Build value for the appointment. This is the single most effective way to eliminate the problem of no-shows. Parents who appreciate the value of their appointments are far less likely to miss them. Extolling the benefits of regular appointments should begin the moment a new patient makes initial contact with the office. Creating value should take place at the front desk, in the operatory and any time parents and patients are interacting with staff members or the doctor.
Additional Resource: Watch Dr. Levin’s video, “Value Creation Scripting” by clicking here.
Be on time. You want your patients to be prompt for their appointments on time. But do you run on time? If you run late, parents may gradually begin to bring their children late because they know they will have to wait for a shorter period of time. When you’re late, you’re literally teaching parents to be late.
Management Monday: Check out Dr. Levin’s whitepaper, “Dentist as CEO – Effective Scheduling & Practice Growth,” by clicking here.
Stay cool in hot situations. What do you do when a parent is argumentative? First, lean back to diffuse any negative energy. Second, commiserate with the parent by saying “Mr. Smith. I’m delighted that you shared this with me. We want to try to satisfy you if we can.” Third, there is occasionally a parent who is so over-the-top that you cannot win. Let the parent say what they have to say, apologize for their unhappiness, and, if possible, try to find a solution. If you can’t resolve the matter just remember, there are some patients who may not be the right fit for your practice.
Friday Freebie: Watch Dr. Levin’s video, “Working Without Drama” by clicking here.
Appoint more than one staff member to handle practice finances. Reduce the opportunity for a team member to falsify accounts by having more than one person working on practice finances. Never let the same individual who collects the money make the deposits. In addition, use an outside accounting firm to conduct unscheduled audits. A series of checks and balances––with the appropriate in-house and outside oversight––can help prevent any financial impropriety.
Additional Resource: Read a FREE excerpt from Dr. Levin’s book, “Practice Finance,” by clicking here.
Advice for the Pediatric Dentist – Make most non-clinical decisions quickly, or delegate them. The majority of the administrative decisions made in a dental office every day will not make or break the practice. But spending a lot of time pondering them will erode productivity. Be decisive. Better yet, stop micromanaging and delegate lower-level decision-making to team members.
Whitepaper Wednesday: Check out Dr. Levin’s whitepaper, “CEO’s Make Decisions Quickly,” by clicking here.
Advice for the Hygienist – Educate parents about periodontal disease. In addition to cavity prevention, hygienists should stress to parents that poor oral care habits can lead to bigger problems when their children become adults. Periodontal disease often results in the loss of permanent teeth. Emphasize to parents that establishing a good oral care regimen now will have long-lasting benefits for their children.
Additional Resource: Watch Dr. Levin’s video, “The New Hygiene Appointment” by clicking here.
Keep an eye on parents and patients. When you’re presenting treatment be sure to make good eye contact. When you look at people directly it shows a high level of concentration, focus, and belief and in what you say. When you look away it can create a level of suspicion. If you’re uncomfortable keeping consistent eye contact, simply select a spot on their forehead just above the eyes to stare at during your discussion.
Management Monday: Download Dr. Levin’s FREE whitepaper, “The Element of Trust in Case Acceptance,” by clicking here.
For more efficient use of your time, review systems checklists regularly. The practice should have a simple written checklist for every management and marketing system used. Before operating a system you haven’t used for some time, be sure to run through the steps on the checklist beforehand and keep it nearby as you work. Even checklists for systems you use frequently should be reviewed regularly to prevent “drift” from the documented procedures.
Friday Freebie: Watch Dr. Levin’s video, “Systems Implementation” by clicking here.
Manage parent expectations about wait times. If the practice is running behind schedule, let parents know when they can expect to be seen and apologize for the inconvenience. Offer to reschedule parents who have other obligations. Keeping everyone updated is key to managing expectations and providing excellent customer service.
Additional Resource: Read a FREE excerpt from Dr. Levin’s book, “Power Cell Scheduling,” by clicking here.
Do something to improve your practice this week or month. Simply select one thing. Most people don’t focus on improvement at all and others try to improve everything all at once. A better way is to select one specific thing, big or small, that you will improve in the practice. Once that’s done you can select the next one.
Whitepaper Wednesday: Check out Dr. Levin’s FREE whitepaper, “The Practice Vision: A Powerful Tool for Growth,” by clicking here.