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.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Walls Have Ears

Every staff member needs to be aware that patients can most often hear what staff members are saying in other parts of the office.

Private conversations between staff or staff and patients can be overheard by people throughout the office.

Now that everyone has cell phones, private conversations are also heard by patients as well.

Your patients need to see the office as being professional and trustworthy. Make sure your staff fully understands that what they see is heard by others. That their behavior is being judged all the time.

I had my staff members sit in the operatories when I made a phone call from the break room and they all heard the call. My staff now goes out back if the have to make a call that they would not want being overheard by others.

Just be aware, the walls have ears.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thanking Patients for Referring

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, March 6, 2012

Who Makes Financial Arrangements with the Patient and Who DOES NOT!

In a typical, well-run dental office treatment planning is the responsibility of the dentist and the financial arrangements are made by the front office staff members. It is vital that these two areas stay separate and neither side encroaches on the others area of authority.

As a dentist, I would not be happy if my front office staff changed my treatment plan for the patient – in fact – I would be mad. If a patient had financial challenges and could not arrange for the treatment we had agreed upon, then I needed to be brought back in to re-explain the treatment plan or plan an alternative approach that solved the patient’s issues. The treatment plan is not to be set by the front office staff – that was not their area of expertise or responsibility.

Likewise, the dentist should never be involved in setting fees, insurance, payment plans or other financial issues that are the front office staff’s area of responsibility. The dentist should be the passionate dental professional and not involved in the money matters (from the patient’s perspective). The staff are the people who know the insurance and understand the office’s financial policies. It is their job to set the plan and then execute it. They talk money and payments – you the dentist do not.

It the patients believe that they can go around the front office staff to change the financial arrangements with the dentist then you have taken all the power and authority away from the people tasked to collect the money. The staff cannot set plans or collect moneys effectively if the patients know they can ignore them and go straight to you – the dentist.

Your staff will resent you usurping their responsibility and complicating their job. Your daily life will be harder as the dentist/CEO if the patients are asking you to make financial arrangements and are asking you for special considerations.

Do yourself a favor and just say “NO”. Tell the patients that you are awful at all the financial stuff and would most likely just screw it all up. Tell them you are the wizard of the oral cavity but that your staff is people who know the insurance and other financial stuff. Tell them the staff can help you the right way and that you don’t even know how to turn the computer on. Kid around and point them back to the front office staff.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Who is in Charge of YOUR Practice?

The dentist as a CEO is a strange arrangement. As dentist you are often the boss and co-worker at the same time. This places many dentists in the role of wanting to be a liked co-worker more than wanting to be an effective CEO.

If the dentist CEO worries too much about being liked by the staff then they cannot effectively run the office as they truly wish. They are always afraid of making changes that the staff won’t like and are worried about losing their popularity with the team. They are also worried about the staff making their day more difficult or giving them the cold-shoulder treatment.

I am NOT suggesting that the dentist CEO act as an authoritarian and not take into account the effects of change on the staff members but I am saying that ultimately the dentist CEO must make business decisions that let them reach their business goals. As the dentist CEO, you are responsible for setting the business strategy for your business.

Most dentist CEOs are sole practitioners, they have spent considerable time and money to go to school, purchase and build a practice. The success of this practice directly influences the financial future of their family. Being a wise CEO and looking at the long term success of the dental business is absolutely necessary.

Although it may be difficult, as dentist CEO you must be willing to make strategic business decisions that you know are good for the long term health of your business, even if they are not popular. Your dental staff depends upon your business to be successful for their employment, they will either get on board your decisions or in unusual cases – they will have to leave your practice.

Being CEO is a big responsibility. A lot of people depend upon your decisions – your family, staff, and others. You cannot delegate the success of your practice to staff. You should ask for input, access the pros and cons of change and then decide how best to proceed for the long term success of your business. Don’t be afraid to build the practice you desire – be bold – chase your vision – make your dental office one you are truly proud of. Charge!

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advance Continuing Education Systems

Thursday, March 1, 2012

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