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Coaches Corner – R U their? Your needed. Too times.

Dear Friend and Subscriber,

With e-mail, texting and instant messaging being the preferred form of communication for the young generation (actually for every generation!), a new crop of abbreviations have popped up, and getting things grammatically correct seems to have taken a back seat to speed.

Unfortunately, we have seen some very sloppy office-to-patient communications, and have been victimized by them ourselves. 

That doesn’t mean you should spell-check your dental assistant when she is texting her boyfriend in the middle of a crown prep (gloves off please) – but it does mean that the new lack-of-rules does not apply to patient communication.
 
Anything sent to a patient, whether written, e-mail, text, or scribbled on a paper airplane, should contain proper spelling, grammar and structure.
 
If the writer doesn’t know the difference between “there,” “their” and “they’re,” they probably should not be providing written communication to patients. It just looks unprofessional. (Too-two-to, and you’re-your seem to be common offenders as well.) Please make sure that anyone in the office who provides written communications to patients (and that includes texting) can write on an acceptable level. 

They’re is a good lesson or too in this addition of Coaches Corner, and their are many others to; all two be found online. U should check out a few article’s.

And if you think that last paragraph was fine, you are hereby banned from writing in any form.

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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Coaches Corner – Tips For A Great May!

Hello Friends,

With a little planning and a lot of enthusiasm it is very possible for you to have the best May ever in your practice.  Here are a few ideas to get you started…

Dental Tips and Ideas for May 

Theme: Family Fun

May is Family Wellness Month & National Family Month.

Goal: Bring in new patients, increase production & exceed patient’s expectations.

Focus: Hygiene Preventive Services & Mouthguards (Consider special pricing on mouthguards).

Contest/Raffle – Family Fun & Wellness Gift Basket (Tote/Cooler) – Fill with lawn games, BBQ supplies, sunscreen, citronella candles, toothbrushes, paper products, chalk, etc.

Patients earn entries with Facebook likes, check-ins, reviews, Google reviews and for referring new patients.

Educational Opportunity:

Root Canal Awareness Week: 6-12 / Root Canal Appreciation Day: 11th

Can you believe there is actually a day and a week dedicated to root canal awareness? Strange as it is, let’s use it as an opportunity for patient education. We can teach how to prevent needing a root canal, what happens during root canal treatment, and why. Emphasize that root canals can be very comfortable procedures!

Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement: 

Receptionists Day: 9th

Root Canal Awareness Day: 11th

National Piercing Day: 16th

Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day: 24th

World No-Tobacco Day: 31st

Practice Management Reminders:

Insurance Renewal – Many insurance companies renew their maximum on June 1st. Pull a report of any patients due in hygiene or with incomplete treatment that have benefits remaining and renew in June.  Starting now, make “Use it or Lose It” calls, mail reminders and share on social media.

Continuing Care Reminders – Summertime is a great time of year and it can also be a busy time of year. We encourage you to remember to take the time to squeeze in your regular dental visit before the summer months fly by. Regular dental visits are so important to your overall health.

Gift Certificates – Gift certificates for teeth whitening make great gifts!

Have a great May!

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. 

To sign up for our mailing list CLICK HERE

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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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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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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.

Quickies In The Office?

Welcome back to Coaches Corner! We are happy to share our years of experience working with dental offices all across North America.

Today we will be sharing some “quickies” from our Coaches Corner mailbox.

Q: How do you get Google to remove fake reviews?  I have tried contacting them but have gotten nowhere whatsoever. There are three fake reviews on my google review page, two stating I am young and inexperienced. I am 62 and have been practicing dentistry since 1979!

None of them are my patients. The thing I did do is to respond to the reviews, stating they are false and that they are not patients of mine, but it would be good if Google can remove them to keep my 5 star rating intact.

Thanks,
Ira Biderman DDS
Howard Beach, NY

A: Ira,

We just checked your reviews. You handled the responses to the poor ones very well, and your many five-star reviews speak for themselves. The thing you don’t want to do (and what you have avoided) is to get into a “pissing contest” with an unhappy or fake patient.

Our advice – getting Google to drop the fake or poor reviews is nearly impossible (the old freedom of the press thing!!), so stop driving yourself nuts. Your reviews are fantastic – just keep getting more good ones. If we were looking for a dentist and saw those reviews we would go to you in a second!! Remember, the more positive reviews you get, the more buried the fake ones are.

Q: Hi guys, my name is Fredric Siegel, a Promail user for 20+ years.  When a patient does not have the funds and doesn’t qualify for Care Credit, I would offer a ” lay-away” type arrangement.  Patients make payments till almost paid, then do the treatment.  This way it’s done and paid, a win win situation.

Best wishes,
Dr. Fred Siegel
New Rochelle, NY

A: Thanks for a great tip Fred. And we are pleased as punch that Promail is helping you get new patients! Check out our New Patient Postcards as well. And please give our regards to Rob and Laura!!

Q: Great rebranding of “The Madow Brothers” to “The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success.” What made you want to make that change?

Michelle Lynn,
Boca Raton, FL

A: Hello Michelle – and thanks for noticing.

Maybe it came from our reluctance to “toot our own horns…” but we realized that of all the people we have the honor of reaching through our e-letters, live seminars, articles, blogs, etc. – many do not really know what we do!! So it just made sense to utilize a name that says it all, and we feel The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success does just that.

After all, we LOVE coaching individual dental practices – but many folks didn’t even know we do that!! We produce in-office training programs, have new patient marketing programs, and more – and they are all designed with one thing in mind – the success of YOUR dental practice!

So it’s not just a name – we are proud to be “The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success!”

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.

A Question From A Down Under Dentist

Welcome back to Coaches Corner! We are happy to share our years of experience working with dental offices all across North America. Here is today’s question:

Q: What are the three most common things that once implemented have the greatest effect on the bottom line? What is the one simple thing you see missing most often that would make the greatest impact for a practice?

Dr. David O’Malley
Bendigo, Australia

A: Great question Dr. O’Malley, and so nice to hear from one of our Australian followers. Of course we did a little research and learned that Bendigo is in Victoria, Australia, not all that far from Melbourne. It was once a gold rush town and is now a bit of a financial centre. Sounds like a great place to live! It’s also home to Frank McEncroe, inventor of the Chiko Roll, whatever the heck that is.

Okay – on to your question. It’s a tough one because there are so many things that impact the bottom line, and of course, every practice is different. However, these are three things that we see in just about every practice we visit. Of course, they are simple, obvious, and rarely mastered.

1) Answering the phone every single time it rings (dental practice phones go unanswered over 40% of the time during normal business hours!) with a well-trained front desk team that knows how to get the patient off the phone and into the appointment book.

2) Analyzing and understanding dental practice overhead and taking the proper steps to reduce it.

3) Effectively mining the “Million Dollar File Cabinet” and getting those patients signed up for treatment. (The “Million Dollar File Cabinet” is our term for patients with recommended treatment that has not been appointed.)

Of course this is just the start – there are so many more things that can be improved in just about every practice!

Part two of your question is: What is the one simple thing you see missing most often that would make the greatest impact for a practice?

This may sound self-serving, but it is honest. The one simple missing thing that would have the greatest impact on dental practices is professional and effective coaching. Most dental practices are too busy cranking out dentistry and putting out fires (especially putting out fires, sometimes with gasoline!) to really see what is going on inside their own walls.

Coaching is an investment in the practice that pays off big time, but too many people are afraid to make that investment. Or, they are afraid of having an outsider come in to “shake things up.” But remember the old adage…

If you keep doing what you’ve always been doing,
you’ll keep getting what you’ve already got!! 

Thanks for writing in. We hope to meet you one day!
 
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. 

Coffee

Okay – time for another restaurant story. It’s a quick one that can have some serious implications for your practice!

At checkout in a local Baltimore lunch spot:

“Would you like anything to drink?”

“Yes – coffee please.”

“We don’t serve coffee here – but a lot of people ask for that.”

Okay – just for effect let’s repeat that line again.

“We don’t serve coffee here – but a lot of people ask for that.”

If there ever was a “duh” moment – this is it! Buy a commercial coffee maker for a few hundred bucks, or even easier, call a coffee service and tell them to set it up today!!

When our practices were young we both had a “policy” – no cleanings on the first visit. Yes – we knew that clinically that was the best decision. After all, how can you properly appoint a patient with the hygienist without an examination?

But after losing hundreds of new patients due to this policy, we both loosened up a bit and realized the number one customer service lesson in history –

Give the people what they want!

What do you hear yourself saying on a regular basis?

We don’t have Saturday hours.
We don’t take that insurance.
We don’t do cleanings on the first visit.
We don’t have a financial solution for you (so you can’t afford treatment).
We can’t get you in today or tomorrow.
We don’t do even simple orthodontics here.
We don’t do cleanings on the first visit.
We don’t.
We can’t.
We won’t.

Want your practice to grow?

Do. Can. Will.

A simple lesson. Yes.

The answer is “NO!” Now what is the question?

A short time ago we were at lunch with a coaching client at a Chinese restaurant near their office. (Some of the best ideas are generated during lunch meetings!) They were excited to take us there because they were a “regular” and knew we would get great treatment.

“The lunch special comes with an egg roll. Is it possible to get a spring roll instead?”

“NO!”

“Can the Szechuan green beans be made with no sauce?”

“NO!”

“Can brown rice be substituted for white rice?”

(Care to guess the answer?)

“NO!” (At least they could have said the classic “One dollar extra!!”)

No exaggeration here – this really did take place. And then it got worse.

Someone came in and asked, “Do you sell gift cards here?”

“NO!!”

What if that customer bought five $50 gift cards for his co-workers? That would have meant a $250 sale. Then what if one of the recipients had never been there before, and loved it so much they became a regular customer, bringing in their family ten times a year for an $80 dinner? And then what if….you get the picture!

So, every time someone in your practice says “no” – you could be missing a similar opportunity.

Even if the answer is technically no, at least try to turn it into an opportunity. Here’s an example:

“Does Dr. Garvey have appointments on Wednesday evening?”

And he doesn’t. But instead of saying “NO!” – how about something like this.

“Oh – sounds like daytime appointments are tough for you, is that right? Well we start at 7:00 AM on Mondays and Thursdays, and our new doctor, Dr. Grant, sees patients on Saturdays. Which works best for you?”

A little creativity and positivity go a long way!!

One of the most typical examples is “Do you take my insurance?  It’s a PPO and I don’t see you on the list.” The typical response to this is “NO.” Then the conversation ends.

How about trying this instead?

“While we are not a member of that plan, we are an unrestricted provider with all insurance plans. That means you can still come see us, and we will give you the best dental care possible. You can pay us directly and we will help you maximize your insurance benefits with that company.

Would you like to come in for a no-charge consultation? That way you can meet the doctor, she can answer any questions you have, and we can explain exactly how we can make financial arrangements comfortable for you! Is tomorrow at 11:30 AM convenient?”

Granted – most people on a ‘list’ will say no to this, but nothing is lost. And sometimes someone will say yes, become a great patient, refer lots of others, and well – you can figure out the rest!

Sometimes it’s the simple, easy things that can help your practice grow. And to that we say “YES!!!”