How to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency in the Front Office

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

dental practice efficiency

Do you dream of having a busy dental practice that includes a fully booked schedule? If so, would your team be able to handle a full schedule? Practice efficiency is always important, but for a busy practice, it is imperative.

Whether your practice is already busy, or you are hoping it will become busy, making efficiency a priority will help things run smoothly and improve the patient experience. It will also increase job satisfaction for your team members.

My name is Jennifer Pearce. I am the owner, founder, and lead prosperity coach of Prosperity Dental Solutions. During my 25+ years of working in dentistry, I have seen it all. My passion is to help dental practices “think prosperity,” so they can be prosperous.

But to be prosperous, your team must be efficient. Today, I am going to share 3 tips about how to make your front office team more efficient.

Improving front office practice efficiency includes:

  1. Delegation
  2. Increasing Employee Morale
  3. Incorporating a Bonus System

Practice Efficiency Tip #1: Delegation

While a busy schedule improves your profits, it can also mean a hectic work environment that can potentially cause you to lose patients or team members.

Your front office team must find time to take care of all the administrative work while also answering phones and welcoming patients. When they are stretched thin or asked to do tasks they don’t enjoy, it can cause job dissatisfaction. Unhappy team members may not feel like interacting with your patients positively. They may also start to wonder if all the stress is worth it.

Improve each team member’s attitude by learning their interests and strengths. Delegate tasks based on what they do well and enjoy doing. Ask yourself—or a senior staff member—who shines when it comes to communicating with patients? Which team member is best at project management? Is there someone really good at “paperwork” but not so great with patients?

If one team member loves interacting with patients, put her in charge of follow-ups, appointment reminder calls, welcoming patients, and answering the phone. This frees up the team member who dislikes answering the phones but enjoys paperwork to get all the billing done.

Review all the “must-do” tasks and create a strategy for assigning these tasks to your team. Then, add one or two “less critical” tasks to each team member.

If you really want to boost morale, ask each team member what their favorite part of their job is. When team members do what they love doing, it reduces stress and makes them happy. And when they are less stressed and happy, they are much more productive and friendly.

Practice Efficiency Tip #2: Increase Employee Morale

Consider what things will increase the morale and happiness of your team members and implement those strategies.

Remember, happy team members build an awesome, productive, and prosperous dental practice!

Some ideas to do this include:

  • Conduct team member satisfaction surveys
  • Hold regular team meetings
  • Hear and consider the suggestions your team members make
  • Make necessary changes as soon as possible
  • Solve problems in the practice immediately
  • Initiate team-building activities
  • Bring in a consultant!

If you don’t know the best ways to increase happiness and morale with your team, our consultants at Prosperity Dental Solutions do! We have countless ideas and can customize our suggestions based on your unique needs and desires.

Practice Efficiency Tip #3: Incorporate a Bonus System

Did you know implementing a bonus system can increase productivity and profitability?

When your team members know their efforts matter and are appreciated, they work harder and get more done. They are also more likely to communicate ideas that will improve efficiency.

If you wonder where to start, look at your needs first. What are the most significant issues affecting productivity? If it involves team members showing up late or calling in sick, consider a bonus that rewards no sick days or punctuality.

Maybe you want to improve patient numbers? How about a bonus for hitting goals?

Ask your team for their input here as well. This not only makes them feel more important, but it also increases their awareness and attentiveness to reaching the bonus level. When team members have a say in bonus structures, they are more likely to become involved and productive.

Once you put a bonus system into effect, be sure to share the results regularly. This encourages other team members to become involved.

Are you ready for increased productivity and profitability in your dental practice?

If you want to increase patient numbers, don’t let inefficiency in your practice get in the way. At Prosperity Dental Solutions, we can help improve your systems and help you improve practice efficiency in the front and back office.

If you want to improve the patient experience while boosting productivity and reducing stress and frustration in your practice, call (817) 975-4576 today. We can schedule your complimentary “get acquainted” call that allows us to see how we can help you!

How to Achieve Synergy Between the Front and Back Office

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

dental practice synergy

Have you ever thought about how much synergy can improve your dental practice? Maybe you have no idea what dental practice synergy is all about.

Synergy—(sinərjē)—the cooperation or interaction of two or more substances, organizations, or agents that produce a combined effect that is greater than the sum of their parts.

In other words, 1+1=3.

My name is Jennifer Pearce. I am the CEO and founder of Prosperity Dental Solutions, and my passion is to help dental practice owners make the most of all the amazing opportunities available. With almost two decades of dental experience, I know how to make your dental practice successful.

And I can tell you, one of the most often overlooked and misunderstood concepts is that of synergy. I believe a successful dental practice requires a multi-pronged, synergistic approach to improve beyond what each team member offers individually.

Today, I’m going to discuss how your team can truly come together to improve patient satisfaction, profitability, and productivity.

What is dental practice synergy?

When everyone in the front office and back office works together, it creates an outcome that is much greater than the sum of its parts.

So, how does dental practice synergy start?

The first thing you should ask yourself is, how well do all your team members know each other? The second question? How much do they understand their fellow teammates’ roles?

When all your team members know each other and understand the roles others play, it greatly improves synergy. It is tremendously important for everyone to realize how all the moving parts fit together.

After all, even if everyone on the team is working toward the same goals, if they don’t understand the importance of every member, it can be hard to see. And if team members don’t see the importance of other team players, it becomes easy for them to focus on what they do personally while giving little value to others.

To improve synergy in your dental practice, prioritize the following four objectives:

  1. Improve Relationships and Communication in the Team
  2. Understand Your Objective
  3. Encourage Contribution
  4. Make it Fun

Dental Practice Synergy Goal #1: Improve Relationships and Communication in the Team

Make an effort to improve relationship building amongst your team members. This could include any type of team-building activities. Go bowling together, volunteer as a team for a charitable event, or encourage potluck lunches. Anything that gets your team members gathering together while having fun will improve their relationships.

Hold a meeting and offer transparent goals that everyone should strive for. Give each team member a chance to describe their role in achieving those goals. Then, encourage questions, so everyone has the best opportunity to learn more about their colleagues. Allow the discussion to go beyond the workplace so your team can truly get to know each other.

Schedule regular team meetings, giving everyone has a chance to share their opinions and input. Listen and hear each voice, making sure everyone feels like an important member of the team. Encourage discussions about how they can help each other reach their goals.

Dental Practice Synergy Goal #2: Understand Your Objective

Everyone on the team contributes differently within the practice, and sometimes their goals may seem to compete. For instance, one team member may focus only on patient care, while another focuses on budget and expenses.

It’s important for everyone to come together and keep their eye on the prize. Patient satisfaction is a worthy goal, but so is keeping down costs when possible.

Your leadership team should make sure that everyone is aware of your practice’s objectives and goals. These objectives and goals should be crystal clear, reviewed regularly, and communicated frequently.

Dental Practice Synergy Goal #3: Encourage Contribution

Your seasoned, experienced team members have a lot to offer, but sometimes the best ideas come from the newest team member. Make sure everyone knows you value and want their input. Let them know you are always willing to consider new ideas.

And when team members offer input, consider it fully. If you implement a new system or idea, give the team member credit. If you reject an idea, let the team member know why.

It’s important to do everything possible to let everyone feel comfortable about coming forward with their thoughts.

Dental Practice Synergy Goal #5: Make it Fun

Have you ever heard the saying that couples who play together stay together? Well, the same is true with your team members.

If you have a team member who tends to be outgoing, take advantage of that! Enlist her as your CFO—Chief Fun Officer.

Your CFO can create fun games that involve everyone, like trivia or a scavenger hunt. Or maybe build a social corkboard where everyone answers fun facts about themselves. Or your practice could run contests, like who can come up with the best social media post for your Facebook business page. Or maybe even a “Where in the world is Waldo?” contest.

Creative people can turn something as simple as a potluck lunch into a Hawaiian Lua or day at the beach.

The point is, when you have team members who laugh and have fun together, they also appreciate each other. And when they appreciate each other, they work better than the sum of their parts.

That is synergy.

Improve the Synergy in Your Dental Practice

If you are interested in more ways to improve your dental practice profitability and productivity, I would love the chance to speak with you.

Call (817) 975-4576 today to schedule a complimentary call, where we can get to know each other and decide if we have what it takes to work together to achieve your goals!

6 Secrets to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

improve dental practice efficiency

In case you aren’t aware, your patients don’t enjoy spending time in the dentist’s chair. They come because they must or because they know they should. But while they are getting their teeth cleaned or trying to remain still while you fill a cavity, they are anxious for you to finish. And they will notice every little thing that gets in the way of efficiency in your dental practice. After all, an inefficient office will keep them in that chair longer.

The fact is—you are most likely already dealing with patients who don’t want to be there. It is, therefore, critical that you optimize their visit to help nudge them toward a positive experience.

Dental practice efficiency also helps your bottom line. Efficient dental practices see more patients and perform more procedures than inefficient practices.

My name is Jennifer Pearce. I am the founder, CEO, and lead executive coach at Prosperity Dental Solutions. With twenty-five years of dentistry experience, I have seen it all. And today, I am going to share some secrets with you about making your dental practice more efficient. Because the truth is, the efficiency of your dental practice impacts the satisfaction of your patients. This, in turn, impacts all other aspects of your practice.

Secret #1 to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency: Start the Day Prepared

If you don’t start each day with a team huddle, why not? A team huddle allows everyone to get on the same page and know what to expect for the day. You can include whatever is important to your team, like daily goals, openings reserved for emergencies, cancellations, or a list of patients to call who have yet to respond to appointment reminders.

A couple of ground rules for a team huddle, however, are to start on time and keep it brief. You don’t want to start the day off already behind schedule.

Secret #2 to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency: Accurate Estimates of Procedure Times

Who decides the amount of time to book patients for on your schedule? When estimated times are off, things can get out of hand quickly. Do patients who need 45 minutes get stuck in 15 or 30-minute timeslots? If this happens for even one appointment, the entire day can run behind.

Or maybe you are on the opposite end—left with large timeslots with nothing to do.

Depending on how things work in your dental practice, you may need to consider more than your chair time.

It’s important to keep the whole picture in mind. For instance, you may know how much time you spend with a patient needing a root canal, but what about the time they are in the chair while you aren’t present? And how long did it take the assistant to prepare the operatory? You need to consider how much time each patient spends with hygienists, dental assistants, and other team members before they see you, as well as how long it takes to set up the operatory and clean it up when you’re done.

Make a list of treatments and procedures and assign an estimated booking time for each one. Then, perform a “checkup” every few months or so to see if the estimates are accurate.

Also, consider that some patients require extra time. Special needs, such as extremes of age, anxious patients, and those who haven’t seen a dentist for years, will most likely require more time.

Secret #3 to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency: Make Return Appointments at the End of Each Appointment

Yes, you will come across resistant patients. Have your staff encourage them to schedule an appointment anyway, even though they don’t know what they will be doing in six months. It is far easier to get a patient to change an existing appointment than it is to schedule a new one.

This also minimizes the work the front office has to do. After all, if every patient leaves with an appointment, that means far fewer follow-up calls or reminder texts trying to get patients on the schedule at a later date.

Secret #4 to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency: Reduce No-Shows and Late Arrivals

Make sure to send appointment reminders well ahead of time, so patients can change them if they need to.

Have a running list of patients who would be available to come in for a last-minute appointment. Each time a patient calls to schedule or change an appointment, have a team member ask if they would like to be added to the list. This is especially helpful for patients looking for an appointment sooner than you have available.

Then, send reminders two days before the appointment, so patients can cancel it if they have a schedule conflict. This gives your team time to call people on the list who may be interested in taking the appointment. With this reminder, add a statement about not forgetting to pre-medicate if they need to. You don’t have to worry about customizing this, as patients who require premedication know who they are. This prompts them to call your office if they need a prescription, and it keeps you from having to cancel a patient after they arrive if they need to pre-medicate and forgot to.

You may even want to send a final reminder on the morning of the appointment. This helps keep patients on time.

Secret #5 to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency: Train Your Front Team to Triage

Many patients think their dental emergency is more urgent than it really is. When a patient calls saying they need to get in right away, does your front team know what to ask them? Do they understand what is important and how to prioritize?

Make sure the team is properly trained so they know what questions to ask, how serious the problem is, and how much time the patient will need to be scheduled for.

Secret #6 to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency: Hire a Consultant

Running a dental practice can be complex and challenging. But when things in the office run more efficiently, they are also more effective and productive.

At Prosperity Dental Solutions, we have what it takes to help make your dental practice more efficient and profitable. Your patients will also like the changes because your improved efficacy will allow you to spend more time with them so you can give them the attention and care they deserve.

It may seem like a daunting task to get your practice running like a well-oiled machine, but we are here to help. And the result will be well worth your efforts.

Call (817) 975-4576 today to schedule a complimentary call with me. During this time, we can discuss your dental practice goals and desires and see if we have what it takes to get you there together.

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.

Take your first step towards achieving a prosperous dental practice.

Schedule a Consultation

Say Hello!

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."

Read More Testimonials

Our Prosperity Blog

Practice Management, Implementation and Mentoring of Systems

How to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency in the Front Office

dental practice efficiency

Do you dream of having a busy dental practice that includes a fully booked schedule? If so, would your team be able to handle a full schedule? Practice efficiency is always important, but for a busy practice, it is imperative. Whether…

Read More

How to Achieve Synergy Between the Front and Back Office

dental practice synergy

Have you ever thought about how much synergy can improve your dental practice? Maybe you have no idea what dental practice synergy is all about. Synergy—(sinərjē)—the cooperation or interaction of two or more substances, organi…

Read More

4 Tips for Getting New Patients in Your Dental Practice

getting new patients

Are you interested in getting new patients for your dental practice? Did you know that attracting new patients and retaining the ones you already have requires more than great marketing and excellent dentistry? No matter how much you…

Read More