4 Secrets to Reducing Stress in Your Dental Practice Ownership

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

reducing stress in dental practice

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?

Wrong.

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?

Patient education.

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
  • Simplify
  • 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.

3 Team Building Ideas for Dentist Offices

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

team building in your dentist office

While creating beautiful smiles for your patients may be what you do best, it’s just as important to keep your team smiling!

If your dental practice is not running smoothly and productively, there could be a problem with the office culture.

Here’s a question for you: What is the culture of your dental practice?

Do employees show up each day to work? Does everyone occasionally attend a staff meeting? Do the workers call each other co-worker?

Or does everyone share part of their life as a member of a team, coming together with support, assistance, and encouragement to improve smiles? There’s a popular saying that is popular because it is so true: Teamwork is the dream work. But also understand—teamwork doesn’t have to be a dream. You can make it a reality.

When you have a team, everyone is happier. Including your patients.

My name is Jennifer Pearce, and I’m the owner, founder, and lead executive coach at Prosperity Dental Solutions. I’ve been involved in dentistry for almost a quarter of a century, including 18 years as a practice administrator and four years as co-owner of several successful practices. Trust me when I say—I know the dental industry and what it takes to have a successful team.

In this article, I’m going to let you in on some great tips and ideas, including 3 team building ideas for your dentist office.

  • Idea #1: Open Communication
  • Idea #2: Create a Team Atmosphere
  • Idea #3: Offer Rewards and Incentives

Team Building Idea #1: Open Communication

One of the most common reasons people feel like they are going to work as an employee rather than being part of a team is lack of communication. Each team member should feel comfortable and confident about talking to every other member of the team.

Sure, an “open-door policy” is a great start, but it’s not enough.

Communication needs to be ongoing and all-encompassing. Think of it like hygiene. You don’t just wash your hands once in the morning, and then you’re good all day. You also don’t just wash your hands. You take a shower. Wash your hair. Brush and floss.

Make a commitment to promote healthy communication between all team members. To begin the process, hold a team meeting.

The team meeting should include:

  • A safe, positive atmosphere
  • Let everyone know they will be heard
  • Squash any judgment, negativity, or finger-pointing
  • Make sure each team member knows the vision and mission of your practice
  • Layout your expectations and goals
  • Ask them for their input regarding what works well and what doesn’t
  • Ask outright the team’s perception of current communication
  • Get their ideas for improving communication
  • Encourage them to address any problems as they arise
  • Inquire if the team members feel they receive adequate feedback about performance

Now that the lines of communication are open, keep it going. Schedule regular team meetings. This shows your availability and proves your commitment to the team. You could do shorter, more focused meetings each week, and longer, more open ones once a month.

At the monthly meetings, consider asking open questions. For instance:

  • What was the biggest challenge you faced this month?
  • What did we accomplish, or what goal did we meet?
  • What is working well or not working well?
  • Is there anything we can do to improve things?

Have a daily morning huddle. If you’ve ever watched a sports team in action, you’ve seen them huddle. The huddle allows them to communicate and encourage each other. Keep it brief—maybe 10 minutes—focused, and on-time. This allows the team to check-in, set daily goals, and discuss what the day looks like.

Team Building Idea #2: Create a Team Atmosphere

When people like each other, they feel more like a team member. Okay, so not everyone can always get along with everyone else, but when people have a chance to get to know each other, harmony comes easier.

Create opportunities for non-work-related activities to boost friendships. This increases morale and productivity.

Help your team members build friendships and harmony. Consider some of the following in and out of office ideas:

  • Plan regular fun activities outside the office—or put someone else in charge of doing this. Bowling, mini-golf, happy hour, a cooking class, a baseball game, batting cages, roller skating. The sky is the limit. Get creative. You will soon appreciate how much getting silly and laughing together builds a team.
  • Buy them lunch. You’d be surprised how much your team members will appreciate a free meal! You can bring in lunch for everyone at once or treat one member at a time as you get to know them.
  • Encourage potlucks. The fastest way to someone’s heart is through the stomach. Let the team members who love to cook or have a prized recipe shine. Those who don’t cook can contribute drinks, chips, or bread. Consider holiday potlucks and birthday month celebrations.
  • Bring in an ice cream truck to treat everyone with their favorite option.
  • Have dress-up days based on themes and offer prizes for the most creative, best design, etc. Consider superhero day, pajama day, silly socks, luau theme, favorite sports team, etc.
  • Get everyone involved in volunteering. Serve the less-fortunate together at a soup kitchen or enter a 5K as a team.
  • Experience continuing education together. This not only encourages bonding, but it helps improve the care for your patients. It could be a seminar, webinar, learning lunch, or in-office training.
  • Want to go really crazy? Close the office for a day and use work hours for a fun, non-CE event, such as opening day at the ballpark or a day trip somewhere.

Once you get to know your team better through open communication, you can tailor activities to fit them better.

BONUS:

When you do fun activities, post pictures and videos on social media. Share it in newsletters and on your website. Patients like to know the people who care for their oral health enjoy having fun together.

Team Building Idea #3: Offer Rewards and Incentives

People work for paychecks. While many employers believe the paycheck is enough of reward, know you can do better. It doesn’t have to be big, dramatic, or expensive. You just want to acknowledge outstanding performance.

Look for ways to boost morale by offering rewards and incentives. Some may be known, such as a bonus or team event for hitting a certain goal. But you should also consider handing out unexpected acknowledgments.

Here are some ideas:

  • Have a stack of gift cards or awards for things like an ice cream break and hand them out as you catch team members going above and beyond.
  • Recognize team members for doing well publicly.
  • Have a corkboard in the breakroom to post notes regarding the positive behaviors of team members. Encourage everyone to write notes to each other.
  • Consider gifts for reaching goals. This could be something like tickets to an event, amusement park, or movie, flowers, a fruit basket, a trip to the spa, or gift cards to a restaurant. Again, get creative.
  • Consistently encourage team members.

Get Started on Building Your Team Today

If you want to get serious about building a team that works well together and makes your practice more enjoyable, I can help. Contact me online or call (817) 975-4576 today to get started!

Happy team building!

3 Tips for Better Patient Recall Numbers

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

better patient recall numbers

When it comes to patient recall in your dental practice, understanding the “how” is more important than the “why.” After all, the “why” is pretty obvious. Regular visits are vital to both your patients’ overall health and the practice’s profits.

My name is Jennifer Pearce, and I am the founder, owner, and lead-coach at Prosperity Dental Solutions. With over two decades of dentistry experience, I understand the importance of recall. I also know the secrets to better patient recall numbers.

Tip #1: Improve Patient Recall Numbers in the Treatment Room

The dental hygienist and doctor both play an important role in ensuring patients schedule and keep routine dental visits.

Make sure the dental hygienist has enough time to discuss the purpose of preventative care. Have them stress the importance of avoiding more costly, invasive treatments by keeping oral health a priority. Minor issues caught early can be resolved before requiring big procedures that cost big money.

The dentist should also be involved. Instead of saying, “Everything looks great,” or telling patients they’re doing a good job, give them reasons to return. Glib one-liners may sound friendly, but they can also minimize the need to keep the next appointment.

Discuss any potential concerns noticed on the exam and what to watch out for. Even if their exam is perfectly normal, talk about common issues with patients their age or who have the same medical condition, such as diabetes. When the doctor goes into detail, it helps patients understand the reason to return.

Also, while it may seem obvious the patient needs to return in six months, patients pay more attention when it is the doctor telling them. This makes it more likely to get the patient to commit to their next visit.

Tip #2: Improve Patient Recall Numbers by Front Office Staff

When the patient checks out, the front office should make sure their follow up is scheduled. A commitment to 100% reschedules makes an immense difference. If the patient says they can’t schedule because they don’t know what their availability will be, stress the importance of scheduling anyway. After all, a promise from them that they will call later to schedule an appointment gets forgotten too often.

Let the patient know you will call to remind them two weeks before the appointment, and they can change it if they need to. This also alerts them that the office will follow up, so they don’t view the call as an intrusion.

Also, have the front office check to see if the patient at the desk has family members needing appointments. Encourage the patient to schedule the entire family so they can be conveniently seen together. As a bonus, if a family has three dental appointments on the same day, they are less likely to cancel or no-show.

If several team members share in the patient recall responsibility, consider having a contest to see who schedules the most patients. A little financial incentive, tickets to an event, or a gift card to a nice restaurant can tremendously increase motivation.

You may also consider having at least one team member make phone calls during off-hours. Many patients have jobs and cannot answer the phone during normal business hours. The cost of a few hours of overtime is worth it if even one patient schedules.

And don’t forget about patients once they are on the schedule. Be sure to follow through with reminder and confirmation calls, texts, or emails.

Tip #3: Better Patient Recall Numbers Through Diversification

Different people have different preferred methods of communication. While data shows text messages have the best response rates, not all patients prefer texts. This is especially true with the older population. For them, hearing a voice and talking with someone makes them feel more cared about.

On the subject of phone calls, encourage your patients to save your practice number in their cell phone. With the high number of spam calls, more and more patients ignore calls from numbers they don’t recognize. Having your practice number saved makes it easier for them to reach you when needed and increases the likelihood they will answer when your office calls.

Ask your patients which communication medium they prefer—text, phone call, or email—and add this information into their chart. That way, you can be sure to reach out to them in a way they most appreciate.

Personalized letters, flyers, and special deals should also be considered.

For instance, many practices offer free teeth whitening for life for patients who keep their recall appointments. While it doesn’t have to be teeth whitening, offering a special incentive will motivate patients to schedule and keep appointments.

Are you Ready for Better Patient Recall Numbers?

Contact us online or call (817) 975-4576 today to see how we can improve your dental practice through increased patient visits.

Jennifer Pearce’s Secrets for Creating a Successful Dental Practice

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

Secrets for Creating Successful Dental Practice

Before you can create a successful dental practice, you must define success. What does success look like to you? Is it a full waiting room? A fully booked schedule? Happy patients? Hopefully, you aspire to higher things than just making it through the day and paying your bills.

To me, a successful dental practice is one you and your team love showing up for each day. It means building positive relationships with your patients while delivering care and quality services to them. A successful practice grows as it builds your professional reputation and offers financial security.

If that sounds like success to you, keep reading.

My name is Jennifer Pearce, and I am the founder, owner, and lead-coach of Prosperity Dental Solutions. My idea of success? Helping dentists define and achieve their idea of success. Whatever that means for you. My dream is to help you fulfill your dreams.

So, how do you deliver quality services that “WOWs” your patients and leaves lasting impressions on them?

Let me share some secrets with you.

Build a Successful Dental Practice by Building Relationships with Your Patients

One of the most important things you can do to be successful in your dental practice is to make sure your current patients want to keep coming back to you—even if they move away.

Today’s patients are smart. They know they have choices. If they don’t like the care or treatment they get, they know there are plenty of other dentists out there.

As smart as patients are, though, they also make assumptions. They believe all dentists know the same dental stuff. In other words, if they have a broken tooth that needs a crown, they figure any dentist they choose can handle placing a crown.

They don’t care to know how a crown is placed.

What they care about is how the dentist’s office treats them when getting the crown.

Are they welcomed and greeted by name when they enter? Is everyone friendly? Does the dentist treat them with care?

Are they treated like family?

How do you treat patients like family? By building relationships with them.

Get to know your patients. Find out what is important to them. Get creative. Go beyond having a picture of the patient on their chart. Have a notes section in each patient’s file that includes family member’s names, hobbies, careers, and other useful information. Make sure each team member asks them about something going on in their life.

Encourage team members to add to the notes section. For instance, if a patient tells the hygienist they are going on a cruise next month, she can add this to the notes and ask how the cruise went at the next visit.

It’s also important to give a piece of yourself to the patients. Let them get to know you. Of course, you don’t want to overwhelm them and make it seem like it’s all about you, but you can share a few details here and there. Keep it positive!

Another idea is to have a place for personal pictures of the team. Maybe a corkboard on the wall in the waiting room covered with pictures of the team members traveling or attending events. Include fun times around the office, like a Christmas party. This allows patients to get to know everyone a bit more and acts as a conversation starter.

Make Your Dental Practice Unique

Give patients a reason to choose your practice. Offer a unique service or amenity that impresses them.

Figure out what kinds of patients you most enjoy treating and cater to them.

For instance, if you like young families, don’t just have a play area for kids. Lots of dentists do that. Get creative. Bring someone in on certain days or during certain times to “man” the playroom and watch the kids. Can you imagine how much mothers of young kids would appreciate a babysitter so they can enjoy peace and relaxation while getting their dental care?

Have a “mommy room” where a mother in need can nurse a baby and change a diaper. Create a “no cavity club” that you share on social media (with mom’s permission).

Get your team involved and brainstorm ways to make your practice stand out from all the rest. You could even ask your patients for ideas.

Then use your uniqueness in your marketing material.

Appreciate Your Patients

Don’t just send your patients birthday cards, send them holiday cards too. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Valentine’s Day, Easter. If a veteran, be sure to acknowledge that as well.

When a patient sends you a referral, send them a thank you gift. It could be a gift card, flowers, a fruit basket. Whatever. When you show your appreciation, they will be more likely to refer more patients to you.

Have a business card drawing once a month. Let the prize be something the winner appreciates but also markets you. For instance, maybe a nice lunch or gift basket delivered to the patient’s place of work. Their co-workers will take notice.

Create raffle tickets patients can earn for things like showing up on time, liking you or making comments on your social media, referring patients, posting a positive review. Again, get creative. And make the raffle for something nice to encourage participation.

Start Building a Successful Dental Practice Today

Want to learn more ways to keep your patients happy and satisfied, so they keep coming back and refer others to you?

Contact me online or call (817) 975-4576 today to get started.

Here’s to you achieving all the success you dream of!

Jennifer Pearce Answers: How Do I Increase New Dental Patients

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

How to Increase New Dental Patients

Let’s face it. If you want your dental practice to be successful, you need to bring in new dental patients.

How many do you need? Well, that depends on several factors.

Most dental practices should acquire anywhere from 10-25 new patients a month. But if you are a specialist, brought on a new doctor without a patient base, or your practice is new, you need a lot more than that. With my help, you can understand all your numbers and learn how to attract new patients.

I’m Jennifer Pearce, founder, owner, and lead coach at Prosperity Dental Solutions. I have been involved in dentistry and improving dental practices for almost 25 years. If you don’t know how many new patients you need, you should.

But before I focus on how to achieve new dental patients, let’s talk about who really pays your bills.

Current patients.

New Dental Patients Vs Current Patients

Of course, bringing in new patients will always be important, but don’t let that focus keep you from caring for your current ones. You want the loyal patients who come to you two or three times a year to keep coming back.

Who do you think will be more likely to accept a treatment plan for a root canal, filling, or scaling and root planing? A patient you just met? Or the one who has known and trusted you for years?

In my next blog, I will discuss keeping the patients you already have.

Acquire New Dental Patients With Referrals

When someone is looking for a dentist, they have a lot of options. Why don’t patients just go to the closest dentist? Because all dentists are not the same.

People aren’t searching for a dentist who knows dentistry. They expect that of all dentists. What they want is a dentist they can trust. A dentist who will care for them with respect, kindness, and friendliness. So, they ask friends or family or go online to get feedback.

Believe it or not, patients are trusting online reviews more and more. In fact, many people trust an online review as much as a referral from a friend.

Don’t just be a dentist. Be the dentist patients come to for the way you deliver dentistry. Be the dentist your current patients will want to refer others to and make positive reviews about you.

And when you are that dentist, you can ask your patients to make referrals and post online reviews. As long as they like you, most patients are happy to help out when asked.

The more positive reviews and feedback you receive, the more new patients will walk through your door.

Ramp Up Your Online Presence

In today’s world, people are constantly on their phones, computers, and tablets. Online searches are so popular—Google has become a verb. You want to do everything you can to be where potential patients land when searching for a dentist. And once they land there, you want them to feel like you are the dentist they want.

Some ways to improve your online presence include:

  • Have an engaging website that funnels potential patients to the all-important “Contact Us” button. Unless you went to marketing school along with dental school, get some help with this. After all, you wouldn’t want a marketing person performing dentistry, would you? It may cost more to have someone else do it, but when you consider this is your 24/7 salesperson, it’s worth it.
  • Include a blog on your website. But not just any blog. Make it informative. Give out helpful information. The more time patients spend reading things you have to say, the more they trust you. Keep them reading with interesting and educational content. End each blog with your contact information and an invitation to call and schedule an appointment. It may seem obvious, but many blogs forget to do this.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is incredibly important and frustratingly complex. If you don’t know how to maximize SEO, you need someone who does.
  • Utilize directory listings. If you don’t have listings, get them. If you have them, update them. Fill in all the profile information. Add a picture. And make sure your information is consistent. Google likes consistency. For instance, don’t have your practice name on one site and your doctor name on another.
  • Respond to every review. If you can’t, assign someone else to. All reviews deserve a response. Even the negative ones. (They sometimes happen to the nicest people!) When you respond with an apology and make some kind of offer, like a gift to give you another chance, it lets others know you care and want your patients to be happy.

Engage in Social Media

Unless you want to avoid millennial patients, you should be utilizing social media. With this group of potential patients—if they don’t see you on social media, you don’t exist.

Social media can be a very powerful tool. That is, if you use it the right way. While it can be a great thing to link all your wonderfully written blogs to social media accounts, they are called social for a reason.

Get personal. Engage with people. Show what life is like in your practice. Include pictures of your office and staff. Post about your office party. Tag your manager on boss’ day. Get creative.

Which social media site is the best? By a longshot, Facebook is number one. One of the best parts of Facebook is Facebook Ads. You can target ideal patients in specific locations about services you love to provide.

If you can do more than one social media site, a second choice would be Instagram or Twitter. If you can handle three, do them all.

Are you ready for more new dental patients?

If you would like to learn more about attracting new dental patients and keeping your current ones happy, I would love to help you. Call me at (817) 975-4576 or contact me online today to schedule your free consultation.

Three Secrets to Increasing Productivity in Your Dental Practice

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

Increasing Productivity in Your Dental PracticeIf you think the secret to increasing productivity is to get busier, think again.

Don’t aim for busy. Aim for better. You see, how busy you are doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with profits. For example, have you ever gone somewhere for an appointment and found a packed waiting room? Did seeing all the people waiting make you believe the business must be bringing in a ton of money?

Or did it just frustrate you?

What if a packed waiting room only means inefficiency and chaos in the business? Surely you have worked with or known someone who is great at appearing busy while actually getting very little done.

My name is Jennifer Pearce. I am the founder, owner, and executive lead coach at Prosperity Dental Solutions. I’ve been helping dental practices achieve increased productivity and profits for over 23 years, and I can help you too.

Signs Your Business is Busy but not Productive

A waiting room full of patients is not a good thing.

Life is hectic. People are busy. Including your patients. No one appreciates having to wait. Your patients are most likely already anxious about going to the dentist. You don’t want to add frustration.

Realize this—if your patients are waiting, they have time to go online and publish a review about their wait. I doubt that’s the kind of reviews you want.

Other signs your practice is busy but not productive:

  • Team members are missing lunches.
  • Negative patient reviews that mention long waits.
  • Too much focus on filling the schedule without concerns about patient care.
  • Your schedule is booked out too far, making patients wait extended periods for routine exams.
  • Patients are leaving.
  • Profits are not growing.

Secret #1 to Increase Productivity—Increased Patient Satisfaction and Trust

The most important thing you and your staff can do to increase productivity is to increase patient satisfaction and trust. Patients who trust you and are happy tell their friends and leave positive reviews. This can become your best marketing tool. When potential patients are seeking a new dentist, reviews and word-of-mouth matter. A lot. Do not overlook this powerful marketing tool. Instead, take advantage of it.

Unexpected things happen in businesses. A full waiting room should be the unexpected instead of the norm. If it happens too often, changes should be made.

But you do want to prepare for the unexpected. When patients must wait, minimize their perception of waiting. Have a television, magazines, and the free use of WIFI available. Offer them something to drink.

Make sure your team understands the importance of letting your patients know what to expect. Be upfront. A simple, “I’m sorry about the unexpected delay” can go far. It should be followed by an estimated wait time. If it goes beyond the amount of time you tell them, your staff should get an update from the back and pass the information along.

Communicating with your patients lets them feel recognized and respected. It also allows them an opportunity to check email, get on social media, or make a phone call.

Go the extra mile. Have a place in patient notes to keep up with things important to them. If a patient mentions an upcoming vacation or important event during a visit, notating this gives your team an awesome opportunity to ask them how it went when they come back. Maybe a patient divulges their senior is about to graduate high school and head off to college. On their next visit, you can ask how the adjustment is going. These little things speak volumes.

When it comes to your hygienists, rather than overbooking them or keeping them hopping from room to room, pad their schedule for an extra five or ten minutes with each patient. This allows them to engage with patients as they build rapport and trust.

The more your patients trust your hygienists, the more likely they are to agree to needed treatments. Especially when the hygienist has the time to provide education and answer questions.

Case acceptance increases production.

When patients feel cared for and know they can trust you, they understand their treatment isn’t about money. This makes them happy. And more likely to leave positive reviews and ratings.

Secret #2 To Increase Productivity—A Streamlined Practice

A practice that runs like a well-choreographed ballet is efficient, and this increases productivity and patient satisfaction.

A backlog at the sterilization center slows everyone down. Make sure everything that may be needed is organized and readily available. Create a flow system with an entrance and an exit so team members aren’t bumping into each other.

Having a separate entrance to treatment rooms for the dental assistant is an excellent idea. This allows her to enter discreetly without having to walk around the patient’s feet, which can interrupt flow and make your patients uncomfortable.

Coordinate treatment rooms so that everything you and your assistant needs is well-stocked and within reach without having to roll around in the stool. When your supplies are organized properly, everything flows better. Four-handed dentistry increases productivity.

Disorganization leads to hunting for supplies, which wastes time and can increase anxiety for patients.

Secret #3 to Increase Productivity—Utilize Technology

Does your team confirm appointments? Perform everything involving scheduling?

If so, you may want to look into modern technology. An investment in software may be just what you need. Sure, there is a cost involved, but it’s not as much as paying hourly rates to your team. Automated systems provide reliability when it comes to confirming appointments and sending patient reminders. They can also provide you with statistics for important information like missed and completed appointments.

When patients decline to set a follow-up, an automated system can text or call them with a reminder when it’s time to reschedule.

Some systems allow for online self-scheduling. This not only saves your team time, but it allows patients who have an urgent need to schedule while your office is closed.

Have a system in place that allows your hygienists to set follow-up appointments. This increases rapport building and makes it more likely patients will schedule and show up. It also saves time for patients and reduces the workload for front-office team members.

If your practice still hands out a clipboard and pen to patients, you’re not as efficient as you could be. Reduce work for your team and improve accuracy by having a system that allows new patients to fill out paperwork online before their appointment. Invest in laptops or tablets for the patients who didn’t fill them out ahead of time or for returning patients who need to update information.

Is your practice paper charting? If yes, consider an upgrade. It’s worth the cost. Save our landfills and stop the needless slaughter of trees for the average 10,000 pages a year paper charting requires. Electronic charting is not only “green,” but it improves aesthetics by eliminating chart clutter and helps keep you HIPPA compliant.

Keep your finances in order and secure with today’s technology. This also increases accuracy, as human error can wreak havoc on important numbers.

Looking for more ways to increase productivity in your dental practice?

With over 23 years’ experience assisting dentists improve their practices, I have the experience and know-how needed to help you become more productive and profitable. Contact me online today or call (817) 975-4576 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Do Your Dental Practice Core Values Matter to the Team?

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

core values can increase profitability

When you and your team work together toward core values, profitability is increased.

If you are a dental practice owner who strives for being the best, making sure you have the right team in place is imperative. But is it enough to employ “good” people who are hard workers?

No.

To reach maximum profitability and productivity, you want team members who agree with and work together toward your shared values and goals.

Let’s face it—there are a lot of dentists out there. Why should a patient pick you? Most often, patients don’t choose a dentist based on what they do. They choose based on how the practice does it.

But before you can ensure your staff strives to achieve your goals based on your core values, you must know them yourself.

How do I know the Core Values for my Dental Practice Vision?

Nailing down the core values for your practice begins with a clear vision.

If you don’t fully understand your vision and core values, Prosperity Dental Solutions can help you create a vision growth Blueprint™ that is customized for you and your practice.

The best success in your dental practice is measured by how closely it fits your vision. Your vision defines who you and your practice are. The type of patient experience you want to provide and who your ideal patients are define your vision.

Is your vision to provide a pampering patient experience? Are your ideal patients young families? Would you prefer to treat seasoned professionals? Maybe you desire to offer affordable dentistry to the less fortunate?

Your core values are a product of your vision.

For instance, if your vision is to provide affordable dentistry, one of your core values should include keeping a trim budget.

On the other hand, if your vision is for a boutique experience, a core value should include only purchasing and utilizing the best equipment and materials.  You should pad the budget for items that pamper your patients, such as heated massage chairs, large televisions with Netflix, a fridge stocked with drinks, and an inviting coffee bar that includes tea, cappuccino, and espresso options.

If your vision is to serve the geriatric population, one core value could address safety. Think handrails, non-slip mats, and signs with larger letters.

Your core values support your vision and serve as a guide to achieving it. They shape the trajectory and direction of your practice.

What do Core Values and Team Members Have to do With Each Other?

Once you establish your core values, it is vital to share them with your team. Your staff is your biggest asset when it comes to patient satisfaction, marketing, the growth of your practice, and future success and profitability. They affect every aspect of your practice, so you want them on board with where you are headed.

Hold a meeting and let them know why you chose the values you did and the importance of them. Get their feedback. They can even help you brainstorm ways to achieve them.

If one of your values is education, offer to pay for classes and continued education. Encourage them to seek opportunities.

Show your employees you value them by asking for their input on setting specific goals. Let them know your anticipated results. Then, you can evaluate them based on how well they perform within your core values.

If the evaluation shows an employee doesn’t hold true to you and your practice, it may be time to hire someone else.

When your core values are true for you, your team, and your practice, profits and productivity rise. Patient satisfaction improves. Everyone achieves greater success and experiences an enhanced workplace culture.

Are You Ready to Reach New Heights in Your Dental Practice?

Contact Prosperity Dental Solutions online or call (817) 975-4576 today to set up your free consultation.

The Impact of Phone Etiquette on Your Dental Practice

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

dental practice phone etiquetteIt happens to all of us—frustration when making a phone call.

Maybe you have an urgent question and call during business hours—but after four rings, you hear a voicemail message. Or the person who answers immediately says, “Please hold.” After several minutes of music (or even worse, silence), you assume the person forgot about you, so you hang up.

Maybe you just want to talk with a human—not listen to a never-ending automated message that forces you to choose from a laundry list of options.

No one likes the above scenarios. They cause mistrust, irritation, and a lack of confidence. The results can be detrimental to a business. The customer calls the competitor instead. Probably even leaves a bad review for everyone to read.

Is your dental practice losing patients due to lack of phone etiquette? If you haven’t provided your team with proper phone training, then chances are good the answer is YES.

At Prosperity Dental Solutions, we offer coaching and consulting services to improve the profitability, accountability, and success of dental practices. Few areas can impact the health of your practice more than the telephone.

It’s important to understand that how your team handles phone calls has a direct impact on your business’ profitability. Here at Prosperity Dental Solutions, we offer phone training sessions so your team can build new patient appointments, improve patient satisfaction, and increase profits.

What first impression does your dental practice make?

As everyone knows, first impressions matter. When you consider the fact that most patients’ first contact with your practice is over the phone, you begin to realize the importance of proper phone training.

Don’t take the chance of losing potential patients to someone else because of a bad first impression.

When your practice phone rings during business hours, is it answered every single time? Ask your team. If they are missing phone calls, chances are you don’t know about it. Does your team realize the importance of the phone? If they are busy with a patient at the desk, do they ignore the potential patient who is calling? Set the expectation that the phone is answered 100 percent of the time.

The goal should be to answer every phone call on the second ring. The third ring is the “last chance ring,” right before voicemail picks up. Your team members should not allow a fourth ring to happen. And they shouldn’t answer on the first ring.

Why not the first ring?

While answering the phone is the priority, how your team members answer the phone is just as important. The tone of voice matters. Will the caller encounter a warm and welcoming tone? Or will they be turned off by an uncaring attitude? For the potential patient, the voice on the other end of the phone gives them an idea of how they will be treated in the office.

Get the first impression right. The small amount of time between the first and second ring is all it takes to focus and set the tone. It gives you the opportunity to take a deep breath, put a smile on your face, and direct your attention to the caller.

What lasting impression does your dental practice make?

Have you ever been on the phone with someone who was rushing you? Finishing your sentences, cutting you off, and redirecting you?

Maybe you’ve been met with a negative attitude from the person on the other end of the phone. You could sense the eye rolls and hear the sighs.

Compare that to the last phone conversation you had with someone who was a joy to talk with.

Now ask, what experience do your patients have when they call your practice? Are their questions answered? Do they feel valued and important?

Or are they left with the feeling that their call is a nuisance?

Do the answers they receive build confidence, or do they leave the patient feeling that the staff doesn’t have the time, patience, or ability to deal with their questions?

Sadly, many dental practice employees see answering the phone as an interruption. It takes them away from something they are trying to accomplish, and they get annoyed. And the patients sense that. If this happens in your practice, you can be certain it is costing you.

Instead, you want your team to see answering the phone as an opportunity. Each phone call can present the chance to schedule an appointment or solve a problem.

Don’t Let the Telephone be a Reason to Lose Patients

Avoid the most common phone mistakes, such as when:

  • The person answering the phone is not able to help the caller with questions
  • The team member answering the phone is distracted or annoyed
  • Patients are put on hold—and left there
  • Patients are transferred to someone else—and get voicemail
  • Voicemail messages are not returned in a timely manner

Don’t lose potential or existing patients due to poor phone etiquette. With proper training, team members can learn how to deal with phone calls the right way.

Make sure every team member who receives questions from patients has answers. Consider putting together an FAQ page that staff can refer to, so they don’t have to remember things on the spot. This not only adds to the comfort level of those answering the phones, but it also ensures that patients are given correct and consistent answers.

Let your staff know the importance of answering the phone with a smile. Did you know the brain releases endorphins when you smile? These endorphins increase happiness and reduce stress. Patients can actually “feel” the smile through the phone and will be more likely to set an appointment.

If the staff really is too busy to fully help the patient on the phone, instruct them to ask permission to call the patient back in a few minutes. And then actually call them back in a few minutes.

Emphasize the importance of focus. No one feels important if the person they are talking to is busy doing other things. Patients hear the clacking of a keyboard or papers shuffling in the background. And when staff members multitask, they miss things. Sometimes important things, like neglecting to document a severe allergy, heart condition, or history of joint replacement that requires prophylaxis antibiotics.

Emphasize the importance of a graceful goodbye. Thank patients for calling. Tell them it was a pleasure to speak with them. Invite them to call back if they have any more questions. And wait for the caller to hang up, in case they think of one more thing they want to discuss.

Start Increasing Your Profits by Improving Phone Etiquette

Your team members probably don’t want to turn patients off with their poor phone manners; they just haven’t been trained properly. Stop losing patients over the phone. Contact Prosperity Dental Solutions today to learn more about our phone training sessions.

Addressing the Problem of a Toxic Employee

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

Whether you’re opening a startup or you own an established dental practice, the hiring process can be daunting. In addition to being stressful and time-consuming, it can sometimes be costly. These are just a few of the reasons why many practice owners avoid terminating an employee, even if he or she is causing obvious problems in the workplace. Despite these factors, however, keeping a toxic employee on board can be far more costly in the long run.

Jennifer Pearce, founder and owner of Prosperity Dental Solutions, has over 24 years of experience in dental practice management. She can help you navigate these problems and show you how to handle the problem of a toxic team member.

Recognizing the Signs of a Toxic Employee

No two employees are the same, but there are a few common denominators when it comes to a toxic team member. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Dishonesty: This isn’t always characterized by theft or lies, though it certainly can be. Blaming others and refusing to accept responsibility can also indicate dishonesty – and it’s toxic to your practice.
  • Poor work performance: All team members need time to adjust when they come on board. However, a toxic individual will never rise above the bare minimum. If an employee isn’t doing what is expected, it’s time to re-evaluate.
  • Bad attitude: Passive-aggressiveness, snide comments, muttering, eye-rolling, constant complaining, and confrontational tones are signs of a bad attitude. Behaviors like these can spread negativity like wildfire, sending office morale into a downward spiral.
  • Lack of engagement: Everyone has an off day every now and then. But if an employee is consistently inattentive during daily huddles or refuses to accept responsibilities, it can lead to a toxic work environment.

If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s probably time to consider termination. Waiting too long can have a tremendous negative impact on your practice. If you let go of a toxic employee, you’ll often find that your team is immediately stronger and more productive.

A Toxic Employee Requires Prompt Attention

As a practice owner, every day is busy. If you need time to address a toxic employee, you’ll have to carve it out of your schedule. Yes, it can be inconvenient. But prompt action is necessary to avoid long-term problems. To put things into perspective, a single toxic employee can:

  • Directly reduce the number of new patients in your practice: If a toxic employee answers phones or interacts with potential patients, he or she can seriously hinder the image of your practice. In turn, this can lead to a significant loss in revenue.
  • Cause current patients to leave your practice: Patients listen to what’s going on in your office. If they sense toxicity or negativity, they may be inclined to leave. Even worse, they may tell other people about their experience.
  • Lead to the loss of your best team members: Your loyal employees deserve a positive work environment. If you tolerate a toxic team member, others may feel unappreciated or frustrated. They may feel that their only option is to find employment elsewhere.

Contact Prosperity Dental Solutions

Do you have a toxic employee at your office? If so, it’s important to understand how he or she affects your practice, your patients, and the rest of your team. To learn more, schedule a consultation with dental coach Jennifer Pearce. Call Prosperity Dental Solutions at (817) 975-4576. You can also email us at jennifer@prosperitydentalsolutions.com.

Avoiding Communication Breakdowns in Your Dental Office

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

We all know that communication is essential in personal relationships ­– and the same is true in the professional world. Proper communication improves your efficiency, boosts office morale, and helps your practice thrive. Without it, your business suffers. A few tips in dental practice management can help owners prioritize what’s important and prevent communication breakdown.

With over 24 years of dental practice management experience, Jennifer Pearce of Prosperity Dental Solutions can show you how to assess communication styles in your office and establish ways to get back on track.

Communication Breakdown Affects More Than Efficiency

Clear communication between the doctor and staff helps you run a more efficient practice. If you’ve been in the dental industry for very long, you probably already know this. But did you know that a lack of communication can lead to more than just inefficiency? According to a 2012 article from the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, approximately 80 percent of medical errors are due to miscommunication.[1] Furthermore, poor communication can cause a significant drop in office morale. When employees don’t feel heard, they don’t perform as well. In fact, according to Forbes, employees are far more likely to quit their jobs if they feel overlooked or ignored.[2] Avoiding communication breakdowns is one of the most effective paths to a healthy, successful practice.

The Importance of a Daily Huddle

If you’re not already holding a daily team meeting, start now. However, to ensure your meetings are fruitful, they must be organized. At least 10 to 15 minutes should be set aside every morning to discuss production, new patients, emergencies, and similar points of interest. It’s important to make sure that all team members feel heard during this meeting – and that each employee has a safe space to express any concerns.

Be Approachable

I’ve worked in many practices where the doctor seems too busy to be bothered – even when there’s an urgent matter at hand. Unfortunately, this means that problems aren’t always presented in a timely fashion. Make sure your team understands that non-urgent communication should be saved for slower times of the day – but emphasize that you’re never too busy to help them handle a tough situation.

Reward Good Ideas

Communication will thrive when your employees feel heard and appreciated. Did an employee have a good idea that will help the practice grow? Reward him or her accordingly. Consider giving them a promotion or a bonus. Even thanking them in the presence of their teammates can show that you truly appreciate their efforts.

Understand that Everyone Communicates Differently

Like learning styles, everyone has a different communication style as well. For example, some team members may have no problem discussing things in a group, face-to-face. However, someone who is shy may not feel comfortable expressing their concerns in such a public manner.

Use a variety of communication approaches so that everyone is encouraged to share their opinions. Brainstorming sessions with each department can help with this. It’s also a good idea to set up a forum where employees can write down their ideas. These can be read out loud during team meetings so that everyone feels comfortable expressing their concerns.

Contact Prosperity Dental Solutions

The bottom line is: We all communicate differently. Be sure you’re fostering a space where every single person can share confidently and listen respectfully. Prosperity Dental Solutions can help you do that. Call us at (817) 975-4567, contact us online, or email jennifer@prosperitydentalsolutions.com.

[1] https://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/6/tst_hoc_persp_08_12.pdf

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2018/04/17/the-top-ten-reasons-great-employees-quit/#45ffbb371cd5

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Practice Management, Implementation and Mentoring of Systems

 

Testimonials

Practice Management, Implementation and Mentoring of Systems

"I highly recommend Jennifer as a dental coach and as a person who understands what it takes to drive improvement. She has a wealth of experience and knowledge that makes her an invaluable tool in strengthening a practice. My practice has been successful, however, I knew that I wanted to take it to another level. Jennifer has a keen understanding of the ins and outs of running a practice, and what it takes to elevate all aspects of the practice. Whether it's a desire to improve treatment case acceptance, create more harmony and positive energy at the office, or implement the vision of the practice, Jennifer has the know how to make it happen. She says it as it is, and is down to earth and honest. I have already seen improvements across the board in my practice since we have been working together. I'm excited about the growth opportunity and confident that I have chosen a partner who understands the practice needs, and the intricacies needed to achieve the change I'm seeking. My team loves her and she has been a huge component in the success of my practice."

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