Are you a dental practice owner who feels overwhelmed and frustrated by too much stress?
Can you relate to the term “burning the candle at both ends”?
If there is stress in your practice, you can be certain your patients pick up on it. And if it’s bothersome enough to your patients, you may lose them.
My name is Jennifer Pearce. I am the founder, owner, and lead executive coach at Prosperity Dental Solutions. With 25 years of experience in the dental world, I’ve seen it all when it comes to stressors in a dental practice.
I’ve also helped hundreds of practice owners learn how to decrease and manage their stress. In fact, it’s one of the things I love to do most.
Now I’d like to share four secrets with you to help you deal with the stress that has you frustrated and overwhelmed so you can enjoy your profession. Once you have a better understanding of what is causing it and learn how to make changes to reduce it, you can get on a path to profitability and success.
Secret #1 to Reduce Stress: Nip Conflict in the Bud
Nothing brings on stress the way conflict does. Whether you have one toxic employee or a whole group of people who don’t get along, the problems can seem endless. And it leads to a tense, stressful environment.
Many business owners and bosses feel like problems between others are not their problem. After all, the ones not getting along are adults and should be able to work things out, right?
If there is even a hint of conflict, take action to create solutions.
Otherwise, negative feelings and little issues fester and lead to bigger problems. Think about it—when two people don’t get along and hate working together, it is most often because of a build-up of many things.
When you ignore conflict, your team members feel like you don’t care. It can lead to negative attitudes and hurt feelings. Team members take sides, gossip, and become less productive and effective. They also smile less.
And if conflict causes enough negativity, your team members may find another job.
If you want your team members to have smiles for each other and your patients, encourage a team atmosphere. When everyone feels like a member of the same team, they get along better. They also treat your patients with more kindness and compassion.
Let your team know you care about them. Ask them how things are going and what you can do to improve things. Let them help you create solutions. But make sure to keep these conversations positive and don’t allow shame or blame to creep in.
If you have a toxic employee, tell her if she doesn’t change, you will have to take action. If things don’t improve, take action. Even if it means getting rid of her.
Secret #2 to Reduce Stress: Organize Your Schedule
Do you ever have some days where you can’t keep up and run late for each patient, and other days where you sit around with nothing to do? Talk about stress.
Stop the chaos!
Do what it takes to get your schedule organized. You may need to write out some guidelines and train the team members who schedule patients, or you might need to hire a scheduling coordinator. Keep daily production goals the priority.
Maybe you have found yourself running behind because you performed a procedure that took you an hour, but the patient was booked for 30 minutes.
Don’t let this happen. Have a written list for how long each procedure takes. Otherwise, the team member scheduling the patient has to guess how long to book them for. Then, if you feel like a certain procedure for a certain patient will take more than the usual time, let the scheduler know to book the appointment for a longer time slot.
Develop a plan for last-minute no-shows and cancellations. For instance, you may want your team members to ask each patient if they would like a call if a slot opens up for an earlier appointment. You might be surprised how many patients appreciate helping you fill in last-minute holes.
Secret #3 to Reduce Stress: Improve Patient Acceptance
If you don’t have a great patient acceptance percentage, why not?
It can be stressful and frustrating when patients don’t agree to treatment that you know they need. Take steps to increase the percentage.
The number one way to do this?
Most patients who don’t accept the treatment plan reject it because they don’t understand the importance. Or they don’t trust you that they really need it.
Some ideas to help you convince them include:
- Spend time with them
If you are stressed out and running late, you probably aren’t spending enough time with your patients. Take the time the patient needs to help them understand why they should spend so much money on a root canal and crown. Also, while you are with them, take some time to get to know them. And let them get to know you.
- Show as you tell
Utilize your technology. Show them images and models. Give them a visual of what is going on inside their mouth, what it can lead to if they don’t fix it, and how you are going to fix it.
- Take advantage of your hygienists’ knowledge
Your hygienists know a lot. When done properly, they can be your best salesforce. Train them to build trust with patients by getting to know them, educating them, and answering questions.
- Add an extra five minutes to the schedule for the dentist and hygienist for each patient
When you pad the schedule a bit, it gives you and the hygienists more time to talk with your patients. This builds trust and rapport and allows time for education.
- Consider hiring a treatment coordinator
A treatment coordinator can spend all the time needed with a patient as they educate, provide information, and answer any questions. Have them do this in a relaxed environment outside of the dental chair to reduce the patient’s stress. This allows them to feel freer to ask more questions and keeps them from feeling rushed. This person can also follow up with patients who are hesitant and don’t commit to treatment.
Secret #4: Hire Me!
Helping dental practice owners become successful and profitable is my passion!
In fact, when I founded Prosperity Dental Solutions, my goal was to help dentists overcome the stresses of practice ownership and assist them with making the most of all the amazing opportunities practice ownership has to offer.
I utilize a holistic approach to:
- Create the path
- Lead the vision
- Systemize for predictable success
- Create team balance and structure
- Teach delegation
- Keep structures accountable
If you dream of a stress-free practice that is profitable, enjoyable, and productive, give me a call!
Call (817) 975-4576 today for your free consultation.