As long as people are breathing there are going to be issues!
1. Eyes and ears
This person IS the eyes and ears for you and the practice while you are producing dentistry. You NEED someone on your side. What I mean is you may think (or hope) that your whole team is on your side, but it’s not until someone really steps up and takes control of things that you realize all the things that were happening that you had no idea about. It could be as simple as a team member surfing the web during down time or something that you think is minimal but you are to busy to notice. Once I started addressing those small things that add up, everything started to flow much better. For example, I always explain it to my team as if you are surfing the web while on the clock, you are stealing from Dr. Mohan. I also found that once this was addressed everyone was leaving the office on time and not 20-30 minutes late because they were trying to get all of their end of the day stuff done. It just really helps keep the whole team on track and moving towards the same goal.
2. Team issues
This is one of the biggest problems I face on a day- to- day basis. This is also the number one headache cited by dentists in their practice. If only we could be a
“One man” (or woman) show! Hmm, there’s an idea! Don’t get me wrong I have a great team but there is always something going on. In other words, as long as people are breathing there are going to be issues. It could be as simple as someone wanting to take a vacation day sometime in the near future. Or, it could be someone arriving late to work consistently. The most important part of this is that someone addresses it immediately if not sooner. These issues become bigger when they drag on longer than necessary. I tell our team members that if I have to babysit them, they don’t work here anymore. Which translates into: if I have to address things with you more than once or twice, you just ain’t gettin’ it!
Delegating is one of the single most important things that a dentist can do. A team leader can instantly make a practice WAY more profitable. She (or he) takes the day-to- day tasks off of your plate so you can produce more dentistry, resulting in a better, less stressful practice for everyone. A lot of dentists do not trust someone enough to delegate much of anything, which is fine, if you want to be stagnant and stressed. The other question is “What do I delegate?” Truly everything in our practice that does not include producing dentistry or rapport-building with patients is delegated to the team leader or passed on to another team member by me. Realize here, too, that increased productivity does NOT only involve seeing more patients. This is just not the way it works. You can try it, but it is the quickest recipe for burnout available.
Ideally, you already have someone on your team that can train anyone who walks through the door. If you don’t have a system set up to train your new team members, they will largely train themselves and that’s just scary! Training is easily one of the MOST overlooked revenue-enhancing opportunities in a practice. I often get the question “What should I do when a team member doesn’t do what I want them to do?” The answer normally lies with a failure to train properly and systematically. I hear a lot of excuses from dentists, such as no time to train, etc. The truth is that you can not afford NOT to take the time to train to completion. There needs to be time appropriated to training every week until the job is done, no matter what. Don’t let anything get in the way! If you don’t get the training done, the new team member is not a failure, but the system for training has failed. It’s very important to keep expanding your existing teams’ training as well as that of new team members.
5. Intercepting and diffusing patient objections
A patient may have a small grievance or a huge complaint. Either way it needs to be addressed, and you (the doctor) don’t need to be getting interrupted 10 times during a procedure or to have 20 sticky notes waiting for you at the end of the day. This is also key for your financial arrangement system. You need a team leader that can close cases for you. In other words, for a long, long time, we were not getting FIRM financial arrangements done in our practice and our accounts receivable was totally out of control. Please do yourself a favor and if this is the way your practice operates, STOP IT today or sooner! Someone in your practice is not getting paid, and I guarantee that person is you. You owe it to yourself, your team and your patients. Patients are much less happy if they owe you money. If you don’t have a financial coordinator or team leader that can overcome patient financial objections, you are in big trouble.
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