Welcome to the Dentist's Office

Welcome to the Dental Office blog. On this site we will share information on how we conquer the real-world challenges that we each face in our pursuit of running high-quality, successful, profitable and harmonious dental offices.

The Dental Blog invites you to share your knowledge, successes, failures and crazy stories with fellow dental professionals. Sharing our combined knowledge, we can each create our own unique dream practices.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Monday Holidays: To Open or Close – That is the Question

Three-day weekend Monday office hours are a tough question for every dental office. On one hand you want to be open and present a convenient scheduling day for your patients, as most people have the day off work and school. On the other hand, your staff also wants the day off to be with their family.

In my practice we would look at the schedule in December and pick half of Monday three-day holidays to stay open and the other half to be closed. I would let my staff choose the dates to be open. The dates for the upcoming year were then set months in advance and allowed everyone to plan accordingly.

We would share these special Monday holiday open dates in our newsletter and website well in advance to try get the word out about these special availabilities. My schedule on the holiday Mondays were crazy busy. We would even start an hour early and run late. We would order in pizza for lunch and stay open all day as we needed the lunch break to get back on schedule.

As an offset for having to work the holiday Monday and filling the schedule to the top, I would allow each of my staff members to have an extra day off in the upcoming few weeks with pay. Only one staff member could take a day off at a time so the practice could still operate without much extra burden on the other staff members.

As a result, the office was open on a lot of Mondays of three-day holidays and presented a great opportunity for patients to get into the office. My patients loved using their free day to go to the dentist and not have to miss a day of their work. We were always crazy busy on those Mondays.

My staff loved the system too. They wound up having the same number of paid holidays. Half the usual Monday holidays and then they got to choose a day they wanted off with pay to compensate for the Monday holidays that we worked.
Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Make More $ with Cash Up Front Discounts

One of the best income and cash-flow generators for your practice is offering a discount for patients who pay for their entire treatment plan before the first session. The discount needs to be strong enough for patients to want to pay for the full treatment in advance. In my practice this was a 10% discount for complete prepayment.
There are several great reasons why accepting less upfront actually earns you more money and a smoother practice operation.

1                 Having the patient pay upfront ensures that you will be paid on all your treatment and greatly reduces your aging receivables. Your discount ensures that the patient waits for the insurance company to pay their share not you. It also means that you are always collecting your co-payments.

2                 Dentistry can appear expensive and everyone likes a discount. A reasonable discount percentage encourages people to seek the proper care and opt for the more complete treatment plan.

3                 Scheduling is a synch when most of your patients are fully paid in advance of their appointments. The patient simply calls and sets their times on your calendar. There are no more sticky phone calls between the staff and the patient before the appointment can be set up due to money issues. 

4                 You save considerable staff time and mental aggravation chasing past due accounts. Some dentist’s do not realize how much staff time it takes to collect money from people on payment plans. Not only does this staff time cost you money but it also means your staff is not working on other projects such as customer service, retention and other vital aspects of your practice.
I strongly suggest you consider giving cash up front discount for patients who pay in full for their entire treatment plan before the first visit. It is good business for you and represents a value to your patients.
Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Closing the Back Door…

Most dental offices are very aware of how many new patients they acquire each month BUT most dental offices do not know how many patients they LOSE each month. When doing consulting for many dental offices I often found that offices with good new patient acquisition numbers often had a NET NEGATIVE patient flow!

Can you imagine paying large number of dollars in marketing to acquire new patients only to be losing patient base size each month? It happens all the time and the offices are blissfully unaware basking in the high number of new patient data – not realizing that they are actually shrinking in size.

The least expensive patient to acquire is the ones you already have. Let me say that another way – the most important part of the growth plan for your practice must be to keep your current patient base satisfied and STAYING with you.

Keeping patients happy is inexpensive and the easiest to accomplish practice growth thing you can do for your office. I know offices that spend over $10,000 a month on new patient marketing and don’t spend $1 or one minute on maintaining their current patients – a bad strategy and bad math.

A focus on current customer satisfaction is the key and most important step in growing and maintaining your practice size. Read other articles on this and other websites about customer satisfaction ideas and start implementing right away.
Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Know Their Kid’s Names!

The easiest and cheapest business building strategy you can ever employ is to build strong relationships with your patients. Not only do patients who like you tend to stay in your practice but they also tend to be your best sources of referrals.

I have never met a patient who did not LOVE to talk about their children (I love to talk about mine). I know that we are all busy, running behind schedule and going a million directions at a time during the day but nothing will help develop rapport with your patients than to ask them how their children are doing.

Better yet – ask them about their children by name and know a little bit about each one. Like, “How is Michael doing in soccer this year?” or “Did Mary take her SAT yet – I know this is her junior year.” Have a place on your chart that you can easily see that lists our all the family members names, ages and important aspects of their lives. Review this area before seeing the patient each visit.

Your patients will appreciate that you have taken the time to get to know a little bit about them and you will feel more connected to your patients. If you are not doing this now – start today.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sit in your dental chair and look up

When waste last time you sat in one of your dental chairs and looked up?

Do you know what your patients are seeing when they sit in your chair? Are they seeing dirty looking lights? A they seeing discolored ceiling tiles? Are they looking at a blank wall or crooked cabinet?

I was recently in a dental chair and spent an hour looking at a light fixture that looked dirty. The fixture was not dirty - the light was just streaky from the disinfectant sprayed on it and then quickly wiped down. From my angle it looked filthy. I knew better - your patients won't.

If your cabinets are old and need repair - get them fixed, painted, etc. it the ceiling tiles don't match or are dirty - get them replaced. These are quick and inexpensive fixes that will really pay dividends.

Think if you went into a restaurant and the table appeared dirty, the ceiling looked rain damaged and the tables wobbled - you would never go back. People are nervous about going to the dental office already, don't give them a reason to question your office.

Do yourself a favor, sit in all your dental chairs, recline the unit and look at what you see. Fix everything that your patients might perceive to be dirty, tacky, broken or problematic. These fixes are not expensive and will give your patients more confidence in your office.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems