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Archive for month: February, 2017

Advice to the Front Desk – Answer phone calls promptly.

Advice to the Front Desk – Answer phone calls promptly. Allowing parents to wait on the phone creates an immediate impression of the practice—a bad one. Calls that are not answered quickly suggest a poorly run organization and a lack of interest in serving patients (and parents). You never know when a parent of a new patient will call. Consequently, the phone must always be answered on the first or second ring. Even when practices and front desk areas are extremely busy, parents of new patients must be given a positive first impression.

Advice to the Front Desk – Answer phone calls promptly.

Advice to the Front Desk – Answer phone calls promptly. Allowing patients to wait on the phone creates an immediate impression of the practice—a bad one. Calls that are not answered quickly suggest a poorly run organization and a lack of interest in serving patients. You never know when a new patient or a referring doctor’s office will call. Consequently, the phone must always be answered on the first or second ring. Even when practices and front desk areas are extremely busy, the new patient must be given a positive first impression.

Advice to the Front Desk – Answer phone calls promptly.

Advice to the Front Desk – Answer phone calls promptly. Allowing patients to wait on the phone creates an immediate impression of the practice—a bad one. Calls that are not answered quickly suggest a poorly run organization and a lack of interest in serving patients. You never know when a new patient or a referring doctor’s office will call. Consequently, the phone must always be answered on the first or second ring. Even when practices and front desk areas are extremely busy, the new patient must be given a positive first impression.

Advice to the Front Desk – Answer phone calls promptly.

Advice to the Front Desk – Answer phone calls promptly. Allowing parents to wait on the phone creates an immediate impression of the practice—a bad one. Calls that are not answered quickly suggest a poorly run organization and a lack of interest in serving patients (and parents). You never know when a parent of a new patient will call. Consequently, the phone must always be answered on the first or second ring. Even when practices and front desk areas are extremely busy, parents of new patients must be given a positive first impression.

Answer phone calls promptly.

Answer phone calls promptly. Allowing patients to wait on the phone creates an immediate impression of the practice—a bad one. Calls that are not answered quickly suggest a poorly run organization and a lack of interest in serving patients. You never know when a new patient will call. Consequently, the phone must always be answered on the first or second ring. Even when practices and front desk areas are extremely busy, the new patient must be given a positive first impression.

Dentistry According to the Rolling Stones

Dentistry According to the Rolling Stones

What do Mick, Keith and the boys know about running a dental practice? Actually, more than you might think, judging from some of the songs in their catalogue. Let’s dust off a few classics as well as a few deep cuts and see what practice management lessons can be gleaned from the world’s greatest rock’n’roll band…

Start Me Up (from Tattoo You)

Kick off your day with a brief morning meeting. This keeps your entire team on the same page about what will be occurring in terms of new patients, patients with unaccepted treatment, patients who owe money, openings in the schedule, etc. The meeting should last 10 minutes or so. If you’re experiencing some customer service issues, the morning meeting is a good forum for reviewing practice policies, creating new scripts if necessary and role-playing different scenarios.

Miss You (from Some Girls)

Patients aren’t as loyal as they once were. They’ll jump to another practice if they see a coupon for a new patient exam or they’ll stop coming in for regular care for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it’s economic. They changed jobs and they no longer have dental insurance. Sometimes, it’s something you or your staff did. Your front desk coordinator was curt or you had an emergency and couldn’t spend much time, catching up with them.

Treat your patients like VIPs. Pretend your patients are actually the Rolling Stones or whoever your favorite musical artist is. Make every patient visit to your practice a special one.

Stop Breaking Down (from Exile on Main Street)

When systems are old, they constantly break down. When systems aren’t documented, team members don’t know what to do. When team members aren’t trained on the systems, things don’t get done the right way.

Practicing with outdated systems is like trying to run a marathon with 20-pound weights tied to your ankles. You’re going to expend a lot of energy trying to accomplish the simplest tasks. As those systems continue to age, those weights get heavier and heavier.

So, you have choice… tolerate old, inefficient systems or replace them.

Gimme Shelter (from Let It Bleed)

Some days, it’s hard being the boss. There are times when you’ve got to interact with unhappy patients, upset team members and difficult colleagues. As the practice owner, the buck stops with you. Of course, you should delegate all the small, non-clinical stuff to your team. But the big stuff still falls on your shoulders. And that makes it incredibly challenging to leave the job behind when you go home for the day.

To be an effective CEO, you need time away from the practice and you need to protect that time or else you end up working 12–14 hours every day, which isn’t good for you or your family.

What’s the point of owning a practice that produces $2 million a year if you have no time to enjoy your success and no one to enjoy it with?

Every dentist needs a life outside your practice. That means spending time with family and friends. That means pursuing hobbies and taking vacations. That means having down time, where you do absolutely nothing. Owning a dental practice can be all-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be.

Time Waits for No One (from It’s Only Rock’n’Roll)

Your practice may have been doing great five years ago. But not so much right now. Dentistry is in a constant state of flux, and you have to keep up. Your once-new systems five years ago are now outdated. They don’t perform like they used to. Your practice has changed in terms of services, technology, software, goals and personnel, yet you’re still trying to force those old systems to do things they’re no longer capable of doing.

Change is a constant in business and life. If you do nothing to keep up, you will eventually be passed by. Your practice is the best investment you ever made, but it’s an ongoing investment. You can’t expect a plant to grow if you never water it. The same is true for your practice. To grow your practice, you need to invest in it… that means new technology, equipment, software, training, systems, décor, etc. Maybe not every year, but not once every 10 years either. You don’t want to be the owner of a fixer-upper practice. That’s a hard way to practice, and in the future that will be a hard practice to sell.

Satisfaction (from Hot Rocks)

Are you happy with your practice and your career? While a certain amount of dissatisfaction acts as fuel for making positive changes, you don’t want to dread waking up and going to the practice every day. That’s no way to have a career and, most important, that’s no way to live.

If you are unhappy about how your practice is performing, make a list of everything you’re dissatisfied with. Examine the list. What do you have in your power to fix? Go for the low-hanging fruit first. Don’t like how the doctor’s office is set up? Stay late and rearrange it. Once you get the easy stuff done, move to the more challenging fixes.

If you don’t have the skills or the know-how to improve the situation, get help. Have a tax issue? Call an accountant. Want a new business structure? Seek the advice of a dental-knowledgeable attorney. Need help with your management and marketing systems? Get the assistance of an expert consultant.

Aftermath

Taking advice from the Rolling Stones may seem a little far-fetched, but how many musical acts have been as successful as the bad boys of rock’n’roll? The next time your practice is giving you the blues, crank up your favorite Stones album… you’ll not only get to enjoy some in-your-face rock’n’roll, but perhaps also some relevant practice management advice as well.


Additional Resource

Need an Emotional Rescue? Read a free excerpt from Dr. Levin’s popular book, Get a Life and Keep It, by clicking here.
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Let Your Team Do What You Hired Them to Do

Let Your Team Do What You Hired Them to Do

Dentists are often perfectionists. That’s a blessing and a curse. It’s great to have high standards, but many dentists feel compelled to perform non-clinical tasks because they like things done a certain way. Unfortunately, putting too much on your plate is a sure recipe for high stress and endless frustration.

If you feel overworked and overstressed, try this… As you go through your day doing what you what you normally do, ask yourself, “Who else could be doing this task?”

It’s amazing how many non-clinical and administrative duties dentists take on. Maybe when first entering practice, dentists had to pitch in here and there because their team was small and overworked.

But there comes a point when you have to give away all those non-clinical activities that are eating up your time. That’s what your team is for, and that’s why you rely on experts, whether they are accountants, payroll companies, consultants, etc.

You went to dental school to be a dentist, not a phone operator, scheduler or cashier. Don’t get caught up doing your staff’s jobs. Your time in the office is better spent taking care of patients and running the practice as a CEO. Anything else is just a distraction.


Additional Resource

Ready to Manage like a CEO? Learn more about our management consulting program by clicking here.
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The Power of Power Words

The Power of Power Words

Everyone learns to talk at an early age. Somehow we think this means we are all excellent speakers. Unfortunately, most of us are just adequate communicators. For dental practices, this is a challenge… because successful interactions with patients depend on clear, effective and positive communication.

Without superior verbal skills, staff members (and dentists) will find it difficult motivating patients to accept treatment, pay bills on time, and refer friends.

For 32 years, Levin Group has educated dentists on the importance of scripting. One key component of effective scripts is something we call power words. When used properly, they create energy. Why is that important? Because energy creates trust. People with high energy are more attractive to others, their energy is contagious, and what they recommend is acted on.

Can You Feel the Power?

What are some power words? Wonderful, excellent, terrific, fantastic, unbelievable, outstanding, delighted are all examples. What’s the most powerful power word? If you guessed power, you would be wrong. The answer is love.

Not love in a romantic sense, but rather from a viewpoint of appreciation. Let’s look at some examples of what I mean…You’ll love the way your new smile looks… You’ll love meeting our dentist and team… You’ll love our new extended hoursYou’ll love meeting our new hygienist.

Don’t believe me. Try adding a few of these phrases to your interactions with patients and see what happens. You’ll love the results. Sorry, couldn’t help myself there.

Power words are a life-changing concept that will attract other people to you and create far better results. As one dentist said recently, “I’m using power words in every aspect of my life, and it amazes me how much nicer people have become.”


Additional Resource

Read a free excerpt from Dr. Roger P. Levin’s book Essential Scripts for Patient Communication. Go here and click on the “Read an Excerpt” button.

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Service with a Shrug?

Service with a Shrug?

I had dinner the other night in a restaurant that came highly recommended. Although the food was excellent, service was very slow. We rarely saw our server, and when we needed anything, I actually had to get up to ask someone to help us. We were told they were having a slight problem in the kitchen.

Under normal circumstances, the slow service might have ruined the evening for me. As it happened, I wasn’t in a hurry and didn’t let it bother me, until…

At the end of the meal, the maître d’ stopped by our table to ask how the evening had been. I said, “Well, since you asked…” and proceeded to calmly explain the problems we had experienced with slow service. His only reply was, “I’m sorry to hear that.” As he walked away, I realized his question was nothing more than a “courtesy.” He had no intention of doing anything about the problem—not even bothering to explain why it happened.

Overcoming Mistakes

I wouldn’t have expected a discount or anything else from the restaurant. We’ve all experienced slow service from time to time. But the maître d’ obviously doesn’t understand one of the cardinal rules of customer service. When you make a mistake (and you will), what matters most is how you recover. Had he simply given me his card and suggested I call ahead next time so he could ensure I had a better experience, I would have walked out happy—and would definitely have taken him up on his offer. Instead, I won’t be returning to that establishment.

A dental practice is a service business, too. When there’s a problem, your response can either make—or break—the relationship. If you pretend nothing happened or give lip service to fixing the problem, there’s a good chance you’ll lose that patient.

If, however, you apologize for the problem and then find a way to make it right, you’ve strengthened the bond between the patient and practice. And that should always be the goal.


Additional Resource

For more on this subject, download Dr. Levin’s free whitepaper, “Stage III Customer Service,” by clicking here.

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Learn to spot market opportunities.

Learn to spot market opportunities. The most successful businesses are those whose leaders recognize emerging opportunities in their market—before their competitors do. When you see new situations unfolding or patterns changing, think about their financial impact on your surgical practice. Some changes will open the door for you to bring greater success to your practice, if you quickly recognize their potential.

Marketing Monday: Want to improve your new patient numbers? Learn more about our Marketing Consulting Program by clicking here.

Go and get grab your copy now!