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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.

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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.

Coaches Corner Mailbag – Our readers write!!

At “The Corner,” we welcome your questions, and we welcome your opinions too! Today’s column features some interesting reader comments.
 
Re: What does “CDA” really stand for?
 
Madow Bros.,

I find myself in a similar situation.
 
One of my DA ruffles feathers, stirs up the group. The reason I have not fired her is out of fear. Fear because the one thing she is good at is showing up. She will always fill in for someone or do double duty. She is loyal in that way. From time to time she just ruffles my feathers. 
 
Name and city withheld
 
Rich and Dave,

“The Gospel According To Michael” states that if you have a gallon of water and you put in one drop of poison then you have a gallon of POISON !  Get rid of her!
 
Dr. Michael O’Brien
Auburn, AL
 
My best advice – hire slowly and fire quickly. If every single day you are contemplating whether or not someone belongs in your practice, they probably don’t.
 
Dr. Darren Ho
The Great North Woods
 
Re: The Letter
 
Hey guys-
 
The best thing I did last year (based on your advice) was to raise my fees significantly. It automatically brought in more money with no extra effort. And guess how many patients complained? ZERO!
 
Of course it didn’t do anything for the PPO patients, but maybe it will change my profile and I’ll eventually get more. In the meantime (based on your suggestion as well) I am considering contacting Apex to have my PPO fee schedule negotiated. Can’t hurt, right?
 
Thanks for everything,

Dr. Simon Bernstein

Editor’s note: Visit www.apexreimbursement.com to learn more about negotiating your PPO fees. They are the best!
 
Coaches,
 
About ten years ago I made the mistake of sending out a letter to my patient base informing them of a fee raise. A few people called immediately to schedule treatment before the raise took effect, so I thought it was a good idea.  Then I got some angry calls, and a few patients actually left the practice. One came in to the office, letter in hand, and told my OM that I was a “greedy, rich dentist!” (Oh – if they only knew the truth!!)
 
I’m doing it again for 2018, but this time no way am I sending a letter!!
 
Dr. Don Lay
Overland Park, KS
 
Re: Quickies In The Office?
 
Madow Brothers,
 
I see that in this letter “Quickies” meant some quick tips for the office, but my first thought was a different subject. Maybe this is not a term you know, but to me the term “quickie” refers to a sexual liaison. I just would like to advise you that with everything going on in the news these days you need to be careful about the terminology you use or you risk offending someone and possibly incurring legal issues.
 
Respectfully,
 
Dr. J. Singleton
Hanover, PA
 
Re: Should we take the team to a strip show?
 
Great advice guys. We don’t do any out-of-the-office activities unless the entire team is “all in.” This also means staying away from situations where someone may feel uncomfortable but they are afraid to speak up. Inclusiveness is key. If you want a “team” and not a “staff” they need to be treated respectfully.
 
Dr. V. Estes
Denver, CO

Dear “Coaches”

This is ridiculous. Why would anyone hold an office party at a male strip show? On the other hand, if everyone wants to go, is this really a problem? So many other things to worry about….

Anita Auerhan
Mississauga, Ontario

So there you have it! We welcome YOUR questions and comments too!!

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.

That would be a very strange way to practice dentistry…

Hey guys-

I have been reading Coaches Corner since the very beginning and love every one of them. I appreciate the straightforward style. My question is – how are you different from all of the other coaches and consultants out there?

Dr. Steve Sief
Matawan, NJ

Hey Steve-

Is it just us, or are 90% of the questions we get from New Jersey? It is a great question though, because if you are sincerely looking for some practice guidance and growth, it is important that the people you work with are a good fit for you.

So since we are all dental folks here, imagine this scenario. You hire a “clinical coach” to help you with the clinical aspects of your practice. And that coach says something like: “Here is the Gold Level Clinical Program.” The first month, all of your patients get a complete exam and a full set of x-rays. In the second month, they all get crown preps on teeth #s 2, 14, 29 and 30, with long term temps. In the third month, they all get four quads of scaling and root planing. Then in month number four, which is our favorite, they get four implants, with a sinus complication on the upper right. Blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda, dot, dot, dot….”

This makes no sense at all, does it? Every patient couldn’t possibly have the exact same needs.

Well, nothing against our fine coaching colleagues (and there truly are a lot of great dental coaches out there), but most of the coaches or consultants have pre-written plans or modules. They teach them to their coaching staff (typically a burnt-out hygienist looking for greener pastures) and then it is delivered to your practice by rote. Well, that is not how it works around here!

Every practice is different, every person is different, and everyone has different goals. So how can dental coaching be done correctly with a bunch of already planned systems? It can’t!

When we work with a practice, our first step is to find out what they REALLY need. This is not just based on practice performance, but on the individual goals of the dentist. And it doesn’t just end at the dental practice; often there are lifestyle goals and issues as well. After all, you need to be happy in all aspects of your life. If your practice is cranking and you are unhealthy, miserable, and in debt, what good is it?

Then we work on a truly custom basis to deliver what you need. The crazy thing is, most of the time it is not what you even thought! Does that make sense? Our team takes a personal interest in every one of our coaching clients. That’s why you won’t find our name on the side of a huge building, or why you don’t get three boxes of generic written materials when we work together.

Okay – we could go on and on, but this answer was not intended to be an ad for our coaching! But as you can see, this kind of stuff just gets us going. And yes – we are different!

Want to find out HOW different we are, and if working with The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success would be a good fit for your practice? Just click here and we can chat! No pressure, no obligation. That’s the way we roll!!

And do you like our new picture???

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 Does “CDA” Really Stand For?

Dear Coaches,

I am at the end of my rope. My dental assistant has been with me for six years and the patients love her. She is a decent enough dental assistant – she is not always on the ball but she knows the procedures pretty well and after six years she knows my clinical routines. 

The problem is her attitude. She shows up late several days per week and cruises into the morning huddle like she didn’t do anything wrong. She refuses to do work that is “below her,” such as confirmation calls, even if she has down time.

She can also be a bit of a rabble-rouser with the other members of the team. I have noticed that everyone else has a great attitude and are real team players, but as soon as Diana enters the picture everyone starts fighting and pointing fingers. Last week she threatened not to attend the annual team Christmas dinner unless we changed the location to a fancy steak house, even though it was already on the schedule. She also bad-mouths other team members (and me!) in front of the patients. She won’t attend CE courses even though I pay her to do so. I have warned her about all of these things several times and she promises to change but never does. It actually seems like she is getting worse. I am wondering if CDA stands for Certified Dental A-hole! What should I do?

Dr. R Fader
Bayonne, NJ

 
Dr. Fader,

You sure ask a lot of questions for someone from New Jersey. So we have a few for you.

1) Who owns this practice?
2) What kind of dirt does Diana have on you?
3) Why are you so afraid of this person?
4) Are you out of your mind?

As coaches, we rarely go into a practice and recommend firing a team member. That is the reason some people are afraid of coaches, and we recognize that.

However, the situation you describe, if it is indeed accurate, is pretty horrendous. Unacceptable behavior. Multiple warnings. One person bringing down the entire practice. You know what to do. We know what to do. So stop being a wimp. It’s time Diana gets the opportunity to “contribute” somewhere else!!
 
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.