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Dental Office Front & Back Clashes
I just returned from a new client’s dental practice where an epic conflict between the back and front had laid siege to the dental office. The doctor thought this Clash of the Titans would quickly blow over. Instead it blew up.
And what was this battle over?
Did you say, “Chart colors?”
I’m afraid so.
You see, one of the back office dental staff had “issues” with one of the dental front desk . This turned into a joust over what color the charts should be. So from that point on, when the back office person took a patient up front, guess what happened? Nothing. She simply left the patient with his chart at the front desk and left. It makes sense when you think about it. Who wants to talk to the person you’re engaged in mortal combat with? And these two dental staff members thought that the patients didn’t notice. Yeah, right. So like in most wars it’s the civilian population that suffers the most.
Tell me, have you ever walked into a business and noticed two semployees that didn’t get along? How did it make you feel? When you saw those two people argue, what was your impression of the business itself? Oh yeah, I bet you said, “This is fun I've gotta come back to this place!”
OK, back to my new client. He was beside himself and didn’t know what to do with this problem. I told him he didn’t need to anything with that problem.
He barked, “Are you kidding? I’m pulling my hair out here! What do you think I hired you for?”
I took a deep breath and told him, “I understand, but there’s a much bigger problem in the dental practice.”
“What could be a bigger problem than this???” he growled.
I took an even bigger breath and told him, “The bigger problem is you.”
My new client was jolted backwards as if a thunderbolt from Zeus had hit him between the eyes. He stared at me blankly. Then it began to sink in. He was the one who had allowed a skirmish to turn into all out warfare, all because he wanted to be a nice guy.
Dealing with dental staff issues is not fun. In fact I think it’s what dentists like the least about owning a dental practice. But there are correct procedures you can learn that will get the warriors in your office working as a team instead of battling each other.
Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a speaker in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at
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There is the good, the bad and the ugly of dental practice management, but many dentists will still tell you the probability is your dental consulting will work if you and your consultant are on the same page. It stands to reason that if a dental consultant had little value, worth or benefit that consultant could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long. A veteran dental consultant is also a "personal coach" who shold bring management wisdom based on "in the trenches" experience along with systems and protocols to that have been successfully implemented in other practices. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what systems work and don't across many dental practices.
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New Patient Experience and Patient Education
Daily and Weekly Checklists
General Policy Manual
What gets monitored, gets managed. It is as simple as that. The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue for re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee.
What most practice owners are lack in knowledge is not how to book an appointment, but rather how to be an effective leader. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply.
Questions To Ask
Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?
Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance?There are advantages to both.
If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.
Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.
The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.
Top Dental Practice Mangement Consultant
My name is Kevin Tighe. I am Cambridge's CEO and Senior Consultant. Before joining the Cambridge team I was in charge of setting up workshops for large nonprofits throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, I was fortunate to receive mentoring from several world-class business consultants, including a dental practice management guru, which led to a position at Cambridge as their seminar organizer. In time, I began crisscrossing the country delivering seminars myself for the better part of a decade. Subsequently, I moved up to senior consultant and eventually owner. Contributing writer to Dental Economics/DIQ, JADA, AGD Impact and Dental Town Magazine.
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