to share experiences, techniques, challenges, and new ideas with like-minded individuals for the benefit of everyone involved. This informal venue can allow you to explore new ways of approaching a problem or a treatment and allows you to benefit from what another has already tried.

Networking

While it is not the primary reason to join a study club, you should not overlook the importance of networking. Making other dental contacts in your area can be highly beneficial. Specialists, in particular, depend on referrals from other dentists. It can be much easier to refer a patient or gain a referral when you have developed a relationship with other professionals and know how they treat their patients, what technologies they use, and other such information. For more information, please visit our Dental Management Consultant.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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July Coach’s Corner | Case Acceptance Question

I received an email from a Coach’s Corner viewer asking me about case acceptance. Specifically for some new ideas or approaches that he could use in his practice.

When I think about the subject of case acceptance I immediately think of a process. There are so many factors that are involved with a patient deciding to get their dental work done and every member of your team contributes to case acceptance. Let me use an example from a new patient perspective. The new patient experience starts with their first contact with your office –typically via a phone call. Each interaction with a patient should utilize great customer service skills within a stress-free environment. By reviewing each interaction, you are focusing on making the new patient’s visit the best it can be. This is essential when starting your new patient relationship – each step can make or break your patient to saying yes or no to treatment. That is why I think of a process.

Think of any new relationship or friendship you have been a part of. Trust is not given automatically; it is earned over time. The same thing can be said for your new patient. If their experience has not been a smooth and professional one before they sit in your chair, that could create a hurdle you will need to overcome when meeting them the first time.

Once your new patient is in your operatory, this is your moment as the clinical professional to wow them. I have worked with a lot of introverted dentists and your communication style does not need to be complex. Some tend to overthink it. I always like for dentists to welcome your patients like you would welcome someone in your home. Be relaxed, warm, and inviting.

I like for my clients to ask the patient what their goals are, what do they need. By asking this question, it helps with building trust since you are giving them the freedom to tell you what they are looking for as well as starting your relationship on a positive note. Of course, you are the clinical expert but their response to that question helps you craft your answer taking into consideration what clinical needs they may have.

Here is an example – if someone wants whiter teeth but they present to you with perio issues the standard thing is to tell the patient you will address their perio issues and give guidance on better home care. Chances are that is what you might typically say first. Instead, first address their wants by saying you agree with them that their smile could benefit from some bleaching products, and you appreciate them sharing their goals with you. In order to do that, their oral health is a top priority followed by their goal of whiter teeth. When patients tell you their personal thoughts, they are allowing themselves to be vulnerable to you and your judgement. By addressing that first and saying that is something you can do alleviates what is on their mind, not yours. They are waiting to see if you agree with them and if you will respect what they want. This discussion doesn’t need to be either/or- it is an “and” conversation.

Another way of saying it is to be sure to connect the dots in such a way that your patient is heard and understood. By changing your perspective from telling your patients what they need to asking them what they want is a game changer in your practice. This is the way they are communicating to you. Of course, as the clinical professional, you know in what order the list needs to be completed. Give guidance from a positive standpoint with your patients and I am sure your case acceptance will increase.

If you have a question you would like to be answered in an upcoming Coach’s Corner, please let me know. Chances are if you have a question, others will as well. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please get in touch with me at lynne@victorydentalmanagement.com.

Medicine for Your Business | Dental Business Coach

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The business world often goes hand in hand with stress. Pressures to attract new customers, meet quotas, or increase productivity can make working feel like an unpleasant chore. If you have begun to dread going into the office due to an oppressive atmosphere, chances are strong that you are not alone in your feelings. Turning things around for you and your team may be easier than you think. Consider adding fun back to your business with a daily dose of laughter.

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 While the addition of humor to the workplace does not move deadlines or reduce the expectations for performance, it can help create a more enjoyable environment for everyone there. When the office feels fun and engaging, the work feels lighter and more accessible. Scientific studies have shown that laughter relieves tension, boosts the immune system, and relaxes the muscles. Additionally, laughing can increase memory, energy, and creativity and elevate the mood. Every office can benefit from these effects.

There are many ways to inject some humor into your workdays. Try sharing a joke with your team to start the huddle and invite them to bring their own. Post a board in a shared space and challenge everyone to bring a funny image or comic strip to hang. Have a silly shirt day once a week or once a month. Take silly photos or videos of you and your team to share on social media.

Embracing a little more humor with your colleagues and team takes only a small investment of time and can yield large increases in mood, productivity, and worker morale. For more ideas on making your work more engaging, contact our office.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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Are You Minimizing Your Work? | Dental Business Consultant

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Words have a powerful effect on perception. Are you selling yourself short when it comes to describing your practice or your services? Patients visit you because they trust you to be open, honest, and experienced in communicating the condition of their oral health in a way they will understand. To accomplish this effectively, you need to be mindful of your word choice. 

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“Check Up” or “Comprehensive Examination”

A “check up” sounds menial and unimportant. You might say you take your car in for a “check up” or “tune up.” Oral health care is diminished when it is referred in this way. Use the more professional sounding “comprehensive examination.” This emphasizes the fact that you and your team are doing a lot more than just checking the mouth and teeth. You are looking for signs of decay and oral cancer, providing a thorough cleaning, and offering recommendations for additional treatments. That’s a lot more than a “check up.”

“Just a…”

Don’t use this phrase when leading into a diagnosis. “Just a cavity,” or “just a little inflammation,” minimizes the importance for action. Your patient might heed this as permission to wait on further treatment. The public is often not aware of the importance of their oral health and how oral diseases can spread, worsen, and lead to other painful and costly problems. Be clear with patients when making a diagnosis, but never make it sound unimportant or that it can wait.

“Bleaching” is Not Synonymous with “Whitening”

When describing whitening treatments to patients, it may sound like a natural choice to use the word “bleaching.” Avoid using this term. To some patients, this may imply bleach is used in the whitening process. It also sounds far more painful than “whitening.” Using the term “Bleaching” sounds dangerous, or that it involves the use of harsh chemicals. “Whitening” is an ideal term to use as it also serves as a description for what patients can expect after treatment – a whiter smile.

Word choice matters. Patients are relying on you for information about their health. Be clear, be concise, and be honest with your patients. The public’s perception of dental professionals is not always positive. Clear communication is one way to bridge the gap between your team and your patients. Show your value to your patients by choosing strong words to describe your services, and avoid minimizing the importance of your work.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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