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Actions of a Successful Office

Posted on April 9, 2013 by Sandy Pardue

I’m often asked what successful offices have in common…

They have a good solid ethical team, with a great attitude. There is a strong leader, they are organized and have real world systems that give more predictability to their schedule. They run like a well oiled machine. There are few hiccups because they have a plan. Duties are divided and and staff do not share a lot of duties which is very inefficient.

They are good communicators, which with good systems will grow the practice, retain patients and help control patient upsets. They run to upset patients instead of away from them. The doctor is not afraid to talk to patients when they have a problem, he helps them understand their treatment plans and they are really engaged in the experience. The doctor enjoys being a dentist and every aspect of it including running a business. The successful dental office doesn’t have pack leaders.

There is positive energy in successful practices. Negative energy works against success.

They thank patients that refer others to their practice. A handwritten note from the doctor is best, or a typed note signed by doctor is second best. I like to use smaller stationary for this because it gives a personalized feel.

They know that patients will always thing about and compare their practice with previous dental visits; they use that to their advantage.

Successful offices get new patients in to the office as fast as possible; never longer than a 7 day wait, and much sooner if the patient requests.

The practice has production goals for each provider. The practice has a vision and goals that the team created together.

The person answering the phone is one of the most skilled in communicating. Many times practices put the least skilled “new girl” as receptionist, big mistake.

No matter how many people work at the front desk, one should be most senior over the schedule. In other words you have appointed someone to be in charge of it to make sure everything is scheduled where it should be, someone is working to make sure doctor and hygienist are NOT standing around temporarily unemployed and the practice goals are being met. This one action can boost your numbers.

The office is updated, and clean (yes, clean bathrooms are important) their outdoor sign looks sharp, the building looks fresh (no mildew and missing shutters). The phones are answered by real people during regular business hours. They file insurance for their patients and yes, they do send statements. They personally call to confirm patients because they know the tone of voice the patient has when confirming is key. They keep score, each team member tracks their work and reports at staff meetings which are held every single month without fail.

They don’t have a lot of rules for the prospective patient when they call in and have never even met them. (that tells me the practice is out of control and have had to make rules in an effort to try to gain control which keeps them small). When someone calls the practice, they don’t try to change their viewpoint about what they want, instead they get them in fast and get them in front of them. They are service oriented. The team is aware of the importance of internal marketing and they have a plan. They are getting the majority of new patients by referral. That is the true measurement of how well you are doing with service.

They send a quarterly newsletter, birthday cards, Christmas cards and they have a strong recall system. They are retaining 80% of their patients. They are good at presenting treatment plans, this is part of a key internal system. Their outstanding insurance and practice collections are under control.

They have a practice brochure.

They have a staff album in the reception area.

The doctor is aware of the overhead and how much money he is making. Expenses are monitored and under control. Doctor is the boss and is not letting staff tell him/her what to buy and when to take off etc.

The practice has safeguards in place to prevent embezzlement. The team takes CE on a regular basis, staying away from “Flavor of the Month” practice management. In other words, they don’t keep changing the way they do things once they find systems that produce stellar results.

Finally, they know that systematized training for staff, step-by-step procedures on how to do their jobs will increase efficiency, production, and profitability.


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Classic Practice Resources, Inc. is designated as an Approved PACE Program Provider by the Academy of General Dentistry. The formal continuing education programs of this program provider are accepted by the AGD for Fellowship/Mastership and membership maintenance credit. Approval does not imply acceptance by a state or provincial board of dentistry or AGD endorsement. The current term of approval extends from January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2025. Provider ID# 208192

ADA CERP is a service of American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry. Classic Practice Resources, Inc. designates this activity for 8 hours continuing education credits.

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