Principles of Practice Leadership: Bring out your inner “coach.” Understand that the relationship between a leader and a follower works best when it’s like that of a teacher and a student. Rather than just giving orders, give guidance. Focus on bringing out your team members’ better qualities and helping them develop new skills.
Advice for the Orthodontist – Set clear expectations. To perform well, team members need to know what they are supposed to accomplish. Providing staff accurate job descriptions helps them fully understand what they will be held accountable for. If specific tasks need to be completed on a certain day, the dentist should convey that information to staff members during the morning meeting.
Advice for the Treatment Coordinator (TC) – Develop greater synergy with the doctor during the consult. By carefully scripting the consult, the TC and doctor can complement each other without being redundant or wasting time. The goal is for the doctor to spend only 10−15 minutes with the patient (and parent), while the rest is in the hands of the TC.
Improve communication with scripting. Look at any successful ortho practice and you will see an office that communicates extremely well. Communication affects every aspect of the patient and parent experience, from the first phone call to the consult to subsequent appointments. Use value-building scripts to improve communications throughout the practice.
Answer calls by the third ring. Whenever the phone rings, it may be a parent of a prospective new patient. Regardless of how busy the practice may be, pick up the call quickly and be prepared… with scripting… to make an excellent first impression, build value, and get the relationship off to a great start.
Use multiple resources to promote your practice in the community. Your ortho practice should utilize various marketing outlets, including your website and social media, to create greater awareness about your services. Establish a presence on the appropriate social networks, contribute to your community newspaper, give presentations at schools and sponsor local sports teams.
Leave personal problems at home. Patients and their parents should never be able to tell that your day didn’t start off so well because you got caught in traffic. Nothing in your behavior should suggest that you are anxiously awaiting a phone call or email. Patients and parents should only see caring, upbeat professionalism from you. Handle personal issues outside of the office.
Do your part to make delegation work. Everyone on the practice team needs to understand the value of delegation and help make it work. The objective is to give responsibility for virtually all administrative duties to staff members. This enables the dentist to focus on doctor-only activities… increasing practice productivity.
Advice for the Marketing Coordinator – Diversify. Don’t rely on just a few strategies throughout the year. A greater variety of strategies—implemented consistently throughout the year—will appeal to a wider audience of referring doctors and parents, generating more word-of-mouth referrals and, ultimately, bringing in more new patients.
Take advantage of in-office and offsite training opportunities. Whether it’s a lunch-and-learn, a dental conference, tradeshow or seminar, make the most of training opportunities when they occur. Anything you can do to develop your skills or learn new ones should be seriously considered.
Tuesday Training: Watch Dr. Levin’s video “Interpersonal Communication – Get Along with Everyone” by clicking here.