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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
Url: https://victorydentalmanagement.com/

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

Url: https://victorydentalmanagement.com/ ,

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

Url: https://victorydentalmanagement.com/ ,

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

Dental Consultant | Avoiding Occupational Pain

Movement is the key to keeping your body healthy. Many people may not realize that working in dentistry can be taxing on your body. From working the front desk to sitting in a chair for long periods, an average day can put a lot of pressure on your body. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you could run the risk of serious chronic pain or injury later in your life. Below are some tips to help promote a healthier lifestyle for you and your dental team.

Make stretching a daily routine.

One of the easiest steps you can take to reduce the strain put on your body is to build a stretching routine throughout the day. Even a short stretching session in the morning and at night can help loosen up your body and promote blood circulation.

Get up and move.

Moving more throughout the day can also help keep you limber and stress-free especially if your particular role requires you to remain in the same position all day.

Exercise more.

Exercising can help strengthen your supporting muscles and promote overall improved health. It has also been shown to help you sleep better at night, giving your body a chance to rest and fully recover after a long day. While strength training will be most optimal for building your stabilizing muscles, any type of exercise will be beneficial.

Assess your office.

See if there are opportunities to make your office more ergonomic. Whether that means standing desks for the front office team or better seating for chairside work, there could be ways to reduce the physical stress caused by work through simply replacing the furniture.

A healthy team is a happy team. Do you worry chronic discomfort or pain is limiting the productivity of your team and making them dread coming to work? Maybe you’re starting to feel chronic discomfort after years of working with patients. In order to address this pain and discomfort, you need to first recognize the source. For more tips on how to maintain a happier, healthier, and more productive dental team, contact Victory Dental Management today!

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

 
 

Dental Consultant | How Team Morale Can Make or Break Your Dental Practice

Team morale can make or break your dental practice. It’s a bold statement, but there are several reasons why it is true. The morale of every member of your team impacts other team members, your patients, and over time, even your bottom line. If you want your dental practice to be a success, team morale needs to be a priority.

Unhappy staff are less productive. When a member of your team is unhappy in their job, they work more slowly, are less efficient, and are less likely to “go the extra mile” to ensure a great patient experience. When an unhappy staff member isn’t giving a great patient experience, that patient is less likely to be a repeat patient and unlikely to refer anyone else to your practice. Over time, this could potentially cost you dozens of patients and thousands of dollars.

Unhappy staff make other staff unhappy. When one person is feeling unmotivated, unappreciated, or disgruntled, their attitude affects those around them. Other staff are forced to work harder to compensate for the lack of productivity. One person complaining about being unhappy can hurt the morale of every other person in your office. What starts as a seemingly small problem can quickly gain momentum if it isn’t addressed quickly and correctly.

Unhappy staff are more likely to quit. On the surface, this may seem like a good thing: take the poor attitude and low morale out of the equation. However, the cost of finding, hiring, and training a replacement can be high. Even more, the most common reason why an employee quits a job is that they feel unappreciated and/or unsupported by management. Chances are good that if one of your staff feels that way, others aren’t far behind.

Overcome team morale issues with good leadership. As the dentist and CEO of the practice, you are the primary person your team is looking to for leadership. Hold yourself accountable to your team for following through on your promises. Deal with conflicts as soon as they arise. Have an open door policy that makes your staff feel comfortable coming to you with problems so you can address them before they become unmanageable.

Hold regular effective team meetings to ensure every team member understands their place in your vision for the practice. Recognize individual and team successes. Show appreciation. Ensure that you are supportive of any staff empowered to make decisions. If you need to coach them on a change in policy, do so privately to avoid undermining their authority.

You are the leader of your team. The trust, support, recognition, appreciation, and respect you give to your team is the foundation of your team’s morale. When you create a great working environment, your team morale is high. High team morale creates a better patient experience and greater productivity, which benefits everyone. To ensure your practice thrives, make your team’s morale a priority. Contact Victory Dental Management.

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Coach’s Corner | My Top 3 Reflections So Far During Covid 19

Covid19 has taught us many lessons and I would like to share my top 3.

# 1 – Why can’t people drive? Around me, people’s driving skills have gotten a lot worse than normal – what’s up with that? I am at a loss to explain this, but it is irritating to say the least.

# 2 – Relationships have never been more important – this is true in our personal lives as well as our team members in the practice. When something as stressful as Covid 19 occurs, it strengthens our ties with one another, and it forces us to see our lives from a different perspective. When stressed like this, we strip away our wants and concentrate on our needs. This is basic human behavior – google Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for more information.

# 3 – Communication is the key – in your practice, your patients and team members are under stress whether they realize it or not. Due to that stress, they may not communicate as clearly as they should or their reactions to things may be more dramatic or different than usual. This was the case last week when I was onsite at a client’s office. When the treatment plan was presented to a patient, this patient went off on the coordinator. She did not do anything to warrant that reaction, but the patient was not acting like she normally had in the past. I involved myself in the conversation and after we openly discussed her fears, it had nothing to do with her dental needs but the stress of the unknown. During lunch I shared this conversation with the team and asked them about how they were handling their stress. Much to the surprise of the doctor, everyone opened up and started sharing their personal thoughts and feelings. Now they have added some time during their morning huddle to check on everyone and encourage one another even more than they did before. This team is using their stress and this time to become even stronger.

Please reach out if you would like to chat about this or other issues. You are not alone facing all the challenges of owning or managing a practice.

Dental Consultant | Are You Setting the Right Goals?

No matter how effective you are at vision casting, dreams require hard work and strategic planning to become a reality. Highly successful business owners know the benefits of setting realistic and measurable goals. Rethink the way you are setting goals for your business. Your ambitious plans will be successful only if you have a road map to reach them. By mastering the art of setting incremental, measurable goals, you’ll be able to more effectively to reach them. For more tips on managing your practice, contact our firm today.

Plan out the steps, not just the big picture.

Start small by establishing smaller goals on a quarterly, monthly, or even daily basis. It can be easy to let ambition take over and lose track of the work required to reach your ultimate objective. Setting smaller, incremental goals provides the opportunity for you to celebrate the small victories along the journey and reassess early if something isn’t working.

Measure your success.

How will you know if you achieved your goal if you cannot measure it? Goals should have a measurable standard. Perhaps you want to see 5 more new patients each month or to increase the number of referrals by 50%. Set specific goals that are easy to track. This will help you to definitively know whether or not you’ve reached them and, if not, have a tangible metric of how much you still need to accomplish.

Make your goals visible.

The more visible your goals are, the greater pressure you’ll feel to meet them. Make sure everyone in your practice is aware of what you’re trying to achieve. This will not only ensure that they’re actively helping you reach your goals, but will also provide a source of accountability to hold you to your word. Putting up visual reminders can also be a simple way to accomplish a similar effect. The more you’re reminded of your goal, the more likely you are to work towards it.

Real growth doesn’t happen passively. In order to take your practice to the next level, you need to set goals to help you get there. Whether these goals are financial, patient-oriented, or focused on personal development, we’re here to help. Contact Victory Dental Management today to learn more!

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053