A book can be written on why the back hates the front. This situation is largely because there are clear delineation of responsibilities and tangible results coming from the back. In the front there are people starring at computer screens and constantly putting out fires and dealing with problems with the schedule and challenges with finances.
Consider that maybe these hard working and dedicated (mostly) front office team members are conspiring in the clinical team’s favor and not Instant Messaging their BFFs. Additionally that the possible reason cases aren’t closing and people are not showing up symptomatically shows up in the front office. Consider that the source may actually be the entire team’s responsibility.
Now we are not talking about unwilling, resistant team members who want to sabotage your success. Consider that 99% of team members are not the enemy and are dedicated to the same thing you are but they are not set up to win at the front office.
Here is a five step Front Office Team Turbo Charge System:
- Have an Appointment Coordinator and a Treatment Coordinator – You need at least one dedicated person accountable for the schedule. Most practitioners think they will hire a second person when they get busier. You must build it and then you will go beyond busy and be highly profitable and productive. Consider the average annual value of an adult patient is $1500 per year, this means that for every hour that goes unused in your hygiene schedule is valued at $750….the breakeven point for adding this team member is one patient!
- Shift focus from being busy and filling white space to being focused on daily DPO – DPO stands for daily primary outcome by position….your appointment coordinator has a daily target for hygiene and the doctor which insures daily production which more than fulfills on the collection needs tied to more than covering debt, overhead, bonus and retirement.
- Shift from presenting treatment as a total cost to a monthly investment. No one has a budget for dentistry in bad or good economies. Just as they do in the automotive industry fit the treatment into the patients monthly lifestyle.
- Patient Surveys – Set up an electronic customer service system and monitor it weekly. Programs like DemandForce are a low cost method to know how your customer service is while you are chair side. It is an ongoing leverage system when your team knows they are being monitored. Go one step further and let them know you will be doing quality periodic IA (Integrity Assurance) calls.
Make it clear to them that you trust them and that it is a way to insure that this is a way to get honest feedback from the experience patients are getting.
- Bonus on performance – If you were getting paid a static amount of money for the time you invest, would you do the most confronting things that make the most difference for the owner of the business? Then why do you expect your team to immediately default to confronting patients who do not immediately default to willingly wanting to pay and show up? Consider that you would probably keep yourself busy and not put yourself in the line of fire to be responsible and fear failure. Shift your biggest liability – your team salary to an asset with huge return on investment by rewarding them on their individual performance.
Next Tip and Trick….How to attract, hire and integrate world class team members.