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, August 29, 2012

Praise in Public

If you want to develop a loyal, respectful  and compitent staff, make sure that you take time to praise their accomplishments publically. Just as important, make sure that when you need to speak to a staff member about correcting behaviors or mistakes – that you do this discretely and privately.

As dentists and CEOs of our businesses, we are all very busy. We often just expect our staff to do things right. We don’t stop to think about praising them for correctly “doing their job”. We only notice our staffs when they make mistakes or act out of step with our practice philosophy.

Try to catch your staff doing things right and publicly praising them for doing their job as you expect. Your staff will feel very positive about being praised in front of patients and other staff members. It might feel foreign to praise people for simply doing things as expected but it will start to feel good to do. Your staff will love you for noticing them and for telling others that they are good at what they do.

On the other hand, try with all your might not to criticize your staff in front of patients and other staff members. Keep your cool when things go wrong and make note to talk to the staff member privately later about the mistake or issue that needs to be corrected. Never talk down to your staff, never make your staff feel incompetent – rather reinforce that you like them as a person and just want to work on one area of their performance to help bring it up to the expected level.

After advising a staff member on how to correct an area of problem, look for reason to praise them in their performance in the next few days. Especially look to see if they are working to improve the area you spoke to them about. Make sure you mention you notice the improvement and appreciate the effort.

Staff members are people with feelings. We all want to feel we are doing a good job and appreciated. We all want to avoid being publically embarrassed. As dentist/CEO it is up to you to set the tone for your practice. Look for things your staff are doing right and let them know you notice and appreciate their competence and professionalism.
Dr. Corey Gold
President  - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Monday, August 27, 2012

Can Google Find Your Office?

Where do you look for items you want to purchase or services you need? Well, the answer for most people is that they look on the internet!

We are an internet crazy, iPad loving nation and that trend will not be reversing.

Knowing the internet is the place you need to be seen, the question you need to ask is, “how easy is it for LOCAL area people to find me on the internet”?

When someone types ‘dental office my city name’ into their Google or Bing search engine – do you pop up near the top? Is your dental office on the first page for your city search? If not – YOU LOSE!

Although the internet is worldwide, you are really only working on marketing to the area local to your office. You need to focus your marketing of your website to target the people who are looking for your services.

It is NOT expensive to tune your website to draw viewers from local area, both in organic (free) traffic and in paid traffic (Google AdWords & Bing/Microsoft Search). Paid traffic is very inexpensive because you will be targeting a very small demographic area.

In future posts – we will talk about how to accomplish these vital marketing steps. You MUST be near the top in web search for your area – any less is a huge financial loss for your office.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dealing with Holidays and Scheduling

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

Retention is the KEY!

Most dentists, when pressed, can tell you how many new patients their practices attract each month. In fact, many dentists judge the success of their marketing efforts by this number.

While it is terrific to attract new families to our offices, the success of your practice is even more dependent on the number of patients you retain each month. Most offices do not keep track of the number of patients they lose each month. It is more fun to watch the inflow than to score the outflow.

I know offices that spend a great deal of money on marketing for new patients and spend no time or money on retaining the patients they already have. I have found that a lot of practices that attract a large number of new patients are actually operating at a net monthly loss of patients – they lose more than they attract. In fact – they are paying good money to have fewer patients each month.

The most effective, fun and natural form of practice marketing is patient retention. Quality patient follow up and appreciation can not only help you retain the patients you have but your current patients are your best and least expensive source for getting new patients. YES – the best way to get new patients is to keep your current patients happy.

In future posts we will discuss effective patient follow up and appreciation strategies that your practice can incorporate into your regular operating procedures. Good patient retention is an entire staff process that does not happen by accident – it is a carefully executed plan. Your entire staff should understand your patient retention plan and know their responsibilities in this critical business activity.

If you want to improve the number of patients your office sees each year, start with closing your back door first. Patient retention is the least expensive and simplest form of practice building you can do.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"I don't feel well"

What do you when a staff member says they don’t feel well? My short answer is send them home with pay.
You have to have trust in your staff. If you do trust your staff, then if they say they don’t feel well – then they don’t feel well. Simple as that – you trust your staff.

If you doubt the sincerity of your staff when they tell you they are sick then you need to really consider your feelings about that member all together. Why do you doubt them? Have they given you other reasons to doubt their honesty and commitment to the dental team?

If you trust your staff then send them home when they say they don’t feel well. If you don’t trust your staff, then you need to really evaluate that person as a long-term member of your office staff.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Be Yourself

I know a lot of dentists who try to act like dentists. What I mean by that is that they believe that they need to modify their personality in the office to be more ‘doctor’ like. Instead of being themselves, they try to act in a manner that they think that people expect a dentist to act like.

I advise you to act like yourself! If you have a big personality and enjoy sharing jokes – be yourself. If you are quite and enjoy listening to music while you work – listen to music and be yourself. Over time you will attract patients who like YOU how you are.

It is no fun to try to have a personality that is not really yours. Joy comes from doing a profession you love and being yourself each day.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Matching Uniforms or No Team Uniforms

I admit that this was never a big deal for me. I always let my staff decide whether they wanted to wear matching uniforms or not. It did affect me in that I had to wear the chosen scrubs but that was never a concern for me. My objective was to have a happy staff and almost nothing led to more disharmony than argumentation over uniforms.

Over the many years, I have had the staff choose all options. We wore the color of the day but different outfits, color of the day and matching outfit, no uniformity and everything in between. The funny thing was that no matter what the staff chose, it always wanted to change again soon.

Ultimately, we spent the majority of time wearing the color of the day and in matching uniforms. I think this was the cleanest and most professional look. I never got a vote – just the honor of paying – LOL.

Dr. Corey gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Morning Meetings

I am a big fan of having a short morning meeting before the day begins and the front door opens for patients. There are two major reasons I like these meetings.

1                  It is very valuable for the entire team to review the patients and the cases that are going to be walking through the door that day (I know many offices that have a morning meeting and a second meeting after lunch to go over cases). It is especially valuable to review difficult cases, unique medical challenges or other situations that might require special attention.

It is also a great time to make sure that all lab materials are in the office or any special equipment that might be required to complete a patient’s procedure (face bow, implants, CT scans, panorex, lab work, etc…).

It is also an opportunity to discuss any patients who might present a personality challenge.

2                     A second valuable reason for holding these short meetings is the team building aspects. It gives the team a chance to have a coffee or juice, to say hello and catch up. The day is about to get busy and everyone will be buzzing around – it is very nice to get everyone in one room for few moments and be a team.

Dr. Corey gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems