Dental practices nationwide continue to recover from COVID-related closures, deal with the increased costs of doing business and insurance hassles and prepare for forecasted Q4 slowdowns in production. To address these current challenges, Kleer partnered with Kiera Dent, CEO of The Dental A Team to host the latest webinar in the Kleer Dental Care, Liberated webinar series called The COVID Comeback Challenge: 3 Ways to Immediately Ramp Up Your Practice. In the webinar, Kiera discussed a few measures practices can take now to immediately rebound. Her suggestions are backed by her years in the dental industry holding every role within a dental office, owning her own practice that she grew from $500K to $2.4M revenue in 9 months and now her work in dental office consulting with the Dental A Team.
Hire your A-Team through a catchy and unique job ad
To have the best productivity you need to hire the best people—your A-Team. Rather than putting up a typical ad, make yours catchy and unique to attract desirable candidates. Kiera calls this the bait. She suggests doing this in four key parts: 1). A sexy title 2). The jazz about your office 3). Your ideal candidate traits and 4). Three things you look for in a response.
• First, incorporate a sexy job title (think “rock star dental hygienist” or “dental hygienist who knows they are the best” instead of just “dental hygienist”), to attract more and better candidates. You can run a test by posting two ads with the same content but different titles to see which one draws in more applications.
• Next, the jazz about your office is a brief paragraph about what your practice does and why you are unique.
• This is followed by your ideal candidate traits listed in bullet point format for easy reading.
• Finally, the last paragraph includes the three things you are looking for in a response. This will help you weed out candidates that are not interested or not ideal. For example, you could say, “To apply, please send an email with your favorite ice cream flavor in the subject line, write your desired salary in the body, and attach your resume.” Consider posting and reposting your ad every few days on numerous job sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter and even Facebook and Craigslist until you find a great pool of applicants.
Create 30/60/90 day goals for new hires and your operations manual
To ensure that your A Team is on their a-game, develop a 30/60/90 day score card and a comprehensive operations manual. By developing a 30/60/90 day goals for your new hire, it will create accountability, allow you to manage expectations and ensure that you get the same results every single time. (Kiera calls this the “recipe book” effect, similar to how you follow a cooking recipe to get the same results.) The 30/60/90 scorecard should also include an onboarding checklist. Recommended metrics to track are the specific task you want your new hire to learn, the date they were coached, who coached them and the rating for that performance. Going through this checklist will provide a clear picture of what training has been retained and what still needs to be worked on.
Operations manuals can be daunting when you do not know where to start. Kiera recommends building a manual comprised of four sections: 1). Your company’s vision and mission statements 2). Job descriptions 3). Job protocol and flow and 4). How to’s.
The company vision and mission statements will set the stage for new employees to understand what your company is all about. The job description is usually one page and can be the same as the ad you placed prior to the hire. A job protocol and flow are a list of all the responsibilities of the role for multiple time increments—morning arrival, end of day, end of week, end of month, end of quarter and end of the year. Similar to the 30/60/90 day scorecard, the protocol and flow document outlines clear expectations of what your new hire is responsible for. Kiera recommends completing this for your Office Manager, Treatment Coordinator, Biller, Scheduler, Dental Assistant, Hygienist, and Associate Doctor.
The protocol and flow part of the operations manual can be used as the foundation for creating your how to’s. How to’s are just what they sound like, written or video instructions on how your practice completes standard tasks such as how your office answers the phone, how employees’ clock in and how your practice submits a claim.
Take advantage of efficiency hacks like implementing a membership plan
Efficiency hacks are ways to work smarter not harder. Kiera focuses on two main topics: membership plans and admin time. When it comes to calling insurance companies, you can be left waiting on hold for anything from questions about a claim denial, reimbursements, delays, etc. Rather than dealing with third parties, Kiera suggests implementing a dental membership plan. A dental membership plan will save your office time because there is no verification required, they allow for straightforward treatment planning, they lead to confidence in treatment planning, there is no guessing, and they do not require any follow up. Coverage is provided directly from your practice so there is no need to deal with insurance companies.
When it comes to admin time, Kiera recommends dedicating 1-2 hours per week on the projects that are important but may have been put off such as accounts receivable (AR) follow up, creating your operations manual, following up with accounts and new patient marketing.
One office Kiera worked with implemented admin time which resulted in $60K of AR within the first month. Your practice’s doctor should also focus on his own admin time as well to review overhead control and supplies, P&L, credit card charges, systems, new patient flow, and marketing and ROI. By dedicating time to these activities that may sometimes get pushed to the end of the to-do list, your practice will become more organized and productive.
COVID has caused unexpected disruptions to many dental practices. While current times may be challenging, it is important to remember that by taking the steps outlined above, you can set your practice up for success now and for the long-term beyond the pandemic. Formalizing processes and procedures will create a well-oiled machine that will benefit patients, staff and the practice as a whole. To hear more about these details, listen on-demand to The COVID Comeback Challenge: 3 Ways to Immediately Ramp Up Your Practice.