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, 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