Create strong connections between team members. Even a small group of people who work together will develop highly complex interconnections—some positive, some not. As practice leader, you can (and should) take responsibility for team relations. Actively encourage cooperation and camaraderie while discouraging conflict and negativity.
Monitor practice financials. Practice leaders must regularly track overhead and production. This data will enable you to see how your practice is progressing toward its profitability goals. With accurate and up-to-date financial information, you can make better decisions regarding future investments in the practice, including marketing and technology.
Look for ways to achieve the practice vision. A vision forces the practice to clearly focus on objectives. It maps out a clear direction for your practice over the next three years so that the doctor and the team can enjoy the highest levels of satisfaction. The excitement of pursuing a realistic vision makes working in the practice a more rewarding experience.
Try to mirror the patient’s body language. When meeting a new patient or recommending treatment, using the right body language can help put the patient at ease. If the doctor or treatment coordinator subtly imitates the patient’s body language, it will communicate a sense of empathy and understanding.
Advice for the Orthodontist – Update management systems. Many ortho practices are operating far below their potential because of outdated systems. Inefficient systems lead to decreased production and increased stress for the ortho team. The longer a practice operates this way, the greater the loss and the higher the stress. Replace systems every 3–5 years to achieve optimal operational efficiency.
Memorize the practice’s vision. Your practice will achieve greater success—more quickly—if everyone on the team knows what success looks like. That’s what a vision statement provides. Created and shared by the doctor, the vision shows where the practice should be in three years. By memorizing it, you’ll be inspired to make it a reality.
Don’t hesitate to ask for referrals. Appropriate scripts help team members motivate more adult patients and parents to refer family and friends. For example, at the end of the appointment, the front desk coordinator can say, “We love having patients like your daughter. Please tell your friends about us.” This kind of attention will keep parents and patients referring to your practice.
Scripting Tip – If possible, avoid saying “no” to parents and patients. When you say “no,” the only thing parents and patients hear is that you aren’t going to help them. Instead of saying “No, we can’t see Bobby/you on Tuesday,” you can certainly say “We can see him/you on Thursday.” Notice that instead of telling parents and patients what isn’t available, you are sharing with them what is available. It allows you to focus on what is possible versus what isn’t.
Deliver “WOW” customer service. Patients who have a very positive experience at your practice will probably tell others about it. When they tell their friends about how well they were treated, you’ll get more referrals and your reputation in the community will grow.
Additional Resource: Read an excerpt from Dr. Levin’s book, “Customer Service Secrets of Top-Producing Specialty Practices,” by clicking here.
Advice for the Orthodontist – Replace outdated computers and software. Technological innovation moves at an increasingly accelerated pace. Trying to get by with 10-year-old computers or software is like asking employees to work with one hand tied behind their back. Every time a computer crashes, it’s costing your practice hours of lost productivity. Consider upgrading computers and software every five years.