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.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Themed Offices – Yes or No?

You may be surprised but I am going to give a big thumbs UP to themed office – with the proviso that the theme you choose is something you are passionate about.

If you are a huge Dodger fan, or a golf nut, or a photography expert, or a lover of modern art – it is super to decorate your office around your passion. Your office should be an extension of you. It is fun to let your personality show through at your office.

A themed office opens the door for lots of questions and makes you feel at home in your daily environment. People will like the office as long as your theme is not wacky.

I do not advise creating a themed office around something you are not passionate about. I know a dentist who opened a deep sea fishing themed office and he doesn’t fish. When patients ask questions about fishing he looks bored. The theme does not work because it is not his passion.

I’m a tennis nut – I should have opened a tennis themed office – old rackets on the walls, pictures of past champions, put tennis nets across the walls. It would have been fun and when anyone asked me if I liked tennis – I would light up like a Christmas tree. I love talking tennis. It would have been an authentic theme and would have worked.

Themed offices only work when the theme fits you.
Dr. Corey Gold
President – advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Quit Doing Procedures You Hate

I know lots of dentist who don’t like doing endo or oral surgery but continue to do these procedures for decades. My advice to you, for your happiness and your patient’s quality of dentistry, is for you to STOP doing procedures you do not like to do.

If you dislike a procedure I doubt you are taking a lot of continuing education in that area of dentistry. I doubt you recommend that procedure as much as you should when doing treatment planning. In general we do not do our best work when we are not happy or we are resentful.

I know a dentist who still does endo and they openly tell me they are not good at it. As a patient, I would prefer that you send me to another dentist who is good at it – I deserve that referral.

My advice, you have two choices when it comes to dental procedures you do not like to do; (1) get lots of continuing education in that area and get super good at it (you tend to like what you are good at) or (2) refer all procedures you don’t like doing or feel you are not good at to a specialist.

At the end of the day you will be happier and less stressed when you refer out the procedures you truly don’t want to do.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Staff Taking Advantage of Your Friendship

Being a dentist can be tough when it comes to staff relationships and I will admit that I have been exceptionally lucky over my career. On one hand you are the owner of the practice (or the boss) and on the other hand, you are a co-worker and an active part of the daily work flow.

Most dentist become very close friends with their staff. Luckily, most staff members treat the dentist as both a friend and still respect them as the boss at the same time. This fine line between the dentist being a friend and the boss can sometimes get strained.

The dentist is put into an awkward position of having to enforce his authority as the boss if the staff member tries to abuse the friendship relationship. I know a number of cases where experienced, long-term staff members have turned from respectful staff to taking advantage of their friendship with the dentist. The staff member starts to come in late, leaves early, takes longer breaks, doesn’t pull their fair share of the work load – in essence, the staff member starts leveraging their friendship with the dentist to take advantage of the long standing rules. The dentist typically responds by very low key requests for the staff member to go back to the correct behaviors. In some cases this is enough to redirect the pattern but in many cases it is not enough.

When friendly requests for the staff member to get back in line with their job requirements fail it is a tough moment in the friendship for the dentist and the staff. The dentist must now put on their ‘boss’ hat and have a serious talk with the offending staff member. This is a challenging conversation because the two have not needed this type of chat for a long time. The dentist must say how much he likes and values the staff member but that the individual must get back into the required office norms. You must say that this is a tough conversation for you to have but that you feel it is a talk that had to be had and that you expect a change in behavior.

Often this talk ends with an apology and a change in behavior – the staff member might even feel bad about taking advantage of the relationship once it has been pointed out. Other times the staff member is not at open to the coaching session and we learn during this conversation that the individual has many other issues they want to address with you and that these behaviors have been a sort of passive aggressive conduct. If the staff member’s complaints are legitimate – then it is an opportunity for you both to take corrective actions.

At the end of the day, you need to have your staff members follow the established rules of the office. In most cases the staff member will go back to their regular and positive working format. In the odd chance that the staff member continues to act against the rules of the practice it might be time for you to let that staff member go. Their acting up even after a conversation about the poor behavior might be their way of forcing your hand in ending the employment.

Sorry – no one ever said being the dentist / boss was going to be easy.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Encouraging Referrals

Dental offices often spend tens of thousands of dollars a month in marketing efforts. While I am a big fan of external marketing for new patients, I am even a bigger fan of marketing for new patients INTERNALLY.

Nothing says more about the health of your practice than your office receiving patients from happy current patients!

Happy patients referring new patients should be the life blood of your business building efforts. I would spend lots of time and money in encouraging internal referrals and thanking patients who help build your dental business.

In my office we gave out Starbucks cards to our patients as a thank you for referring new patients. My patients loved them and my staff enjoyed sending them out. Very often my patients would bring me a coffee when they came for their visit and said they used the gift card we gave them.

Be creative. Find ways to thank your referring patients. Send thank you cards, gift cards, movie tickets, just do something!

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Retention is the key to long term success

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