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Dental Team Conflict Resolution Tips and Ideas

This is Madow Center Lead Coach Betty Hayden here today!!

Did you know that the month of April is Workplace Conflict Awareness Month?

This is a topic that should be discussed at a team meeting. Why? Conflict happens! Make a plan and an agreement as to how all office conflict will be addressed and resolved.

Steps to deal with office conflict:

  1. Calm down and talk with the other person. (Don’t go to anyone else to discuss the conflict.)
  2. Attack the problem, not the person. Focus on behaviors and events.
  3. Listen carefully – listen to understand and not to be understood.
  4. Brainstorm solutions with a focus on the future. What it will take to move forward?
  5. Celebrate your success!

To manage conflict, Excellent Communication is Essential.

Communication  –

  • Job descriptions and expectations must be clearly defined. This is a great time to ask every team member to write a list of their job description and responsibilities. Have them indicate next to each task how often it is done (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, varies, etc.). This will help you determine if and when and by whom these tasks are being accomplished. You might find some important tasks are not being done at all or not often enough and so on.

  • Team Meetings/Morning Huddles are essential for a happy and smooth work day. (I’ll cover tips on how you can have a successful morning huddle in an upcoming Coaches Corner.)

  • Address quickly any needed discipline or correction, don’t wait for a staff meeting to address these problems. Instead, meet one on one with the offender.

  • Avoid office negativity, it’s toxic and will infect your team – Rather, focus on and share positive experiences.
  • Your team must know the why, what, and how. They may know the what and the how but not the why. Oftentimes, this is why employees are there just to collect a paycheck. Talk about what you believe and attract those who believe what you believe. People buy the why not the what.
  • Positive Gossip Only! Entire team agrees to stop gossip. Refuse to listen to it. Rather, encourage the person to go directly to the other person they have an issue or complaint about. Unless of course, they can let it go and move on.

In addition to communication, Proper Training is Imperative–  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. This leads me to the next point…

Continuing Education – Continuing education, not just for the providers but for the entire team is a wonderful way to ensure practice growth. Not to mention, it’s a great team-building experience, one that will give you a happier and motivated team. Think about this, your administrative team is the first and last impression made on each and every one of your patients. This includes potential patients that call your office. Certainly, you want to have the very best training and education for not only your clinical team but your administrative team too. You can do this with in-office training, webinars, lunch and learns, and seminars/classes outside of the office.

Have you heard about The Best Seminar Ever (better known as TBSE)? It is absolutely the best seminar I have ever been to! If you’re ready to boost your team and take your practice to the next level, please check it out here: TBSE -The Best Seminar Ever.

It is my wish that these ideas and tips will help you and your team experience greater happiness at work without unnecessary negative conflict. If you have any questions or concerns about what you’ve read today or would like to set up a complimentary telephone consultation to learn how I can help your office grow and succeed, please call 1-800-258-0060 or simply respond to this email with your best contact information and we will be in touch.

Yours for Greater Success,
~Betty

Betty Hayden is the lead coach at The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental profession. Her expertise is in effective telephone answering techniques, profitable scheduling, marketing campaigns, communication, social media, new patient acquisition, practice growth, and much more. She is called “The Idea Woman” because she grows practices!

If you have a question for this column, please write to us at coaches@madow.com. And remember, we would like to offer you a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

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Coaches Corner – My Last Dentist Never Told Me That!

Dear Madow Coaches,

Last year I purchased the practice of a retiring dentist, mainly for the “charts.” I have been very pleased with the amount of patients who are coming to see me from this practice.

The problem is, most of them are dental-neglect disasters. It’s bad enough that they never seem to have had a proper examination; “Dr. Jones” never even took x-rays! Then I turn out to be the bad guy for doing a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

When someone says to me “Why didn’t Dr. Jones tell me that?” I am at a loss. I just say to them “Dr. Jones didn’t take x-rays.” Seems like a good explanation, but I’m not sure. What do you suggest?

Flustered in Florida

Dear Flustered in Florida,

We understand that a lot of people are flustered in Florida! But that may be for different reasons….

Okay – here is the number one, most important, cardinal, oriole, blue jay rule. Don’t throw old Dr. Jones under the bus. Remember, no matter how incompetent and vision impaired Dr. Jones may have been, his patients probably loved him! So it’s not cool to insinuate that his diagnostic abilities were less than stellar. 

So just be honest and try something like this:

“Well, I can’t tell you what Dr. Jones saw during your last examination, but I can definitely tell you what we are seeing here today…..” Then go on to explain your thorough exam. Be sure to tell them things like “New research has shown the need for a very comprehensive examination of your gums to check for infection and inflammation…” 

They will get the idea, and you will (somewhat) spare the reputation of their beloved Dr. Jones! 
 
Coach Rich
Coach Dave

 

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please. 

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Management and Marketing Tips For April

Today’s column comes from Betty Hayden, the lead coach at The Madow Center for Dental Practice Success!

Hi everyone! Today let’s talk about some easy-to-implement tips tied in to the month of April.

When I share practice management and marketing ideas with you each month, my goal is to help you exceed your current and potential patients’ expectations. Just as important, if not most important is to consistently exceed your employees’ expectations. Why? Because an employee that feels appreciated will always deliver more than is expected.

Here are a few tips ideas to help you get your second quarter off to a great start!

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month & Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week: 1st -8th   – This is an excellent opportunity for you to raise oral cancer awareness and the need for early detection in order to save lives. Consider offering complimentary oral cancer screenings during the month of April or on a designated day. Be sure to promote your event on your social media platforms, in-office, and to the local TV & Print News Media Outlets.

National Pet Month –  People love to talk and brag about their pets. Use this week to ask your friends/patients on your social media sites to post pictures of their pets. Post pictures of your team members pets. Turn it into a contest: the pet with the most likes wins a special treat.

Give-away: Hand out dog treats packaged with your office information. Even if a patient doesn’t have a dog surely they know someone who does…great way to get your office name out there!

Stress Awareness Month ~ Stress can impact your dental health. Share tips on how to de-stress and protect your smile. Or, for some, going to the dentist can be a stressful experience. Share ways that your office helps to make dental visits comfortable and stress-free.

National Dental Hygienist Week (Canada): 11-17  – This one is for our Canadian friends – celebrate your hard-working hygienists all week long, eh?

Cleaning For A Reason Week: 18-24 – Send out email & text reminders to your patients that are due/past-due for their hygiene visit. Time for their Spring Cleaning! The “reason”? For their health’s sake – or, consider donating a portion of the production to a local charity.

Administrative Professionals Week: 22-28 –  Your administrative professionals are the first and last impression people receive from your office. Show your love and appreciation for all that they do to keep the office running smooth each day.

National Fun at Work Day: 5 – Have a silly & fun theme for this day. (For example, crazy hair, silly socks, decades day, etc.)

So there you have it, some fun & educational ways to help your patients and potential patients smile and exceed their expectations during the month of April.

Yours for Greater Success,
~Betty

Betty Hayden is the lead coach at The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental profession. Her expertise is in effective telephone answering techniques, profitable scheduling, marketing campaigns, communication, social media, new patient acquisition, practice growth, and much more. She is called “The Idea Woman” because she grows practices!

If you have a question for this column, please write to us at coaches@madow.com. And remember, we would like to offer you a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

To sign up for our mailing list CLICK HERE

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A great idea from a reader of Coaches Corner

One of our favorite “idea guys” is Dr. Mitchell Josephs of Palm Beach, FL. Here is a great technique he uses in his practice to actually get people excited about showing up for their appointment when lab work is involved. Take it away “Dr. Joe!”

Hey guys! I came up with this idea when I was at the gym. We have been bitch’n that this one machine we like has been broken forever! Finally, my trainer told the owner to at least put a sign on the machine that says: “Parts on order; thank you for your patience!” At least this makes us feel the gym is on top of it and help is on the way.
 
I always like how Amazon and Ebay send me alerts on the shipping progress of my orders. I get excited when that 1969 Alfa Romeo taillight I ordered has been shipped and was in Arkansas yesterday, and then “out for delivery today.” 
 
See the email below I now send to every patient awaiting lab work to come in:
Subject: Your Dental Lab Work 
Dear Frank:
You lab work is in progress! (see below)
Thank you for your continued trust in our office. See you on the 15th to deliver your night guard.
Dr. J.
DIGITAL ORDER NOTIFICATION
Account Number: 10-45375
Order Received: 3/19/18
Your digital order is in production and will be shipped on 3/24/18
Patient name: Frank Reynolds
———————————–
It’s amazing – when I send this email patients actually get excited about their lab work and their appointment! I hope your readers enjoy this tip. Dr. Mitchell Josephs
Palm Beach, FL

Thanks Dr. Joe! Keep ’em coming!!

 

If you have a question for this column, please write to us at coaches@madow.com. And remember, we would like to offer you a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

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So Did He Throw A Party For The Hygienist?

 

A few weeks ago we published a question from Dr. Mitchell Josephs. Just in case you forgot, here is the question:

Dear Madow Brothers,

After 21 fantastic years in the practice, my hygienist Susie is retiring. She has treated several generations of patients here and everyone loves her.

Should I send an email blast out to our existing patients (coming from her) telling everyone of her retirement, or just inform patients the day before their recall appointments that Susie retired, Ms. Schtupalot will be seeing you today!?”

On one hand I don’t want my patients to claim I did “not inform them”, but on the other hand I don’t want to give them an opportunity to start calling around to find someone else “closer to home” for their cleanings.

Thanks for your advice,

Dr. Mitchell Josephs
Palm Beach, FL
 
So – we asked for suggestions from readers of Coaches Corner, and they came in like crazy! They ranged from doing absolutely nothing to holding a big retirement party for the hygienists and inviting the entire community. So what did Dr. Josephs do? Here it is.

All my patients who thought that my previous hygienist, Susie, of 22 years was the greatest thing since sliced Mandel loaf, now think my new hygienist Rita is the “best they ever had.”

While I was slaving over my drill for 22 years, Susie was not keeping up with perio charting, x-rays and diagnosing and treating perio disease. She would chit chat for 45 min, and clean teeth for 15 min. Poor leadership on my part! I was too busy worrying about my end of the practice and keeping my chair filled. I ignored hygiene.

The new RDH is on average producing 50% more revenue than the previous one.

From your consensus of your DDS’s way to handle the transition, I went with: “Do nothing, other than when confirming their hygiene appointment on the phone, just tell them ‘Susie retired and you will love her successor Rita.’ ” Some people suggested I “should have a retirement party for Susie, inviting my patients and introducing her to the new gal.”  My feeling on this suggestion? Screw dat!

Cheers!

Dr. Mitchell Josephs
 
Just in case you are wondering, Dr. J has an extremely successful practice in South Florida. But as we have experienced with just about every one of our coaching clients, even great practices could use some improvement, and it usually takes someone from the outside (that’s us!) to do the diagnosis. Wanna chat about it? Just let us know!
 
Coach Rich
Coach Dave

 

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

To sign up for our mailing list CLICK HERE

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We All Screw Up

Dear Coaches,

Please help to settle a little disagreement in our office. A patient came in for a crown insert, but the crown was not here! We messed up by putting the wrong date on the lab slip. My assistant thought that we should tell the patient that the lab did not deliver the crown on time. I thought a better answer was that we looked at the crown and were not happy with the quality. Who is right?

Thanks,

Dr. Lynne Jeffries
Manchester, NH

Lynne,

Thanks so much for your question. It can be tough to figure out what to do when things go wrong in your office.

Maybe (as in your case) a patient came in for their insert appointment and the crown was not back from the lab.

Or possibly you had a schedule malfunction and couldn’t see a patient when they came in.

Or maybe your insurance estimate was way off and the patient was pissed because they owed a lot more than they were originally told.

The list can go on and on because no matter how conscientious we are, screw-ups happen. But there is a pretty simple three-step formula for taking care of them.

Tell the truth.

Trying to fudge the truth to appease a patient or telling a white lie to make the doctor or team member look better rarely works. And of course as the saying goes, when you tell the truth you never have to remember what you said!

Take responsibility and apologize.

So don’t “blame it on the lab.” Even if it was the lab’s fault, that excuse looks about as hollow as saying the dog ate your homework (or blaming any other situation on the dog). The fact is – anything that happens is ultimately the responsibility of the practice.

Make restitution.

Waive the fee. Give a Starbucks gift certificate. (It’s great to have a stack of these around the office.) If the patient is being reasonable, do your best to accommodate.

Simple? Yes. The right thing to do? Absolutely! When you screw up – admit it, apologize, and make it better!

We had a minor mess-up at The Madow Brothers office last week. We had the tuition incorrect for our upcoming “Deeper Than Dentistry” seminar, which will take place on Friday March 23rd. So for that – we take full responsibility and we are very sorry!

To see the correct (low!!) tuition and to find out more about this unique and life-changing (seriously!) course, visit www.deeperthandentistry.com!

Hope to see you there!

Coach Rich
Coach Dave

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

To sign up for our mailing list CLICK HERE

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Some Marketing Ideas For February

Hey everyone – Betty Hayden here!

With the goal of helping you have an amazing and productive February, I’m sharing some Marketing and Practice Management tips & ideas that you can use during the month.

These ideas will also help to exceed your current & potential patients expectations and make for a more fun February at the office.

Hygiene Continuing Care Reminders –

Include a Special Message with your Continuing Care Reminders – a message that is educational and will help to create urgency to schedule for any of your patients that are past due.

Reminders for Adults –  February is Heart Health Month (healthy teeth lead to a healthy heart).

Tip: If you’re not currently taking your patients’ blood pressure at their appointments… make it a goal to start during the month of February.

For $24.00 you can get a wrist blood pressure cuff on Amazon. That’s so cheap you can have one in every room, or even use them as giveaways!!

Many people see their dentist more regularly than a physician and could get an early warning about high blood pressure when getting their teeth cleaned or having other dental treatment done.

Reminders for Children – February is Children’s Dental Health Month. (Reminders can be that tooth decay is the most common childhood disease or how sealants protect the teeth from cavities.)

Tip: Offer free school field trips to the dentist or visit local schools or your public library for a dental-health presentation. If you do school visits or field trips to your office, make sure every kid (and adult!) gets a “Goodie Bag” with your office name and contact info on it.

Content Ideas for your Blog and Social Media Pages:

Heart Health Month:

  • Video Demonstrating Proper Flossing Techniques
  • Heart Healthy Foods
  • Heart Disease Facts
  • Why Regular Dental Visits are Important

Children’s Dental Health Month:

  • Healthy Lunch/Snack ideas
  • What to do in a Dental Emergency?
  • Ortho care while at school
  • Dental Health (importance of, regular check-ups, sealants, mouthguards, fluoride & braces)
  • Tooth Eruption Chart
  • Daily Tooth brushing Check-list

Even MORE Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement:

Toothache Day: 9th
The Great American Spit Out: 22nd  / Through With The Chew: 18-24th
National Tooth Fairy Day: 28th

Those are just a few  tips & ideas for the Month of February. Enjoy!

Wishing you all a Happy & Productive February!
~Betty

Betty Hayden is the lead coach at The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental profession. Her expertise is in effective telephone answering techniques, profitable scheduling, marketing campaigns, communication, social media, new patient acquisition, practice growth, and much more. She is called “The Idea Woman” because she grows practices!  

If you have a question for this column, please write to us at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only, please.

HELP! My dental ship is sinking…

Dear Madow Brothers Coaches,

Things are so bad in my practice I don’t even know where to begin. I am producing close to a million dollars a year and collecting around $750K. This is considered really good for my mid-sized Midwestern town. But I am earning practically nothing. My hygienist and my associate are both earning more take-home than me.

Our new patient flow has collapsed, and we are losing patients to two new practices that have opened nearby. It gets worse.

My lab just cut me off because I owe them over $50,000. I owe money on two credit cards, and am still paying off a practice construction loan (when I can). Sometimes I feel like I am the captain of the Titanic and my staff is the orchestra, just blindly playing as the ship sinks. Can you help?

Dr. Jay
Somewhere in Ohio

 
Dr. Jay-

Wow – you sure have a lot of things going on there. So first of all, let’s make this clear. There are no coaches or consultants in dentistry who can wave a magic wand and fix your practice. Not us, not Roger, not Cathy, not Lois, not Mayer, and certainly not those people who call you every day, belittle you, and scare the shit out of you until you sign up. But the good news is, based on our years of experience, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it can be found. 

There is an old saying – “How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time.” And while we are certainly not recommending or condoning eating elephants, this will be the way you need to approach things. That said, here are a few questions and starting points for you.

When you say that you produce close to a million and collect 750K, does that mean you are writing off a ton of PPO stuff? That is not necessarily bad, but the fact is, if you agreed to a PPO fee schedule you never actually produced at full fee. So that figure is a fantasy. If you are not talking about write-offs, you have a seriously bad collection problem that is adding considerably to your overhead.

If your associate is out-earning you, what is the point? Not every practice needs associates.

Why are you being beaten by those new practices? Our guess is that you are doing little about this, trying to depend on your reputation and word-of-mouth, Hint: It’s 2018. 

We can guess (and we are right) that you do not have an effective system to reconnect with your patients who have not been in for a while, do not have a hygiene appointment scheduled, or have diagnosed but untreated dental needs. And remember, any old system is not necessarily an effective one. 

Has an outside expert (such as an accountant who specializes in dental practices) reviewed your expenses and debt issues? It is pretty safe to say you are missing a lot here.  

Just a guess here (again based on experience) that if we called your practice posing as a new patient your front desk team would not make the appointment. We cannot even tell you how many times we have heard “Oh – my front desk person is fantastic!” only to call and be connected with Clueless Claire. 

And here is where it gets a little deeper. We have found that when we work with someone with a practice similar to yours (and we have done that lots of times) the problems are not just with the dental office. We always start with a pretty intense interview process, and nine times out of ten when someone has a similar situation there are factors that go WAY beyond new patients, collections, etc.

Yes – that means that there are some screwed-up things going on in their lives that are negatively affecting their practice. (Not to brag here, but we are the only dental coaches that go deep like that!) Of course that is not always the case, and we are glad to work with “just the practice.” But again, experience shows that outside factors typically contribute to this kind of stuff.

Bottom line – you need some help! This is not a situation you can fix yourself. Keep doing what you are doing and it is just a matter of time before there is a padlock on your door and a “For Rent” sign in the window. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen!!
 
Coach Rich
Coach Dave

 

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

To sign up for our mailing list CLICK HERE

My hygienist is retiring – what should we do?

Dear Madow Brothers,

After 21 fantastic years in the practice, my hygienist Susie is retiring. She has treated several generations of patients here and everyone loves her.

Should I send an email blast out to our existing patients (coming from her) telling everyone of her retirement, or just inform patients the day before their recall appointments that “Susie retired, Ms. Schtupalot will be seeing you today!?”

On one hand I don’t want my patients to claim I did “not inform them”, but on the other hand I don’t want to give them an opportunity to start calling around to find someone else “closer to home” for their cleanings.

Thanks for your advice,

Dr. Mitchell Josephs
Palm Beach, FL
 
Dr. J,

This is a great question, and the answer could go one of two ways.

You could just do nothing, and inform your patients when they come in for their appointment by saying something like,

“Mrs.Yenta, Susie has retired, and although we didn’t think we would ever be able to replace her, we were so lucky to have found Linda. She is fantastic and you will love her!!” To avoid the “you never told me” syndrome, you could also inform patients of this during their confirmation. 

Or….. you could use this opportunity to proactively introduce your patients to the new hygienist and get some excellent goodwill out of the situation!

Have an open house retirement party to honor Susie and introduce everyone to your new hygienist. Thank all your patients for their loyalty and friendship. Have some giveaways, etc…. After doing that, why would they go anywhere else?

The decision may rest on the character of your practice. Although this is a gross generalization, an insurance-dependent practice where most patients are there because of “a list” would be more likely to go with option number one. In a pure FFS practice – the second plan would work better.

The bottom bottom line is – if you have done all of the “little things” right and have developed a high level of patient loyalty, patients understand that changes in personnel happen, and should be more than willing to give the new hygienist a chance.

Coach Rich
Coach Dave

 

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

What is THE most important skill everyone in the dental practice needs to know?

Coaches,

My New Year’s Resolution is to keep things more simple. Talking to patients, training my team, doing procedures, whatever it is, my motto for 2018 is “Keep It Simple!” So here is my question.

What is the ONE most important skill in the dental practice for both the dentist and team?

Dr. John “Simple Simon” Murry
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

John –

That’s a great question and a nice way to start the year. It’s a tough one too because there are so many skills necessary to running a successful practice.

But there is ONE skill that will absolutely make everything you do better. It will improve your treatment plan acceptance, your collections, your new patient counts, your clinical outcomes, your team relations, and just about everything in your practice and your life. This goes for docs and team members. And it can all be summed up in one word. The skill is this.

Listen. 

Really listen. Do it before you speak. Before you treatment plan. Before you interrupt. And do it with both ears and a clear mind.

Think about it this way. How can you ever know what is really best for a patient if you don’t listen? How can team members settle their differences fairly if they don’t listen? How can a dental practice function if people don’t listen? You can’t. They can’t. It can’t. So listen!

One of the things about our coaching that separates us from the rest is that we don’t have pre-written modules, or phases, or policies. We can’t. Why? We listen!!

So want to do one simple thing that will make 2018 amazing? Listen!

Coach Rich
Coach Dave

 

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.