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Coach’s Corner | What If…

What if….

With practices just reopening or preparing to reopen, there have been many practices that have had to rethink how they want to do dentistry. When you were forced to close, you never intended to have team member changes when you reopened and that is exactly what has happened to many practices across the country.  So now you are dealing with changes in how dentistry must be done along with changes with your team members.

If this is your situation, please do not despair – you are not alone. I have helped many dentists navigate these waters already. I want to encourage you with a question, what if you could create a new way to practice dentistry – what would that look like?

I ask that question since it helps you think outside of the box. Maybe due to team member changes or lack of PPE, you are not able to move from op to op and see hygiene patients like you did before covid 19. This is a great time to think creatively and differently about your schedule.

Some practices are needing to get creative with their availability to see hygiene patients, doing same day dentistry, or mixing it all up. On certain days there may be no hygiene or switching mornings and/or /afternoons for hygiene appointments.

One client of mine always felt rushed to move from one operatory to the other and being creative with blocking the schedule, he is much happier now.  He has gotten used to Monday and Wednesday morning there is no hygiene, only his schedule. During those afternoons, there are hygiene patients. Then he switches that with Tuesday and Thursday mornings accordingly. This has helped him in several ways. He is not using as much PPE with his schedule blocked in this manner, and he is able to see and take care of hygiene patients.

Another way for some creativity in your practice is making wise choices with insurance participation. During the closing of offices for non-emergent care, I have helped many practices make great business decisions regarding insurance networks. I think insurance participation is neither good nor bad, it just needs to be a part of your business plan. There are great business reasons to be in and out of network with insurance companies.  You need to understand your financials and your profitability. Understanding how all of this relates to one another is crucial to making the best decision for you and your practice.

Dental Consultant | Boost Your Case Acceptance by Connecting with Patients

For many dentists, treatment acceptance can be a difficult topic. Nobody enjoys feeling pushy about a service they provide or a product that they offer, and the same concept holds true in dentistry. However, did you know that you can improve your case acceptance rate by simply reworking the way you talk to your patients? Learn how to have two-sided patient communication in our latest blog.

Help Them Understand the Benefits

When approached with an important decision from an outside source, people tend to be on the defensive — especially when it comes to something as intimate as healthcare. That’s why you should rethink the way that you handle case acceptance.

  • Your patient needs to understand their situation, whether it is a cosmetic issue, a preventative measure, or an urgent oral health concern.
  • Patients need to be able to follow your reasoning for why the service is necessary and how exactly it can change their oral health for the better.

Once they have a true understanding of the ‘problem’ and the ‘solution,’ they will feel more compelled to accept the treatment they need.

Stop Speaking and Listen

During your patient appointments, don’t simply run through the checklist of explaining their treatment. Patients want to feel that they’ve been listened to, not talked at. 

Ask what their goals, needs, and concerns with regards to their oral health, confidence, and quality-of-life. Then, let them speak. Giving them the chance to voice their own opinion shows you care about them and how they feel, both before and after their treatment.

Educate and Elevate

Patient education is important. While there is a fine line between explaining and over-explaining, you should do your best to educate your patients about their oral health.  Avoid judgment and being too graphic, but provide a thorough explanation of their current dental and oral health. 

If they are curious about tiny cracks in their teeth, explain craze lines. If they want to know why their gums bleed when they floss, explain periodontal health and how to prevent it. When patients feel that you are invested in not only their wellbeing but their education, too, they feel more confident in the care you’re providing.

You can increase patient acceptance by having a two-way conversation with patients and including them in their oral health.  These conversations will ensure patients understand their problem and are given a solution, are allowed to discuss their own concerns and goals, and are educated on treatment and services.  Patients will feel that your suggestions are being given with their best interest in mind — that you care about your patients as individuals, not just as a mouth to fix or a goal to meet.

Schedule a consultation with Victory Dental Management today to discuss more techniques on how you can boost treatment acceptance and improve your practice.

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Dental Consultant | Revitalize Revenues through Increased Investment

Every business experiences trends of increasing and decreasing revenues. When new business slows and income begins to dip, many business owners react by cutting back on the item in their budget they think is most expendable: marketing.

The unfortunate reality is that this is almost definitely the wrong step to take. When you cut your marketing budget, you reduce your revenues as well.

Today’s business cannot survive through only word of mouth referrals. Your company needs to attract new clientele on an ongoing basis, not just in the weeks following a postcard blast or mass email. In addition, you need to engage and maintain the loyalty of your existing customers.

Consistent, effective marketing helps you achieve both ends.

One recent study examined the marketing budgets of several publicly-traded companies. The researchers found that businesses that were spending an average of 16.5% of revenue grew up to 15% annually, and those that spent an average of 22% grew 16% – 30% annually.

When your marketing budget increases, your revenue follows suit.

There are several factors that can influence how much your business should be spending on marketing.

  • Are you a new startup company? You may need to invest more until you have established a client base.
  • Is business established and you want to maintain growth? Compare your current rates of new customers to those lost annually to determine how your current budget is doing.
  • Is business stagnant or decreasing? Consider investing an additional 5% or 10% above your current marketing budget, at least until the trend reverses.
  • How competitive is your local market? Higher competition requires greater investment to grow business.

For more advice regarding your marketing budget and business growth, contact Victory Dental Management.

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

 

Coach’s Corner | Prepare Yourself – There Will be Changes

Prepare yourself – there will be changes when you reopen your practice. With that thought in mind, I want to share some tips and ideas that should be considered at this time. We know that getting accustomed to the new PPE protocols are going to be a big change for you and your team. Schedule some time where you can practice taking them on and off, and doing the things that you need to do so you are more comfortable once your practice opens .

Consider the changes that you may have planned a year or two ago. Is that direction still the same in this new environment? I want you to think about your practice from a different standpoint, from a patient experience perspective. Let me give more details regarding the patient experience, as there are several things to consider. We know they have seen the CDC studies and the news during the quarantine and shelter in place at home. Since they may believe the virus is going to live on paper, your patients may not want to handle it like they did before. It is best to assume they are going to be concerned about contact with any common surface, so it is from that standpoint that I wanted to make a couple of comments. Now is a great time, no matter what software you use in your office, to switch to electronic forms. You could be putting them on your website using an online portal or an iPad in your office that can be wiped down with disinfectant between uses. There are so many different companies now that can help you with that process. I encourage you to investigate that because the less paper you can have in your practice is going to make your patients feel a lot more at ease.

Look for opportunities to streamline the administrative portion of your workflow and keep patients from encountering one another. Payments may need to be received chairside, or before proceeding to the operatory, since there will be no waiting at the front of the office anymore. Perhaps this is something that you may have always wanted to do but did not think your patients were going to be open to the idea. By installing a “Pay Now” button on your website, or credit card swipers in your operatories will give you this flexibility. As you can imagine that is very popular and it streamlines a lot of your processes. There is also text to pay technology that is out there as well.

Your clinical team should start to input the treatment plan into your software in the operatory. In addition, they should start learning some specifics about insurance to be able to answer questions for your patients. Plan on using technology to its fullest extent so that you keep all the paper away. There are many ways to do this and I am throwing out some ideas to get you and your team thinking how to change items in your dental practice. Here is a cool thing – we already know that our dental assistants really influence treatment plan acceptance. I know as soon as the doctor leaves the room, the patient will ask if they really need to have this treatment done. Your dental assistant gets hit with all these questions, so this is an opportunity for assistants to be like rock stars and knock the ball out of the park.

In order for your entire team to cohesively make this happen, your admin team is going to need to input all the information into the computer and figure out how you’re going to communicate quickly between the front and back in case there is a question. Whether you choose to use a radio or a chat function on your computer, there are a lot of options available for you.

If your clinical team needs to learn how to have successful financial conversations – please get in touch with me. Now is the time for you and your team to be focusing on those changes that keep your team and patients safe and comfortable in your practice. This is going to be new to all your patients, so whatever changes you are going to make, please make sure the correct expectations are explained up front to your patients so that there are no surprises. We can assume that patients coming in are going to be concerned, and now is when you and your team build trust and alleviate the fears that they have of coming to your practice. I think, at least for the short term, this is just how business is going to be done from now on, so your team needs to be prepared.

I know I covered a lot of different topics so if there is something that I can help you with, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. If you are still preparing to open, please click the link to see more about my Evolve program that I can modify for your needs. Stay safe!

Dental Practice Consultant | The Costs of a Toxic Employee

Hiring is time-consuming, stressful, and sometimes costly. In some cases, this causes business owners to avoid firing an employee long after it has become clear that the person is damaging the overall work environment. Finding the right person for your office can be challenging. However, continuing to retain a toxic employee can be far more costly for you and your business.

What is a “toxic employee?”

A toxic employee is easily recognized for exhibiting several, if not all, of the following behaviors:

  • Bad attitude: This includes eye-rolling, muttering, snide comments, complaints, confrontational tone, and passive-aggressive speech or actions.
  • Lack of engagement: This can include work-avoidance, lack of enthusiasm, unwillingness to accept responsibilities, and being inattentive in meetings and huddles.
  • Dishonesty: Whether this involves refusal to accept accountability, blaming others for mistakes, or outright lies and thefts, dishonesty is harmful to your business and your team.
  • Poor work performance: While a new team member may experience a learning curve at first, the toxic employee never rises above the bare minimum of what has been explicitly listed as expected. In many cases, they may not even be fully or properly completing work. They are uninterested in feedback or training and unwilling to work to improve.

Do you recognize anyone in your office from these descriptions? If so, it’s time to pull the plug.

When you continue to keep a toxic employee on your staff, you may avoid the headaches of the hiring process in the short term. However, you are creating a host of other problems for yourself that will cost you a great deal more time, money, and energy to solve in the long term.

One toxic employee in your office can cause:

  • Loss of new customers: If a toxic employee is interacting with potential customers, they are creating a negative image of your business, which can lose hundreds or thousands of dollars in revenue.
  • Loss of existing customers: If your clients are treated poorly even once, they may choose to take their business elsewhere – and they may tell others.
  • Loss of your best team members: Your best people want to work in a positive environment where they feel supported and appreciated. By tolerating the complaints or shoddy work of one toxic person, you risk losing team players to a company that maintains a better atmosphere.

Don’t compromise your business or your best team members by refusing to fire toxic employees. For more strategies to improve your business, contact Victory Dental Management.

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Coach’s Corner | Preparing The Schedule For Your Return

These really are extreme times we are living in, aren’t they?  I found this plaque that I received from a client years ago as it says, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it is about learning to dance in the rain.”  With that in mind, let me give you some topics to discuss when you have a team meeting.  I think having those now with your team, while you are not seeing non-emergency patients, is critical.  Keeping your team involved in the planning process is crucial to team morale and team buy-in.  It keeps all of you focused on the future which is very important to everyone’s mental health and the financial health of your practice.

Let me focus on your schedule.  You may need to re-adjust your hours by adding some in the morning and afternoon; maybe having Friday and Saturday hours are necessary to catch up to care for your patients.  When reviewing your hygiene schedule, make sure you have plenty of hours available.  As you know, we are many weeks behind in seeing patients that were scheduled for regular exams and perio maintenance.

Hopefully you have been diligent already with your administrative team members focusing on your account’s receivables, especially outstanding claims.  Insurance companies are still open and paying your claims so please have a team member stay on top of these for the practice.  Posting insurance checks are also key to keeping some revenue coming into your practice.  I understand if you want to be flexible with your patient aging and you know your patients.  Make the best decision for your situation.

I hope you stay safe and stay healthy. 

Dental Practice Consultant | 3 Ways to Buy Time: Boost Your Practice’s Productivity with Time-Saving Measures

Time is your most precious resource. On certain days, managing your time is not just difficult, it is downright impossible. Ask yourself about the strategies you are currently using to organize your day. What other tools could you be leveraging to save your practice’s most precious commodity? Here are 3 methods you can implement to maximize your time.

Dental Practice Consultant

  1. Re-evaluate Your Management Tactics

You can buy time without spending a dime. Employ a new way of keeping track of practice productivity. You can have your team record their tasks for the day in a quick email. Each staff member can quantitatively list their duties, allowing for simple reference later. This cuts down on micromanaging your staff by way of asking, “What did you do today?” Managerial work is difficult to implement after a full day of back-to-back appointments.

You can cut back on daily meetings because you will have a clear picture of what each team member is contributing. Having a list of completed tasks at the end of the day allows for everyone at your practice to be keenly aware of who is to be held accountable for each task.

  1. Utilize Apps to Maximize Efficiency

“Lost time is never found again.” Ben Franklin knew this more than 200 years ago, so how can you apply this knowledge to running your practice? There are numerous tools available for your phone that can be a valuable resource for keeping track of your practice. You can benefit from the use of efficiency apps. In today’s world, there is no need to manage all aspects of your business manually.

Take advantage of scheduling apps and software. You can schedule emails to remind patients to book their next visit to your office without having to send it in real time. This can be an indispensable tool for patient retention, by keeping you in consistent contact with your patients. Apps such as these will help you save time, and keep track of your practice’s performance.

  1. Consider Express Check-In

It is not always your team that is responsible for lost time slipping through your fingers. One late patient can set the whole day off-schedule. Make it easy for your patients to register. Provide compliant forms online for patients to fill out before coming into the office. Saving time at the front desk will help your entire practice run on schedule. Never allow for your practice to earn a reputation of running behind schedule, instead work with your patients to create a smoother, faster registration. Your patients will not want to fill out redundant forms. Rework any documents or forms where possible to prevent your patients from filling out information such as their name and address multiple times.

Successful business leaders are experts at time management. Put methods in place that allow for concrete, quantitative results to measure productivity. Utilize technology to make your life easier and allow your patients to work with you to save time. Don’t get caught watching the sand fall through the timer, take action and rethink your time management strategies. Contact Victory Dental Management today.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Dental Practice Consultant | Build Your Team to Succeed

Your team is vital to the success of your practice. Working in a positive atmosphere is sure to keep a team motivated for long-term prosperity. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. If you have noticed a slip in your team’s efforts, it may be stemming from a lack of understanding. Here are proven ways to boost your team’s morale and work ethic.

Know how you work

To lead a successful team, you must be aware of how you work as a leader. Understanding your leadership techniques and styles will help you tailor your techniques to your team’s needs. Don’t be afraid to be critical of yourself and continue to look for new ways to improve.

Know how they work

Get to know your team members on a personal level. Learn their strengths and weaknesses and what they expect out of you as a leader. This will make them feel heard and know they have your support.

Define roles and responsibilities

When you learn about who your team members are as individuals, you will be able to know what they excel at. This gives you the opportunity to clearly define each member’s roles and responsibilities around the office. Giving a clear vision to each member will allow them to make strides in their respective areas.

Give feedback

Employees like to know how they are doing on the job. Remember to give them plenty of feedback on what they excel at and what they can improve on. Tailor your feedback to how they best receive it and always be conscious to celebrate their success.

Leaders can only be as successful as their teams.  Appreciate who they are as individuals and you will appreciate what they do as employees. If you are looking for more team building techniques, or you need help improving your dental practice, contact Victory Dental Management today to speak with one of our trained professionals.

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Coach’s Corner | Virus Proof Your Account Receivables

Virus proof your account receivables

Since the coronavirus is on everyone’s mind, I thought I would address the relationship between the coronavirus and your business.  This virus is affecting us in ways we couldn’t imagine. I know dental conferences and several different sport seasons have been postponed or cancelled.  At times like these you may feel so many things are out of your control and there is an area of your practice you can be proactive about – your account receivables.

With so many questions surrounding the longevity of our current global situation, working your outstanding insurance claims report and patient aging is a must. If your practice is like most offices, you wait for insurance to pay first before sending a statement to your patient. If this is the case in your practice, please work your outstanding insurance report weekly. Post your checks daily and if there is any balance, please send a statement to the patient that day. Waiting any longer just elongates your wait time for payment.

After working your outstanding insurance report, next in line is your patient aging report. I like to refer to these two reports as “your money that is sitting on paper.” You have already done the dentistry and should be working these reports to get that money in your bank account.

I know it seems like common sense that this should already be happening in your office and it should. But think about this. Right now, your team may be focusing on keeping your schedule full due to our current situation. A lot of times these two reports are not the priority and I think, especially in these turbulent times, they require priority status. Hopefully items like prioritizing your account receivables will be one of those tasks that will remain a priority for you and your practice.

Dental Coach | The Impact of Ignoring Negative Reviews

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Finding a bad review of your business can feel like your world is turned upside down. Some business owners may choose the approach of dismissing the negative feedback and blaming the customer or client. When ignored, negative reviews can have a detrimental impact on your business. Here’s how:

You Will Lose Clients

Customers and clients will not want to be treated disrespectfully. They want their voices heard and to be valued as an individual. If you ignore negative reviews, you are essentially telling both the reviewer and prospective leads that you don’t care about what they have to say. The clients that do complain are ones that feel passionately enough about your business to voice their concerns. If you don’t validate those concerns, expect them to take their business elsewhere.

Missing a Chance to Learn

Mistakes present an opportunity for business leaders to learn. It’s even better when a client presents those mistakes clearly. This will allow you to learn why the mistake happened and how to fix it so it doesn’t happen in the future. If you ignore the feedback from the client, you will not know what the mistake was and it may happen again. Negative reviews offer a chance to learn and grow your business, if you ignore them you miss that opportunity.

No Response Speaks Volumes

Potential clients that are looking at your online profile will see that a bad review is being ignored. If that were to happen, you could lose out on their business and any referrals they might make in the future because they don’t think you care about your clients. This applies to current clients that keep track of your businesses reviews.

Running Out of Excuses

Due to the nature of reviews being public, once a client writes one, everyone can see it. This creates a lasting list of negative occurrences for your business that can be referenced by others. Address poor reviews when possible. Show the client or customer that you care about their thoughts. While it may not win them back, it may be the perfect set up to capture future loyal clients who see your thoughtful and personal response.

Great reviews are not the only ones that can help improve your business. Bad reviews present an opportunity to learn from them and grow your business. If you choose to ignore poor reviews, the consequences could be disastrous. Not only could you lose current clients, but negative reviews could impact the decisions of future clients looking at your business. When you see a negative review, take a step back and see what you can learn from the experience. Address their concerns, and make an effort to change your business to create positive experiences in the future.

Contact Victory Dental Management for a consultation today.

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053