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The 4 C’s of Team Building~

September 26, 2018

Key tips to keeping a productive, engaged dental team

The difference between success and failure is an engaged team.

No matter how smart, talented, driven, or passionate you are, your success as a dental entrepreneur depends on your ability to build and inspire a team. A successful leader is one who can inspire his or her team to work better together toward a common vision and goals.

All dental practices face the time crunch and as the practice owner, main producer, and emotional leader the practice of team building can get left out of the equation.  Adding team building back into the equation can increase a practice’s productivity, uplift morale and ultimately lower stress.

Here are a few key areas to concentrate on to bring team building back into focus.

#1 Clear Expectations

Every team member needs to understand what their role is, where they are going and how they will get there.  Take the time to educate your team on your vision for the practice and where you want to be in 6 months, 1 year, 3 years and even 5 years from now.  Lay down the plan of how you envision the practice reaching those goals.  Define each individuals role in that plan and what is expected.  And finally clearly define how progress will be monitored and who will be accountable for each piece of the success plan.

#2 Communicate

Constant communication is key in any relationship and your dental team is no different.  Remain vigilant of your over vision and hold regular meetings to stay focused on your goals.  Don’t let time or the lack of getting in your way of regular meetings as a team.

Hold daily morning huddles with a focus on making sure the day stays as stress-free and productive as possible.   Once a month set aside a few hours to hold a team building meeting that lets the group participate and engage in both fun and productive session.  Adding activities to these meeting can help bring out new ideas, excitement and a renewed sense of community.  Don’t be afraid to have a little fun once in a while.

#3 Continued Educational Growth

Invest in training on an annual basis and give your team opportunities to learn and grow.  Solid systems and good technology tools to run those systems make for a productive stress-free day.  Look for learning opportunities in your dental community that meet the objectives of your vision for the practice.  Online learning can be an effective way to give the team the opportunity to learn a new skill or increase their software knowledge.

Good systems in a dental practice can predict a steady outcome but do the team members that execute those systems have a backup?  Are the systems documented in a clear format? Take opportunities at meetings to have team members teach each other so that each system has a solid backup in place.

#4 Consistent Leadership

Every team needs a good leader/coach.  You set the tone for the practice and it will your consistent message and actions that guide the team to success.  If you believe that team building is important to the success of your practice then your team will too.  Keep them engaged, keep them focused and keep excited to be a part of the practice’s success.

Practice Dynamics understands the essential role that teams play in the overall success of dental practices.  We have built our coaching around achieving balance driven success through systems, teams, and technology.  We encourage you to infuse new excitement into your practices through a solid focus on teams.

 

“The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say ‘I.’ And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say ‘I.’ They don’t think ‘I.’ They think ‘we’; they think ‘team.’ They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but ‘we’ gets the credit…. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.” 

–Peter Drucker

Customer Service: What Does It Mean To You?

August 22, 2018

Everyone has been a customer or patient.  In these roles, what are a few defining experiences that set companies or offices apart in your stories?  What was the core reason for making that a good or bad experience?  These are great questions and can lead the way to a productive discussion with your team.

When we think about customer service and best in class service we think about brands like Starbucks, Disney or Southwest Airlines.  We know there are many people that don’t care for SWA, but we have become raving fans.  This loyalty is built from our own experiences and from many stories from others.  Here is just one experience.

 

Southwest Airlines Proudly Sponsors Honor Flight Network

Southwest donated more than $20,000 in air travel for nearly 50 Lone Eagle Veterans and their guardians to participate in a special Honor Flight and V.E. Day 70th Anniversary commemoration events in Washington, D.C. and visit the memorials that honor their fellow soldiers who lost their lives in battle.  They didn’t stop with the monetary donation they did so much more.  I was lucky enough to be in the Baltimore airport when one of these honor flights was due to land.  Southwest agents throughout the terminal announced the arrival and asked anyone who had the time to join them at the gate to show our appreciation for their service and sacrifice.  As the plane land and proceeded to the gate two fire trucks created a water arch for the plane to drive under.  As the Veterans came off the plane they were greeted with cheers, flags and many heartfelt thank you messages.  It was an experience I was honored to be a part of and one of the many reasons I love Southwest airlines.

 

In our dental offices we strive to emulate experiences that reflect our core mission and values and deliver a patient experience we can be proud of.  But what does that mean and what does that consist of?  It may be different for every office and it may have different unique touches that truly reflect who they are as a dental office.  There are many key areas to evaluate and polish when you are working on your patient’s customer experience.  Here are our top 10:

  1. Marketing: Your marketing, no matter the vehicle, reflects your office brand and sometimes the first impression for a new patient.  Make sure it reflects the office and delivers a consistent message about your practice.
  2. New Patient Phone Call: The quality of this interaction can make or break a new patient experience.  Teams should be prepared and have clear expectations set on how every new patient call should be handled and the proper verbiage to use.
  3. Non-Verbal Communications: When is the last time you really looked through all the non-verbal communication that your office uses?  Review every written communication piece that leaves your office along with all the signs and written statements found throughout the practice on a regular basis and make sure they are on target.
  4. New Patient Visit: This sets the tone for your future relationship with this patient.  Make sure the office and the entire team is well prepared and ready for this visit.  This is your chance to connect and bond with this new patient and to build trust, all important elements in any relationship.
  5. Handoffs: When a patient visits the practice and interacts with each team member; are the exchanges reflective of your office?  Make sure key information is exchanged properly in front of the patient, never make the patient repeat and pay attention to body language of the patient and team member.
  6. Office Aesthetics: Your office aesthetics play an important part in the overall experience.  With a fresh set of eyes walk through your entrance as a patient.  What do you see?  What catches your attention?
  7. Technology Efficiency: We love technology, but technology should enhance your patient experience.  It should never get in the way or hinder the importance of human interaction.  Make sure your office systems are efficient and supportive.
  8. Team Dynamics: The dental team is an extension of the practitioner.   They need to be engaged and understand the mission and vision of the practice.  Continual education and regular communication is key to everyone delivery the same experience.
  9. Focus on Service: It sounds simple but how often do you discuss or train on the importance of customer service in your practice.  Make it a priority and keep the conversation going.
  10. The “It” Factor: What sets you apart?  What are those memorable items that stay with patients when they leave your practice?

The things to evaluate and look at are simple. What’s not simple is the consistent application of the behaviors. Excelling in best in class customer service takes thought and effort. But, once you make them habit you can go just about anywhere.

10 Keys for a Doctors Stress Free Day

September 16, 2015

Filed under: dental assisting,Systems,Teams — Tags: , , , — Laci Phillips @ 6:51 pm

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10 Keys for a Doctors Stress Free Day

We all have those days it feels like we are in a rat race. The dental industry is no different. No matter your role on the team, we all have those stressful days. But if the Doctor is stressed, it trickles down. We all want to work smarter, not harder. We have compiled 10 Dynamic Tips for our Doctors to help eliminate stress. Because if the Doctor is relaxed, the patients have more confidence and the team has an easier day.

  1. Properly reviewing treatment: Are you having your team review fees, ADRA (advantages, disadvantages, risks, & alternatives) prior to the patient sitting in your treatment chair? Do not waste precious chair time counseling your patients on fees, treatment options and insurance benefits. This should be taken care of prior to the appointment being placed in the schedule. Having a signed consent of accepted treatment with fees spelled out and a payment plan in place will eliminate a lot of wasted chair time. Doctors, demand these steps are being completed for every patient. Not only is this covering yourself for potential law suits but is also it less stressful for your team and the patient when everyone knows the who, what, where, when, why’s and how’s about the treatment.
  2. Trying to do it all:  Are you not delegating tasks that your team members can do for you? Whether it is making the temporaries, changing light bulbs, or paying the bills. You cannot do it all. Take the time to invest in your employees to train them to be able to do the tasks to give you more time to do production-based tasks. DELEGATE! Your team will appreciate your confidence in trusting them and the chance to learn something new.
  3. Putting off treatment:  If you have the time in your schedule, just get it done. Filling up your schedule with little appointments will give you that feeling of the “RAT RACE.” Have positive thinking like “I am going to finish this” as if you were running a marathon. It is all in your mindset. Having these patients come back is wasting chair time.
  4. Not writing up treatment plans right away:  Schedule time at the end of every day as admin time to be sure you are completing this task daily. Your treatment plan is the road map of the treatment. This will eliminate you ending up on detours and wrong roads that will only have you “spinning your wheels” and creating issues with your schedule and diagnosis.
  1. Sharing of equipment and materials: Are you “cutting costs” with shared instruments and materials? Be really careful here. Time is money! I’m not saying have a Cerec machine in every room but really take a look at what you’re skimping on.
  1. Not enough tray set-ups: Unless you can afford a sterilization assistant be sure to have enough tray set ups to complete a full morning of hygiene or restorative patients. This would be the same for hand pieces, ultrasonic tips, or any other equipment needed for treatment.
  2. Not using your intra-oral camera: A picture is literally worth a thousand words. It will save you a lot of time explaining and also increase your treatment acceptance.
  3. Running behind: Have a standard of what you expect from your team. You should not have a patient wait more then ten minutes. If you are running behind often, take a look at your block scheduling.  Track your time for procedures for a week and adjust block times or evaluate what it is that is taking longer. Evaluate if a new material or technique could be faster.
  4. Emergencies:  Set up a triage protocol and train your team on how you want certain types of emergencies to be handled. This will eliminate the need for constant personal and schedule interruptions throughout the day.
  5. Team issues: I saved the best for last! Be sure to be a leader and if you are not a leader hire someone to do the job. Having the arguments “work themselves out”, ignoring a toxic employee because they are good at their job, not having regularly scheduled performance reviews, all lead to breakdown in a team. If you notice tension you better believe that your patients do too. Why have this stress? Do your homework up front to set up your office Policies, procedures, job descriptions, and expectations.

Take a moment to evaluate your rat race! Have a team meeting and discuss how to implement a few of the above tips. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Change will not happen over night nor will it happen because you verbally say we are doing it. Change will happen with repeated follow through over a length of time.

 

Here’s to a reducing stress!

~Susan

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Vision & Mission Statements-Why Bother?

June 24, 2015

Filed under: Communication,Systems,Team Building — Tags: , , , , , — Laci Phillips @ 7:23 pm

mission visionHave you ever liked the phrase, “because I said so?” Not many of us do. The Vision and Mission statement gives us focus and the clear answer to why we do what we do. It keeps everyone headed towards the same goal so as a team we easily reach the practice goals. It the purpose behind every decision and the action that is carried out on behalf of the team.

The Basics: To motivate your team to understand and inspire the vision of the future

Mission and Vision Statements are precise, inspiring statements that clearly communicate the direction and values of your dental office.

The Mission Statement explains the company’s reason for existence. While the vision describes the organization in the future.

Here are some mission and vision statements from well-known companies and some general ones meant for dental practices:

Sample: Southwest Airlines

MISSION: The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.

VISION: Our goal is to be the hometown airline of every community we serve, and because those communities sustain and nurture us with their support and loyalty, it is vital that we, as individuals and in groups, embrace each community with the Southwest Spirit of involvement, service, and caring to make those communities better places to live and work

Sample: Starbucks

MISSION: Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

VISION: When we are fully engaged, we connect with, laugh with, and uplift the lives of our customers – even if just for a few moments. Sure, it starts with the promise of a perfectly made beverage, but our work goes far beyond that. It’s really about human connection.

Sample: Ritz Carlton

MISSION: Care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission. We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed yet refined ambiance.

VISION: The Ritz-Carlton experiences enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.

Sample: General Dental

MISSION: Our goal is to provide patients with the highest quality dental care in a comfortable, relaxed and friendly environment.

VISION: To provide optimal oral health services with state of the art equipment

Everyone on the team should understand and take ownership of the practice mission and vision. If you do not have either of these statements you are leading your team without a quest! Give them a quest not just “because you said so”.

Take a moment and figure out what you want your practice stand for and how you will achieve it. Choose to inspire and motivate why they do what they do every day.

Balance (3)

Making Insurance Work for You

June 10, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Laci Phillips @ 4:02 pm

Balance (3)

There are many jobs we are responsible for in the business office. We are educators, communicators, coordinators, leaders, and team members. All of the jobs can be rewarding and frustrating at the same time, however, I think the most frustrating can be that of the Insurance Coordinator. We work tirelessly each day getting benefits, eligibility, claim status and then of course payment. It is time to stop working harder and feeling aimless at the end of the day, it is time to make insurance work for you!
One of the things I love the most about our industry is the technology that is introduced almost daily. When I first started working with insurance companies, a mere 22 years ago, I would have to call each insurance company and sit on eternal hold just to have 12 to 15 questions answered with incomplete sentences. Now, we can press one icon to have the insurance network at our fingertips. Real Time Transaction Benefits and Real Time Eligibility is one of the easiest ways to make insurance work for you. This simple yet amazing technique allows us to connect to many different insurance companies for the breakdown we need to assist our patients.
Next step is electronic claims. At this stage of the technology world, why wouldn’t you be sending every claim from your office electronically? And don’t let attachments hold you back, with NEA Fast Attach, you can send any attachment with any claim. Oh and don’t forget, even companies that do not accept electronic claims, have a Payor ID number associated with them. You send the claim electronically, the clearing house will print, stuff the envelope and mail them for you.
Another benefit to electronic claims and the service is the reports you can generate. When you send a claim through a service, they each have a date and time stamp. Now you have proof of when the claim was received. That is definitely working for you!
And finally, the big payoff; Getting paid quickly and efficiently! Not only do electronic claims get paid faster, with Electronic Remittance and Direct Deposit, you can have the money in your bank account literally in days. As a matter of fact, we say by using today’s technology your 90 day insurance aging bucket should be $0.
Insurance will always be a struggle, there is no way around that. However, we don’t have to work near as hard as we used to. It is time to take back the aimless hours of chasing benefits and insurance money. Make insurance work for you and have a much more productive day.