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!

4 Tips for Getting New Patients in Your Dental Practice

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

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 market or excel at providing superior oral health care to your patients, increasing new patients and maintaining current ones can be a struggle. Don’t let keeping up with daily operations become an interference with the most important goal—an exceptional patient experience.

You can be organized and deliver top-notch dental treatments, but if you don’t keep patient experience as a top priority, you could not only lose out on new patients but jeopardize the ones you already have.

As the lead prosperity coach, CEO, and founder of Prosperity Dental Solutions, I have over two decades of dentistry experience. My passion is to help dentists create a simplified path to predictable success.

Today I would like to offer 4 tips for improving your patient experience. Implementing each of these will help you attain a full patient schedule:

  1. Properly Train Your Front Office Team
  2. Make Your Practice Unique
  3. Create an Office Culture
  4. Flexible Financing Options

Tip #1 for Getting New Patients: Properly Train Your Front Office Team

Your front office team provides your patients with their first experience of your practice. This includes phone calls and the first time they walk through your door. Moreover, they provide a continuing experience with each phone call and patient visit.

Does your team know how to greet your patients and make them feel welcome? Do they understand the importance of every phone call made to your dental practice? Does everyone understand that the reception and response to new patient calls define your practice?

Attitude, professionalism, and good communication are paramount. Has your front office team received proper training to handle this? Do they know how to convert potential new patients who call with a question into a patient booked for an appointment?

Phone and face-to-face interactions between patients and your front office team leave a lasting impression that can make or break your practice.

Tip #2 for Getting New Patients: Make Your Practice Unique

What does your dental practice offer that other dentists don’t?

Do you know your vision? If not, Prosperity Dental Solutions can help. One of our main goals is to help dentists define their specific goals and dreams when it comes to their unique vision.

Do you have competitive advantages? Specific goals to achieve patient satisfaction? Maybe you offer a specialty service?

When you find a niche in your practice, you attract patients much more effectively than a “one-size-fits-all” mentality.

And once you know your vision and niche, you want to promote and market them consistently. This will set you apart as an authoritative choice and bring you new patients.

Tip #3 for Getting New Patients: Create an Office Culture

Do you realize every detail about your practice plays a role in your office culture? The treatment and care provided, your team attitudes, the physical environment, and even office décor all matter.

Patients interpret your values based on their overall patient experience, including how the team treats them and how your practice runs and looks.

Do the colors in your practice speak what you want to say? When patients call your office or come in for treatment, do they experience organization and timeliness or chaos and long waits? Does your team communicate your values and beliefs to patients with every thought, action, and word?

The first step involves defining your beliefs and values, which requires understanding your unique vision and mission. Next, you need to communicate this important information to your team and make sure they believe in it and understand your expectations.

When everyone works together at conveying your vision and mission to your patients, it increases team building and improves patient experiences. This helps your practice to thrive by boosting productivity, attracting quality staff, bringing in new patients, and keeping current patients coming back.

Tip #4 for Getting New Patients: Flexible Financing Options

Most successful dentists provide their patients with a variety of payment options.

Dental treatments can be expensive, and while patients may understand the need, they may believe they can’t afford it.

For instance, some patients don’t have dental insurance, and they are searching for a membership plan. Do you offer one? How about options for payment plans, such as Care Credit or low-interest payments?

The more options you offer, the more likely you are to hear “yes” to treatment plans.

Do you want to increase profitability and productivity in your dental practice?

If you don’t fully understand your vision, mission, beliefs, and values, or if you are interested in finding a niche, I can help!

Call (817) 975-4576 today to schedule a complimentary phone call with me so we can find out if we have what it takes to improve your profits together.

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 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.

Take your first step towards achieving a prosperous dental practice.

Schedule a Consultation

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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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Our Prosperity Blog

Practice Management, Implementation and Mentoring of Systems

How to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency in the Front Office

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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…

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dental practice synergy

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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…

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