Respond to team conflict quickly and calmly. It may be tempting to ignore conflict, but it’s better to respond right away as a mediator. The dentist or office manager should meet privately with the team members involved, facilitate a solution and make it clear that continuing conflict will not be tolerated.
Put scripts into your own words. Scripts should not be recited word for word, like a speech you’ve memorized. Learn to communicate the scripted points in a way that’s natural for you. Scripts are training tools that will help you present consistent information and answer patient questions effectively.
Advice for the Pediatric Dentist – Put business on your list of CE priorities. To succeed in the new dental economy, you need more than clinical skills. You also need to know how to manage a team and run your business efficiently. Take advantage of the many opportunities for business education, including online resources, books, articles, seminars and dental organization programs.
Performance Target: Keep 98% of all patients scheduled at all times. Start with scripting to make sure parents don’t leave without scheduling their son’s or daughter’s next appointment. Follow-up in 24 hours with those who don’t. Also contact any parents of overdue patients to encourage them to get back on schedule.
Make eye contact. When speaking with patients, always make eye contact throughout the interaction. Patients want to feel that they are your number-one concern. If you’re looking down or going through paperwork, they may feel they aren’t a priority.
Management Monday: Check out Dr. Levin’s whitepaper, “5 Ways to Improve Interpersonal Relationships with Patients,” by clicking here. Save 25% with code TOD25.
Ask parents for feedback. Many pediatric dentists and teams have only a vague notion of how parents truly feel about their practices. Without specific data, patient satisfaction is difficult to gauge. Practices should survey parents annually to gain a better understanding of how they feel about the office. The data will either validate what you are doing or pinpoint areas where improvements can be made.
Advice for the Hygienist – Sharing clinical information with the dentist. It’s important that you develop an effective process for presenting clinical information to the pediatric dentist in front of parents. Good hygienist–doctor communication builds professional credibility and results in greater parent confidence in the practice.
Redesign systems one at a time. Rather than trying to update all your systems at once, start with the scheduling system and then move on from there. Fill your new scheduling capacity by improving systems for case presentation, marketing, “WOW” customer service, etc. As each system comes online, your practice will run better and do better as a business.
Dispense home care products at the practice. In addition to educating parents about the importance of proper home oral health care for their child, create more value by offering recommended products along with instructions about how to use them. This will not only show how much your practice cares, it will also be a valuable convenience for parents—especially if you sell the products at-cost or at discounted prices.
Improve office efficiency with performance reviews. These annual evaluations reinforce exceptional achievement, identify areas for improvement and motivate team members to reach their potential. Although focused on individual team members’ performance, they will also have a positive impact on practice performance.