When we think about excellent employees, most of us focus on skills, experience, and abilities. All of these are, of course, important. But the real game changer in terms of employee performance is their mindset (i.e., outlook and attitude).
A well-known Stanford psychologist, Dr. Carol Dweck, studied student achievement for a couple of decades. She discovered that students fell into two groups. In the first group were those with what she called a fixed mindset. That is, they viewed intelligence and other abilities as something they’re born with and can’t change. The other group had what she referred to as a growth mindset. Those individuals saw abilities as something they could develop through effort and persistence. She also found that students with a growth mindset tended to outperform those with a fixed mindset.
These ideas translate well into the workplace. Employees with a growth mindset are typically more willing to take on new challenges and are more open to learning from constructive criticism. They’re also more likely to persist with tasks in spite of setbacks and are, ultimately, usually more productive than those with a fixed mindset. So, how do you bridge this gap with your employees?
Fortunately, you have several options. You can try to hire employees with a growth mindset. To do this, you can integrate questions into your hiring process that help you screen for a growth mindset. Dr. Dweck suggests asking questions such as, “Can you tell me about one of your greatest failures?” or “What changes do you think you’ll need to make if you’re hired for this position?” Do candidates take responsibility for their failure and talk about what they learned? Or do they just say something like, “I set the bar too high and worked myself to the point of exhaustion”? Regarding needed changes, do they talk about the ways they think they’ll need to grow and learn in their new role? You can read more here about Dweck’s philosophy
Another option is to train existing employees. Human brains are wonderfully plastic, and highly capable of change and growth. Providing training that raises awareness about mindset and offers tips for cultivating a growth mindset can be very powerful. If you’re interested in employee training in this area, visit x.
You should also ask yourself if you’ve created an organizational culture that fosters a growth mindset. Do you respond to employee mistakes with anger or do you frame them as a learning opportunity? Are you flexible and willing to entertain new ideas and change course when needed or are you rigid? Read more here about the mindset concept
An extension of growth mindset is helping individuals develop habits that promote high performance in the dental office and in their lives in general. Many individuals who have received training in this area have found it to be life-changing.
If you’re interested in exploring this type of training for yourself and/or your staff, visit our course page about cultivating a winning mindset .Read More
Weave a commitment to customer service into the fabric of your organizational culture
I recently read an article in Forbes magazine on customer service. The article notes that “Customer service is not a department. It is a philosophy to be embraced by every employee – from the CEO to the most recently hired.” We couldn’t agree more. All employees in your dental clinic should understand the importance of customer service and patient experience to the success of the clinic—and ultimately their job security.
You can increase your chances of customer service success by hiring people with the right attitude.
Why almost half of new hires don’t work out
Leadership IQ conducted a study on new hires across different companies and identified the areas in which new employees fell short. They found that 89% of the areas in which the new employees were deficient were related soft skills—coach-ability, emotional intelligence, motivation, and temperament. So, screening for those skills is critical, particularly in a small organization.
Screening for customer service skills
You may think that if a job candidate is enthusiastic, warm, and friendly that they will necessarily be great with customer service. This is not necessarily the case. Though all of those qualities are good to have, the individual also needs to able to listen to and tune in to each customer to get a sense of what approach will work best for that person. To get a sense of that, you may want to ask questions such as the following:
- Tell me about a time you had to deal with an unhappy customer (or patient).
An article by indeed.com suggests that you also ask questions such as:
- Tell me what customer service means to you.
- Tell me about a time you were able to turn a dissatisfied customer into a happy one.
Look for responses that show that the candidate understands the importance of customer service and that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t the best way to satisfy patients. Also see if they mention being able to keep calm and not take dissatisfaction personally.
Integrate a focus on customer service into your on-boarding process
When we on-board new employees*, most of us tend to focus exclusively on getting the new team member up to speed on routine day-to-day tasks and learning new software. We should also be communicating a significant emphasis on customer service. Provide your new dental staff member with a written description of your mission, values, and standards for customer service. Let staff know that patient satisfaction ratings are reviewed as part of the employee evaluation process.
Train your dental clinic staff in customer service
Training can play a key role in equipping your staff to exceptional customer service.
Equip staff with scripts that they should tweak to make them their own. Scripts for common dental office reception interactions can help ensure consistent high-quality customer service. But staff shouldn’t just read the scripts. They need to make the scripts their own and deliver the messages sounding natural and sincere.
Provide checklist for steps to take to ensure a stellar new patient experience. New patients are like gold. You want everyone on your dental office team to be at the top of their game during those initial patient visits.
Enroll all dental clinic staff in online courses. Customer services courses that review key principles, recommended language, and how to handle common dental office reception situations can be highly effective. Providing access to courses that help them understand different communication styles can also be transformative in improving their rapport with different types of patients.
Are you interested in short, practical, interactive online courses for your dental clinic team? We invite you to explore the following courses below that are designed specifically for dental office staff.
- Conveying a Welcoming, Professional Image
- Providing Exceptional Customer Service
- Ensuring an Excellent New Patient Experience
- Handling Common Patient Interactions Optimally
- Introduction to Leveraging Communication Styles
- HR Skills for Practice Managers: People–Recruitment & On-boarding*
It’s no surprise that dental office management appeals to many dental professionals. Dental office managers are often viewed as one of the leaders in the practice. They oversee the day-to-day operations of the dental office so that dentists can concentrate on patient care. Managers’ wide-ranging duties may include supervising staff, maintaining appointment schedules, coordinating patient treatment and managing finances.
As such, dental office management job titles vary. For example, managers’ titles may include office manager, patient coordinator, business manager, practice administrator, or insurance and finance coordinator. As you can see, for dental office managers, the possibilities are endless!
Salary is always a hot topic, and many prospective dental office managers are interested to know about the typical wages for this role.
According to PayScale, as of March 2018, dental office managers in the United States typically earn between $34,253 and $63,398. Similarly, in 2018, DentalPost reported that the average salary for office managers was nearly $50,000 per year.
Of course, different surveys report different salaries. Like dental assistant salaries, for dental office managers, practice type, size and location and years of experience as a dental office manager will also impact salary levels. Therefore, you may want to consult a variety of sources to get the most accurate picture of what to expect.
How can you become a dental office manager? Read on to learn more!
Learn on the Job
Ask dental office managers about their career paths, and you’ll likely hear a variety of responses. Some dental office managers began their careers working as a chairside dental assistant; others started working at the dental office front desk.
Some dental office managers may have a degree in business or administration, but many are trained on the job. If you would like to test out whether dental office management is right for you, consider asking your current employer if you can become cross-trained.
This approach will not only help you learn about dental office management, but it also will help you be able to contribute more to the dental office by stepping in wherever you are needed most.
Enroll in eLearning Courses for Dental Office Management
Typically, dental office managers have a variety of educational backgrounds. Some dental office managers have bachelor’s or associate degrees or some other type of formal education. But there are a variety of other educational opportunities available outside of a college or university setting.
For example, we here at Next Good Thing Academy, offer online courses in a variety of office management-related topics. You can take these courses online at your convenience, on any device. What’s more? Our lessons are created by professionals with over 10 years of experience in consulting for practices of all sizes. This means you’ll be learning the proper skills and put in realistic scenarios to give you a leg up when it comes to finding a role in dental office management.Read More
Feeling the pinch of competition? Looking for ways to increase revenue for your dental clinic? You might think that recruiting new patients is the best possible way to boost production. Think again. Your current patient base is actually a treasure trove of potential income—if you can increase your rate of dental treatment acceptance. If you’re like most dental clinics, your current conversion rate is low.
Oral health providers often feel frustrated and a bit perplexed by patient failure to accept treatment. It seems so illogical that patients would choose not to have cavities filled or opt for bridges when they could have implants.
Examine the implicit messages you’re conveying to patients. Part of the problem may stem from the messages you convey to patients. For example, “it’s just a small cavity; we can keep an eye on it.” Patients translate that as, “oh, treatment is optional.”
Accept that your patients are customers. Though, as a dental professional, you may find the characterization of your patients as “customers” a tad distasteful, that is, in fact, what they are. The reality is that dental services are competing for consumer dollars with other possible purchases like flat screen T.V.s, family vacations, and new furniture.
So, what are some additional strategies for getting your dental patients to say “yes”?
Shift dental team attitudes and behaviors. First take a look at the current attitudes and behaviors in your clinic. When patients are reluctant to commit to treatment, do you and other dental clinic colleagues just think, “Well, that’s the end of that!”? If so, you’re passing up a rich vein to mine and leaving a sizable amount of potential income on the table. In many cases, you’re also doing a big disservice to your patients, who aren’t getting the treatment they need to maintain optimal oral health.
Re-frame patient resistance as opportunity vs. conflict. Let’s look at what else is preventing dental offices from leveraging this valuable opportunity. One obstacle is that dental office staff, including treatment coordinators, often feel uncomfortable pushing back against patient reluctance to move forward with treatment. They see it as conflict, which, like most people, they want to avoid. That perspective needs to be re-framed as an opening to help patients get what they want and need. Staff can employ targeted strategies to overcome patient objections and propel them toward dental treatment acceptance in supportive, non-confrontational ways.
Solidify rapport with patients. Another challenge is that fostering acceptance is part of a multi-faceted, multi-pronged process, rather than one quick solution. For example, dental clinic staff need to first lay a foundation by applying specific techniques to establish solid rapport with patients.
Train your dental staff. The biggest hurdle, though, is lack of training in the approaches that result in patient commitment to treatment. There are tried-and-true techniques that have been used by sales professionals for decades—to great effect. These can also bring about dramatic results in your treatment conversion rates.
“It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going.”
Our clients have been surprised by the remarkable results from dental team training in these proven strategies. They report increases in post-training treatment acceptance rates ranging from 30 to 60%. We recommend that you start collecting data on your current treatment acceptance now, so that you have an idea of your baseline. The next logical step is to provide staff training. Treatment coordinators are an obvious choice for participation. But, with the right training, dental hygienists, who typically spend more time with patients than anyone else, can also be instrumental in supporting treatment acceptance. Explore our practical, results-oriented multi-course series on promoting treatment acceptance by clicking here.
If you’re a business owner and you’d like to explore affordable training options for your entire team, visit our business solutions page by clicking here.Read More