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dental practice management

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Smart Strategies for Dental Practice Leadership

by Naomi Cooper December 30, 2015

P551_DentTeamMgmt_WebReady2015 was a big year around the Minoa offices. Between traveling across the country to lecture & work with my Pride Institute dentists, speaking at the AAE conference in Seattle in May and then in November at the ADA conference in DC, being named to Dental Products Report’s annual list of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry – to say that the year flew by is an incredible understatement!

One opportunity I’m extremely grateful and humbled to have been a part of is the latest ADA publication, The ADA Practical Guide to Leading and Managing the Dental Team. As any dental practice owner already knows, dentists wear many hats within the practice, and perhaps the most significant role is that of leader and manager of the office.

I was asked to write a chapter focused on how a dentist’s leadership skills can help avoid drama in the office, and the book touches on a wide range of topics all related to the ideas of how dental practice owners need to lead, motivate and engage, including:

  • Performance & accountability standards
  • Legal issues
  • Conflict resolution
  • Team appreciation
  • Coaching & mentoring in the office

If you haven’t yet gotten your copy – available in both print and electronic versions – click here to learn more.

And to all of my dental industry colleagues, clients and friends, thank you for making this year an incredible one & I look forward to working with and learning from all of you in 2016!

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Giving Back: Top Ways for Dentists to Volunteer in Their Communities

by Naomi Cooper November 18, 2015

Top Ways for Dentists to Volunteer in Their CommunitiesAround this time of year, it’s a good idea to take a moment to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. And at the holidays especially, we’re often reminded of how important it is to volunteer or engage in local community work. However, did you know there is “a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer?”

In fact, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service “those who give support through volunteering experience greater health benefits than those who receive support through these activities.*”

So how do you engage with your community in a way that is meaningful to you, your team and the people you are serving? Doing a bit of research and asking the following important questions will help you choose opportunities that will have far reaching benefits.

  1. How do you want to benefit your local community? What would be meaningful to you?
  2. Do you want to give back in your capacity as a dental practitioner or do work that is completely unrelated to your practice? There are many good options for how to spend your volunteer time. No matter what you choose, be sure it is something you will enjoy.
  3. Do you want to volunteer at a specific event or have a more long-term volunteer experience? Assess your ability to give your time and skills in both the short and long terms.
  4. What groups in your community have a positive reputation AND are well organized?  Make sure you vet any group you consider working with to ensure that you are comfortable aligning your name with theirs.

If you choose to use your skills as a dentist to benefit others, check out the ADA’s website to learn about the volunteer opportunities they offer. Your state’s dental association website may have additional, more localized options. A Google search that includes your locale and “dental volunteer opportunities” should uncover some potential options.  And if you are looking abroad for opportunities to give back, there are a plethora of options, including:

http://www.dentalmissiontrips.org

http://internationalvolunteer.ada.org/volunteer-connection/

https://www.volunteerforever.com/article_post/dental-volunteer-abroad-medical-mission-trips-dentists-students

http://www.worlddentalrelief.com/tripopp.asp

http://globaldentalrelief.org

http://cmda.org/missions/

https://americanfriendsofdvi.org

Another idea that may require additional time is to volunteer as a Big Brother or Big Sister. As a representative of one of the most highly paid professions in the country, your service as a mentor to a “Little” could be an invaluable experience for both of you. According to the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ website “81% of former Littles surveyed agree their Big gave them hope & changed their perspective of what they thought possible.”

Finally, don’t forget to tell your clients about your good work in the community. This is not just good public relations; it may inspire them to volunteer as well.

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Dental Practice Success: Lessons to Be Learned from a Top Online Retailer

by Naomi Cooper February 25, 2015

Dental Practice Success: Lessons to Be Learned from a Top Online RetailerHave you heard of Zappos? You are likely aware of this online retail giant, even if you haven’t ordered any shoes or clothing from them yourself. The company boasts an annual revenue upwards of $1 billion dollars. Success on that level doesn’t come from doing what everyone else is doing.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is quoted as saying “Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes”, and that quote says a lot about the company culture with a committed focus on the customer experience.

Customer-friendly perks like free shipping, 24-7 customer service and a 365-day return policy have made Zappos one of the most liked and widely used retailers to date. A blog from the Productive Dentist Academy recently examined the customer-centric focus of Zappos and examined what exactly dentists could do to leverage the same type of culture in their practices.

Consider your own practice for a moment. How would you describe the office culture around your customer service? Dentists can offer the latest techniques & technology or build a shiny new office, but without top-notch customer service, patients will likely leave less than impressed. Shoes and dentistry may not have much in common at first glance, but when it comes to service delivery, there are certainly lessons we can all learn from one another!

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Is Your Dental Practice Marketing a Waste of Money?

by Naomi Cooper January 28, 2015

Is Your Dental Practice Marketing a Waste of Money?Dental marketing is not limited solely to bringing new patients into the practice. In fact, it encompasses the entire patient experience from the moment they begin their online research, to their first appointment through follow up and beyond.

Many dentists initially fail to see a positive return on their marketing investment and over time begin to wonder if their marketing is a waste of time and money. So, before spending any more cash, it is worthwhile to take the time to review the following internal processes, which can ultimately make or break a practice’s marketing efforts.

  1. Verbal Skills Training – Every staff member who interacts with patients is part of the marketing effort in that they are all contributing to the overall patient experience.
  1. Appointing New Patients – A phone ringing off the hook is a good sign that the external marketing is working well. Keep that momentum moving by prioritizing new patient phone calls. Aim to schedule new patients within 1-3 days of their initial call.
  1. New Patient Communication – New patients do not yet have loyalty to the practice. Help establish a relationship with them by tailoring communication with them. Welcome new patients to the practice with an introductory letter or new patient package, avoid using too much clinical language when speaking with them, and start a two-way conversation to build trust.
  1. Tracking Results – It’s impossible to know if a marketing tactic is effective or not if no one is measuring its ROI, or return on investment. The front desk team should always ask every new caller how he or she heard about the practice, and record that information in order to find out what marketing efforts result in both phone calls and first appointments.

External marketing is important for practice growth, but don’t forget about the internal processes that support it!

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Dental Marketing and the Law of Diminishing Returns

by Naomi Cooper November 18, 2014

Dental Marketing and the Law of Diminishing ReturnsWhen you spend money on marketing, you should expect to get a certain return on your investment (ROI).

At a certain level of spending, however, the return on investment for any particular tactic will start to level off. It’s different for every doctor and for every marketing effort, but once you’ve maxed out the frequency or reach of a campaign, spending more money on that given tactic beyond this point of diminishing return can eventually lead to a decrease in ROI. This illustrates the law of diminishing returns  and it’s at this point when you know you’ve reached the maximum expenditure on a certain marketing effort.

So how does the law of diminishing returns affect your dental practice marketing?

  • It reinforces the need for tracking the ROI on each of your marketing efforts. Measuring the ROI gives you hard data to help you make informed decisions about the course of your marketing strategy. You no longer have to cross your fingers and hope that your marketing dollars are well spent.
  • When you track your ROI, you start to notice trends. Say you double your investment in search engine advertising, but after a few months notice that it is not bringing in the same level of response you were expecting based on past expenditures. By noticing this trend, you can make adjustments as needed, saving the practice time and money, while keeping your marketing moving forward.

Consistently monitoring and reviewing the ROI of your marketing efforts is essential to build a successful long-term successful marketing strategy for your practice. Staying on top of the trends of your marketing investment will ensure steady growth fueled by smart decisions based on fact, not feelings, and will result in the best bang for your hard-earned marketing bucks.

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Dental Practice Marketing: 5 Reasons to Get Your Team Involved

by Naomi Cooper October 29, 2014

Dental Practice Marketing: 5 Reasons to Get Your Team InvolvedNothing keeps the dental practice moving forward like having staff meetings or morning huddles. Gathering the team together can open the lines of communication, and keep the staff abreast of new marketing tactics. When I’m consulting with my dentist clients, I remind them of the importance of staff meetings, especially when it comes to the marketing plan.

Here are 5 ways staff meetings can have a meaningful impact on your practice marketing:

  1. Better Return on Your Marketing Investment: Your marketing budget will be executed best when everyone is working together. For instance, the front desk needs to be aware of all current marketing campaigns since they should be asking the question “How did you hear about us?” or “Whom may we thank for referring you to the practice?” every time they speak with a new/potential patient. A staff meeting is the perfect time to keep the team informed.
  2. Increased Participation: In addition to keeping your staff informed, a staff meeting can be a great way to get them involved and invested in the marketing strategy. Show your entire staff what kind of marketing you are doing and when it will be hitting the marketplace. Tell them how much it costs and what kind of return you expect. And above all, remember to reward your team members for helping to make the campaign a success.
  3. Increased Word of Mouth: The entire team needs to be actively participating in the internal marketing process and proactively asking for patient referrals (and online reviews). This doesn’t come naturally to most people, so a staff meeting based around verbal skills training for the team is a must!
  4. Increased Input: Good marketing sometimes requires out-of-the-box thinking and a great way to generate new ideas is to solicit the input of your staff. Use your next staff meeting to host a brainstorm session to come up with ideas for a new branding strategy or to gather topics for upcoming blog posts or social media updates.
  5. Create a Sense of Ownership: As a dentist, between managing the practice and treating your patients, you already have enough on your plate — so delegation can pay off in spades. Designating a staff member to take the reigns on a specific aspect of the marketing – managing the social media calendar, writing blogs or tracking the response from a particular campaign, for instance – can help increase their engagement and give them a greater sense of personal responsibility.

As you can see, staff meetings can play an integral part of the practice marketing strategy. When the staff feels an increased sense of ownership, you’ll see that your return on your marketing investment will improve dramatically. The team will be more satisfied, the dentist will be happier and the practice will be operating more efficiently, making staff meetings a true, all-around winning solution!