Betty’s Top Ten FREE Dental Practice Improvement Tips for 2021

Betty’s Top Ten FREE Dental Practice Improvement Tips for 2021

Hello Friends,

Here you will find my Top Ten FREE Dental Practice Improvement Tips for 2021. They’re not just free to read, they’re free to implement. How awesome is that?! Ideas that when implemented, WILL help you increase production, attract more new patients, build relationships within the community, have more fun as a team, as well as exceed your established patients’ expectations.

Betty’s Top Ten FREE Dental Practice Improvement Tips for 2021

#1 – Mission, Vision, Core ValuesKnowing why you show up every morning will help to create a culture of happiness and excellence.

Mission – A clear definition of the purpose and focus of the practice today.

Vision – It is about what you want your practice to be in the future. It is the outcome/result of your mission.

Core Values – Core Values represent the beliefs and principles that define your practice, your team, and the patient experience you aim for in your dental practice.

Involve the entire team in your vision, mission, and goals for the practice. Involving your team will help to keep everyone on the same page, working together for the greater good of the practice. Encourage and empower your team to not only come up with new ideas and solutions to problems but to implement these ideas and solutions.

#2 – Lead by Example –  “Treat your employees how you would like them to treat your best patient!

If you want to see a positive change in your practice, you must consistently lead by example… be the change. It starts at the top. You set the tone for the day, make certain that it’s a happy & productive one. This includes any employee in a management position – if you have employees complaining about your office manager, take it seriously. A toxic office manager will destroy your practice over time, at the very least, cause a staff turnover nightmare.  In fact, any employee that is toxic to your vision, to your team, and/or your patients…needs to go. It’s not easy to make the decision to terminate someone’s employment, yet absolutely necessary if you want to improve your practice.  It’s been said that “what you allow you encourage.” Once you make the decision to no longer tolerate or allow the poor behavior and attitudes in your practice, you’ll breathe a huge sigh of relief.

#3 – Communication – “The art of communication is the language of leadership.”

  • Job Expectations & Job Responsibilities – What are the performance expectations for your team? Does each employee clearly understand their role in the practice? Have every team member write down a detailed list of all their job responsibilities. This is VERY helpful in determining more effective ways of doing things as well as finding out what is NOT being done.
  •  Morning Huddles – See: https://bettyhaydenconsulting.com/2019/04/30/dental-office-morning-huddle-tips-and-ideas/
  • Monthly Team Meetings – See: https://bettyhaydenconsulting.com/2019/12/27/tips-and-ideas-for-successful-monthly-dental-team-meetings/
  • Quarterly Employee Check-ins (AKA Performance Evaluations)
  • Hello, Good Morning! – Make it a point to greet your fellow team members every morning. Let people know that you see them and acknowledge them with a hello.
  • Thank you – Express your appreciation.  Saying thank you improves your office, your health, and the patient’s experience.
  • Commendation – Commend your employees when you catch them doing something “right”. Commendation boosts morale. Applaud & reward the behavior and actions that you want to see more of. Simply thanking your team at the end of the day goes a long way in making them feel appreciated. Little surprise treats and gifts every now and then are also much appreciated.

#4 – Know your Numbers – “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.” – Maya Angelou

Knowing your practice numbers and doing something with what you know about those numbers is key to growing and improving your practice. Numbers tell a story. Numbers tell you if your practice is healthy or unhealthy.  

Get a baseline of where you’re at in order to make a goal for where you want to go.  For example,

  • Overhead – Evaluate your true costs of doing business. What does it cost you per hour to keep the practice running?
  • Supplies – What is your supply budget vs what you are actually spending?
  • Payroll – What is your payroll percentage? Are you hygienists producing 3.3 times their salary?
  • Collections – Are you collecting what you produce and how long is it taking to collect your money?
  • Adjustments/Write-Offs – Are you closely monitoring your adjustments and write-offs?
  • Production – What are your hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly restorative and hygiene production goals?
  • New Patients – How many new patients do you want per month? What are you doing to welcome more new patients each month?
  • Attrition – How many patients are you losing each month and why?
  • Treatment Acceptance Vs Diagnosis – How many of your patients are saying yes to your best care? How are you keeping track of your unscheduled treatment plans?

If your numbers reveal unhealthiness be quick to act and get help to restore your practice to health and happiness.

Friends, do you know how many of your active patients have a future appointment and how many do not? Do you know how many new patients you are welcoming into the practice AND how many patients you’re losing each month?  To help you get that data quickly, like within minutes – if your PMS is either Dentrix, Eaglesoft, or Open Dental you can request a complimentary, no-obligation practice data snapshot here: Game-Changing Awareness from Dental Intelligence  – Within minutes we’ll identify your practice’s strengths and uncover hidden opportunities.  I am happy to assist you with this at no charge and with absolutely no obligation to do anything further with me. 

#5 – Declutter Clutter in your physical surroundings will clutter your mind and spirit.”

Clutter represents indecision. Decide to get rid of the clutter! That includes any sticky notes attached to computer monitors, coats/sweaters hanging on the backs of chairs, and fast-food drink containers sitting out on the counters. Along with unnecessary things sitting on treatment room counters. What about your sterilization area? Does it look clean and sterile? Or cluttered and unclean?

  • Make a cleaning schedule – including the who, what & when.  When will the parking lot, restrooms & reception room be checked & cleaned? This should be done several times throughout the day. Do not wait for the “cleaning person” to take care of those areas.  If the flooring needs to be vacuumed… vacuum it. If the glass on the windows/doors have fingerprints…clean them. If the restroom toilet and sink are dirty… clean them.  Make a promise as a team that if you see it (and you know you do) clean it.

SEE https://bettyhaydenconsulting.com/2019/12/03/are-you-past-due-for-your-office-cleaning/

#6 – Stay on Time – “Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.

If you’re often running behind schedule, investigate as to the reason(s) why. If you know the why… change whatever it is causing you to stray from the schedule. Running behind schedule sends a message to your patients and your team that you don’t respect their time. Respect your team by sticking to the scheduled work hours. Be sure that they are not habitually working through their lunch or having to work late. They need breaks to refresh and refuel. Give them that. They have a life outside of work and making them work past their scheduled end time is a real drag. I understand that sometimes unexpected events may occur so they might be asked to work late or into a lunch hour but this should be a rare occasion, not a daily or even occurrence. 

Arriving at the office with plenty of time before the first scheduled patient, expecting your patients to arrive on time, never wait on hygiene exams, calculate the actual amount of time it takes to do procedures, control the schedules, these things will help you stay on time.

#7 – Show you Care People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt

  • Post-Op Calls – Doctors and Hygienists, call your patients at the end of the day to see how well they are doing. (Tip: Call all patients that received an extraction, perio treatment, difficult procedure, were fearful or new to the office.)
  • Pre-Op Calls – Doctors and Hygienists start building your relationship with a new patient before they step foot in the practice. Call and give a warm welcome, let them know you are looking forward to meeting them at their appointment. It’s unexpected, takes only a few minutes, and will really make your new patient feel special.
  • Say My Name – Everyone likes to hear his or her name. Greet your patient’s by name. Use their name during treatment. Thank them by name for coming in or calling.
  • Memorable Goodbyes – Make a great last impression with a friendly goodbye…be sure to use the patient’s name.  Give them something good to talk about.
  • Thank you’s – Send handwritten thank you cards to your new patients and to your new patient referral sources.

#8 – Reappointments & Reactivation – “Do what matters, now.”

  • Reappointment – The best way to keep your patients active is to be sure to reappoint them for their next hygiene visit when they are there at the office. Also, help more of your patients say yes to your treatment recommendations and have them reserve their appointment at the time of treatment presentation.
  • Reactivation – Stay in touch with your unscheduled and/or inactive patients.

#9 – Online Presence – “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”

How are you presenting your dental practice, your services, your care, yourself, and your team online? Are you attracting potential new patients or turning them away? Consider briefly these four important areas…

  • Website – Your website should reflect the culture and personality of the practice and the team. The content should be fresh and relevant. The photos should be attractive and current. Think about this, when people visit your website are you welcoming them with warm and helpful messaging or inadvertently turning them away with poor messaging and unattractive pages?
  • Social Media – Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogs, Online Community News Pages, YouTube, and more help to build your dental practice. Even if you’re not a fan of social media, please remember that most likely many of your patients and potential patients are using these platforms regularly. 
  • Google My Business – Are you consistently posting fresh content to your Google business page? If not, you should. It’s free, easy to do and people visiting your listing like to see fresh content.
  • Reviews & Recommendations – Ask your patients to please review your office on Google and recommend you on Facebook. Don’t simply rely on third party companies to do this for you. It’s so simple (& free) to invite your patients to do this for you.

#10 – Training –There is no way the quality of your patient care and experiences will exceed the quality of the people who provide it.”

Don’t hold back in this area! Invest in your team. Thoroughly train any new employees on your practice goals, systems, software, telephone skills, dental procedures, protocols, etc.  However, training isn’t just for your new employees, everyone in the office needs regular training.

Is there a chance you might have some new dental equipment or training manuals just sitting on the shelf, collecting dust?  It’s most likely because your team didn’t understand or appreciate the why and the how. Knowing why and how this new idea, technique, equipment, or procedure works, benefits the patient, the team, and the office is critical to enthused implementation.

Doctors, if you would like to grow and improve your dental practice and have wondered what it might be like to work with me and what coaching is all about… please feel free to reach out to me to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation coaching call at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy start to 2021!

Have you signed up to receive my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas that are sent right to your email inbox each month? If not, take a second and sign up. Or send me your email address (bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) and I will send you an invite to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea!

Do you enjoy the dental leadership, management, and marketing tips and ideas that I share each month?   I would love and truly appreciate (seriously, it would make my day!) for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty (Dental Coach)

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on  FacebookTwitterInstagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest

Dental Patient Reactivation and Reappointment Tips and Ideas

Dental Patient Reactivation and Reappointment Tips and Ideas

Hello Friends,

Have you scheduled for some R & R in the new year? No, I’m not talking about rest & relaxation (although, you definitely want to schedule for that 😉 ) – the R & R that I am referring to is your patient reactivation and reappointments.  Why is this so important?

Because when your patients are healthy – your practice is healthy.  For your patients to smile healthy they need to schedule the treatment you’ve diagnosed and to come in regularly for their hygiene continuing care appointments.

Last year did you struggle with any of the following?

  • Low treatment plan acceptance from your patients.
  • Not knowing your active and inactive patient numbers.
  • Hygiene continuing care reports were a nightmare.
  • Too many holes in the schedule.
  • Poor treatment presentation skills.
  • Too many patients left the practice and you don’t know why.
  • Not enough time to keep your office social media sites current.

Don’t struggle another minute, plan now to make 2020 your BEST year yet! Get whatever help and training you need and want to make the necessary improvements. Feel free to contact me for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com to see if a coaching relationship is right for you.

Today, I’d like to help you tackle one of those struggles… your inactive and unscheduled patients. Let’s reactivate all of your patients that haven’t been in for one year or longer and schedule your active patients that are currently unscheduled.

Betty Hayden Consulting Dental Patient Reactivation Letter and ideas

The start of the new year is a great time to make a plan for reactivating and reappointing your patients…. (attack that File Cabinet…or computer patient database!)

Ideally, daily, weekly and monthly efforts should be made to develop and maintain relationships with your patients in order to keep them active.

The best way to keep your patients active is to be sure to reappoint them for their next hygiene visit when they are there at the office. Also, help more of your patients say yes to your treatment recommendations and have them reserve their appointment at the time of treatment presentation. You should be tracking both your pre-appointments and your re-appointments.  This is important if you want to reduce patient attrition and reduce the amount of money and time spent trying to reach these patients later on down the road.

Quick Side Note: Friends, if you do not know what your office numbers look like, or how many of your active patients are unscheduled, and so many other important key practice indicators; please take note of what those numbers look like. That is the only way to successfully grow your practice. You need to know where you’re at currently to know what your potential for growth is. To help you get that data quickly, like within minutes – if your PMS is either Dentrix, Eaglesoft, or Open Dental you can request a complimentary, no-obligation practice data snapshot here: Game-Changing Awareness from Dental Intelligence  – Within minutes we’ll identify your practice’s strengths and uncover hidden opportunities.

Now, back to Reappointments and Reactivations…

Control the Schedule – Same-day cancelations attempts and broken appointments must be handled effectively. The goal is to greatly reduce the number of same-day schedule changes and for the appointments that you can’t save be sure to reschedule them while the patient is still on the phone. (Unless of course, they’re a habitual offender!) See more tips here: How to Reduce Same Day Dental Appointment Cancellations and No Shows

However, if for whatever reason your inactive patient database is growing (you are tracking this, right?) – take steps now to welcome those patients back into the schedule. You can start by reaching out to them with a We Miss You reactivation letter and email.

If you would like a sample letter that you can customize to your practice for your patients – feel free to request one at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Some suggestions for your letter are:

  • Include a deadline to respond.
  • Use a handwritten colored envelope (Grab their attention!).
  • Have two offers: One for your patient and one for a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor.
  • Make a call to the patients about a week after mailing the letter.
  • Be sure to document all attempts at contacting the patient and the response.
  • Include Social Media & Office Contact Information.

I hope that these tips and ideas are helpful to you.

I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK.    Thank you very much!!

Friends, schedule some R & R and make it a GREAT Year!

Are you receiving my free Dental Leadership, Practice Management, and Marketing Ideas in your email inbox each month? If not, please follow today or send me (bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Tips and Ideas to Fill Holes In Dental Hygiene Schedules

Tips and Ideas to Fill Holes In Dental Hygiene Schedules

Hello Dental Friends,

Holes in the dental hygiene schedule, why do we dread this so much? Because, unfilled appointments, canceled or missed appointments all kill profitability.

So what do you do? You probably are desperate for a quick fix to fill the holes in the schedule. Right? Well, I’ll help you out by sharing some ideas to fill the hygiene schedule as a quick fix. However, I must say a quick fix is typically only a temporary fix. If holes in the schedule are becoming the norm around your office you need something more than a quick fix to figure out why this is happening and work to prevent your hygiene schedule from looking like Swiss cheese every week. Please email me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com or comment here if this is becoming an issue with your schedule. I can help you prevent these holes from happening.

On to the ideas for a quick (temporary) fix:

Note: If at all possible, try to avoid moving patients appointments around to fill in gaps. It can aggravate the patient. It’s always best to keep their appointment as scheduled.

Also, this isn’t the time to point fingers or start blaming someone for having holes in the schedule. Work together, as a team to fill these holes. Ideally, the hygienist should be involved in making these calls to patients, etc. Patients are more likely to respond when it’s their beloved hygienist calling them. Besides, the hygienist(s) are obviously the one(s) with the extra time. So the ideas I share are directed to the hygiene department with the goal of them becoming productive, happy and profitable.  (Again, you will want to at a later date, work together as a team to determine why this is happening and create solutions to repair the breakdown.)

how to fill holes in dental hygiene schedule

  • Call List – Do you have any patients that would like to come in at an earlier date for their hygiene appointment?  Call them and let them know you have a rare unexpected change in the schedule and can see them sooner.
  • Cancellation/Missed Appt List – Do you have any patients on these lists that can be called? (BTW: If you’re not looking at this report each week, you should be!)
  • Family Members – Check for other family members due for their hygiene appt. Is there someone coming in with hygiene that has family members that are also due in hygiene that may want to take one of those open slots.
  • Doctors Schedule – Check the doctors schedule for any patients that may be due for their hygiene appt and are coming in around the time that needs to be filled in hygiene. Invite them to take care of their hygiene appointment at the same time.
  • Incentives – Offer an Incentive for accepting a last-minute appointment. For example, complimentary fluoride, teeth whitening, small gift or gift card. Use your social media platforms to advertise this awesome today (or tomorrow) only opportunity.
  • Continuing care/past-due List – Get on the phone and with an enthusiastic and positive tone make some calls to your patients that are due or past due in hygiene. (Vary the times you make these calls. You’ll reach more patients this way.)
  • Social Media – Engage with your patients, potential patients and local businesses on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. For ideas see: Social Media Content
  • Spend more time with your patients. If you have open time that couldn’t be filled, take this opportunity to discuss better home care tools, update their information and medical history, do some perio charting, talk about cosmetic services, any recent continuing education courses, place sealants, apply desensitizing agent to any sensitive teeth, take impressions for whitening trays, review incomplete treatment with them, ask them if they’ll kindly leave a review on Google, Facebook or Yelp, mention how dental gift certificates make great gifts, etc.

Just a reminder before making any calls, it would be a good idea to check your patient’s account balance, insurance benefits and review their clinical notes. Also, be sure to document all calls, conversations, and correspondence made to or with the patient.

If the holes in your schedule are a few weeks out you can try these ideas:

  • Special Offers – Focus on a particular service or group of patients to target with special offers or prizes on a day that has a lot of holes. For example, Mouthguards  / Teeth Whitening / Sealants / Desensitizing Agents / Back to School / Kids day / Senior day.
  • Fun Themed days – Superhero, Luau, BBQ, Disney, Sports, etc.

Despite your best efforts to fill the schedule, you may still end up with some holes that just couldn’t be filled. That’s alright, there is plenty to do to remain productive during this time.

During downtime:

  • Get on the phone and make continuing care calls.
  • Pull Incomplete hygiene treatment report and call, send postcards, emails, texts or letters to your patients.
  • Make calls, send emails, postcards, letters, etc.to your patients that are due, past due or almost due in hygiene.
  • Thoroughly clean and stock treatment rooms.
  • Get out and visit with area businesses. Introduce the office, take them a small gift and a “let’s get acquainted” special offer.
  • Discuss some marketing ideas for the office.
  • Continuing Education. Watch a webinar or video, read a manual, etc. Improve your clinical skills, knowledge of new technology and procedures, telephone scripting, office protocols, etc.
  • Take a tour of the office and look for any areas that could use some improvements. See Clean your Dental Office for ideas.

I hope these ideas provide you with a quick fix to fill those holes in your schedule. Let me know how they work for you. If you enjoy the complimentary ideas that I share each month, I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review on GOOGLE or FACEBOOK

If you are not yet receiving my free dental marketing ideas every month to your email inbox, PLEASE take a second and subscribe today. This way, you won’t miss a single idea. Feel free to share my blog with your dental friends. ~ Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on  FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest

How to Successfully Ask for and Collect Payment for Dental Treatment

Hello Friends,

Fear of cost moves many people to put off visiting the dentist or to cancel their appointments for scheduled treatment. Fear of presenting fees causes many team members to dread or avoid presenting treatment plans/financial expectations and asking for payment. These fears do not help the patient or the office.

Would you like to see more patients not only accept treatment but pay for it before or at time of service?  Would you like to see an increase in production and office collections?  Would you like to decrease the amount of time and money being spent on making collection calls and sending patient statements/letters?

how to ask for and collect dental payments from Betty Hayden Consulting

Today, I’ll share with you a few tips to help make that happen.

  1. See the true value of dentistry – With each day and each and every patient you and your team have the privilege and opportunity to potentially change someone’s life or at the very least, help them smile healthier. A healthy smile is part of a healthy body, healthy smiles and bodies create healthy communities.  The entire team must believe this. The entire team must also wholly believe that you’re providing the best quality care. Having full confidence in the doctors and hygienists ability to provide quality care and to create beautiful and healthy smiles is a must.
  2. Be confident with fees – The entire team should role play presenting small and large treatment plans and financial arrangements until every one is comfortable saying the dollar amounts out loud and with pride.
  3. Financial policy – Have a written financial policy that is kindly reviewed with the patient at their first appt. Have them sign and take a copy with them. For your existing patients, review with them any changes to your financial policies, have them sign and give them a copy to take home.
  4. Avoid assumptions and judgement – Don’t make decisions for the patient as to whether or not they can afford the treatment based on your assumptions or reality. Remember this, Sympathy vs Empathy: Sympathy is feeling for the patient… deciding for them that they can’t afford the dental care, Empathy is feeling with the patient… yes, this is more than they were wanting to pay, however, you’re going to give them hope… you’re going to offer third party financing, break up the treatment plan if possible or allow them to make payments as a credit until they have enough money to get started with treatment. Always offer the best treatment and flexible payment options and allow the patient to decide what they want to accept or not.
  5. No surprises! – Present treatment plan and financial portion before treatment is started. Make sure your numbers are as accurate as possible, especially when estimating the insurance portion. If you accept their insurance, have up to date eligibility, breakdown of benefits and the insurance fee schedule on file for the patient.
  6. Payment due before or on day of service – No billing the patient for co-pays or payment for services. (Hint: Collecting prior to appt. will reduce cancellations and no-shows. Another Hint: Collect co-pay before the patient goes back for treatment, especially if they’re having a lengthy or difficult appt. No one wants to stand at the front desk fumbling for money or to write a check with gauze hanging out of their mouth after an extraction, or numb and exhausted after a long appt. Make it more comfortable for them by collecting their pmt and making any necessary follow up appts before they go back. )
  7. Make it easy for them to pay – In addition to accepting cash, check and charge cards, offer third party financing. Avoid in-office payment plans!
  8. Incentives – Offer incentives for patients to pay when they make the reservation.
  9. Dealing with forgetful patients – When a patient says they forgot to bring money…they can either call the payment in over the phone when they get home or give them an envelope with payment due date for them to mail in a check. Call the patient if payment isn’t received by due date.
  10. When Insurance is involved –  Always give the full treatment fee, the estimated insurance amount and the patient’s estimated co-pay that is due today. Let the patient know you’ll send in the claim and inform them if anything changes with the estimated insurance portion. Watch your insurance aging report closely. Promptly follow up on any unpaid claims, insurance rejections and requests for add’l information.

There you have it, 10 tips to successfully collect payment before or at time of service.

Once you make a plan to consistently collect payments before or at time of service, and hold your team accountable to follow through with that plan, you’ll wish you started it sooner.

Here are a few more tips to help make this a true success for you.

  • Daily, Weekly and Monthly, monitor your patient and insurance accounts receivables, collection and credit reports.  (Carefully review write-off’s, discounts, credits, charges and payments.)
  • Each day, look at the day prior, what were your total production charges & collections? Pay close attention to the total patient responsibility vs patient payments, these numbers should be close to the same. If not, why not?
  • ALWAYS send out clean insurance claims! If your administrative team needs any training in this ever changing insurance world with how to estimate co-pays, send out claims (daily),  post insurance payments and adjustments…get them the proper training asap!
  • Don’t assume… know by who, when, what and how your money is being handled. It’s important for the entire team to understand why this information is necessary.
  • Set goals, share with your team what your production and collection goals are and how it benefits them to all work together as a team to reach or exceed these goals. Consider offering a small bonus or incentive when these goals are reached.

Print out these tips and suggestions and review them at your next team meeting.

Please know, I’m happy to help you and your team develop a plan to reach your production and collection goals. I offer complimentary consultations via email at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Have you signed up to receive my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas that are sent right to your email in box each month? If not, take a second and sign up. This way, you won’t miss a single idea! If you think your dental colleagues would appreciate receiving these ideas each month, feel free to share my blog address with them. Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest