Wow Your Patients with Great Office Staff 

We chat about:

How to hire people who are a good fit

The secrets to great communication with your staff

Why the phone is the most important tool in your office

How to handle cancellations elegantly

The special role of the front of house plays in case acceptance

And much more.

How Much Will My Insurance Cover?

This is the question we hear most frequently from patients and now you can face it head on and give them answers.

The Essentials of Hiring

How do you find and retain the best of the best for your dental practice? Find out here.

Episode 32: The Front Office May be Your First Line of Defense

Having built a PPO practice in her husband between 2002 and 2005 in Baltimore; then starting from scratch in San Diego with a Fee For Service practice, Laura knows a thing or two about how to handle the insurance driven mentality that is so pervasive in the dental community. Laura brings real life experience on items such as membership programs, front office training, PPO mentality, dropping PPO’s, and much more office management items drawn from her own personal experience.

Do You Turn Your Back on These Front Office Mistakes?

Do you know what’s happening in your front office? Has your staff been properly trained to offer appointments, ask for payments, and deal with cancellations? In this Dentist Money™ episode, Reese welcomes Laura Hatch, founder of Front Office Rocks, an online resource for dentists who need specialized training for their team on all aspects of the front desk. Laura discusses the four most common challenges in the front office and their financial impact on a practice. She also offers solutions to improve communication within the office, strengthen your value proposition against the competition, and increase case acceptance.

Episode 15: Putting the Patient Before Insurance

Key Points at a Glance

  • Ms. Laura Hatch, Founder of Front Office Rocks, in conversation with Naren Arulrajah
  • Bad phone calls
  • Don’t be insurance driven, put the patient first
  • Converting an insurance question into an appointment
  • Continual reinforcement and training for the front office
  • A great call
  • What’s behind the ‘why’ of what you’re doing
  • The purpose of your team members
  • Hiring the right team members
  • Challenges within the office

Episode 49: Training Your Front Office Staff With Laura Hatch

The one thing that separates the just OK dental practice from the top performing dental practice — is a great front desk.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get this right. New employees come and go. Front desk training is often neglected. There are a million of other things needing your immediate attention.

Yet the reality is, your front desk is often the life of your dental practice. It’s the first touch point for new and old clients alike.

Today’s guest has mastered the art of front desk training and has helped hundreds of practices improve their bottom line through intensive online front desk training.

Click here to listen on iTunes

Discover the Office Manager Role with Laura Hatch, The Relentless Dentist, August 6, 2016

When things aren’t happening because someone’s not holding the team accountable, that’s when you need to make sure that (you have an office manager).

  • There’s a value to experience, but an attitude is a far higher level for me.
  • The doctor should be delegating to the office manager as much as possible.
  • When an issue comes up there needs to be a system.  The more that the front of the office and the office manager can get that system documented and get it trained to their staff, the more the patients are going to have a sense of trust and be ok with what your policies are.

Click here to listen on iTunes

Click here for the Stitcher Radio Link

Laura Hatch: Front Office Rocks, The Relentless Dentist Podcast

I’m an office manager at heart, and I wanted to build something that I could help other offices and their team. I wanted to develop a program that was consistent for new employees. If the patients aren’t happy, and we’re not answering the phones well, and we’re not reappointing the patients, the practice isn’t going to grow.

Laura Hatch Founder Front Office Rocks Interview | Dental Marketing Guy Show

Laura trades Q&A on the Dental Marketing Guy Show. She explains thoroughly her process on good marketing and training employees to handle themselves in the marketing world. Her main goal, she continues, is to help the dentist and dental team acquire the how to, in the office world. Laura outlines many tricks and tips for dental employees; a consensus running beneath each that POSITIVITY is the key. Answering negatively to dental patients over the phone will deter that patient from further affiliation with the dental office. Taking control of the call is important, doing so with a positive attitude is paramount to the continued relationship with dental office and the patient.

235 How To Make Your Front Office Rock with Laura Hatch: Dentistry Uncensored with Howard Farran

You only get one chance to make a first impression with a potential new patient. Front Office Rocks understands the importance of front office training in your dental office and  making sure your office is focused on taking care of the patients ,and having great customer service. In this Howard Faran Podcast, Laura covers how the morning huddle impacts your dental team, improves dental staff communication, and how to perfect the dental patient hand-off to increase your customer satisfaction which can lead to higher reviews and referrals.

Hiring a new employee for your dental team? It is also a good idea to gauge your current staff’s opinion on the potential employee before even starting the interview. Hiring new staff should be a joint effort, especially since dental teams work so closely together. How did the candidate interact with your current team?  Don’t discount the power of your current staff to size up potential teammates. If you trust your dental staff—and I hope you do—then you should give their opinion equal weight with yours. Remember, the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior.

Creating Front Office Rock Stars with Laura Hatch 

Released: Feb 3, 2015


So how do you train your front desk staff? It’s not like you know how to do all that stuff. Nor do you have time to learn it. That’s where Laura Hatch comes in. Laura is the founder of Front Office Rocks, an online dental office training service that your whole team can use.  In episode 34, The Dental-Hacks  talk to Laura about how she became a front office rock star (FORS) and how she wants to help dentists create practices with office systems that run like a well-oiled machine!

Doctors may not understand how busy it gets at the front desk. You never know who is going to be on the phone when it rings so we train the dental front office to stop, take a deep breath, and smile before answering the phone. How you answer the phone is the first impression of your dental office. This podcast covers the importance of great customer service at the dental front office.

Get Patients to appoint and get your dental  patients to show up by defining  your purpose and goal in scheduling patients? You need to have a goal in mind and  go beyond the steps to make it happen. Train your front desk on the “why” behind their actions, why do we want patients to schedule, why do we want to schedule recare before they leave the office? These questions will help your employees understand the importance of front desk training and the impact every role in your office plays on the overall dental practice as a business. Your front office team is the first step to having a practice that runs like a well-oiled machine.

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Does Your Dental Office Manager Job Feel More Like a Bad Marriage? 

Being a dental office manager can be extremely rewarding. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t see so many people in the position for so long. Not only do office managers get to help dental practice owners grow their businesses, they also get to mentor other dental professionals and future office managers. Most importantly, they help patients with their dental health.

5 Ways to Make Hiring (Almost) Painless

Firing and hiring is probably the least favorite part of the job for most dentists and office managers.  In fact, some dentists dread this process so much they hold onto employees too long to avoid firing someone.  Not only is it unpleasant to have to fire an employee, it also triggers the dreaded hiring process. As difficult and daunting as hiring may seem, it is better to replace an employee who is not working out with a new (and hopefully better) employee than to continue struggling with an employee who is holding back your office and the team’s potential.

What Do You Need to Know About Ordering Dental Supplies? 

Given that I’ve been an office manager for over 10 years, you would think I would have everything in my dental office running perfectly or at the very least know everything that is going on in every department. However, as an office manager, I am more of a “jack of all trades, master of none,” which in my opinion is what makes a good office manager.  You have to know a little bit about everything but not get too deep into one task or area.

How to Fix Your Scheduling Problems in One Day

It’s the one thing we can all agree on: when we walk into the office in the morning and look at the schedule, there is zero possibility the day will run as planned. How often does the schedule ever run the way it looked in the morning?

When Do You Talk to Patients About Outstanding Balances?

If you read patient complaints on the internet about dental offices, the thing they are most upset about typically has something to do with money, insurance, or financial situations.  The way this process works is we estimate what the insurance will pay for a procedure, the patient pays their portion, and then the insurance comes back paying less than expected.  Regardless of how much your office does on the front end to try to avoid this situation, it cannot be fully avoided and happens regularly.

It’s time to clean the old accounts in your dental practice

What are your dental practice’s guidelines for accounts receivables (AR)? Do those guidelines make sure your practice collects what you’re owed? This front office manager shares her expertise for getting AR up to speed.

How Long Should You Keep Trying to Reactivate Patients?

I’m asked this question a lot by the dental office managers and owners that I meet and my answer may surprise you.

First, let me emphasize how important it is to make sure that all your patients leave your office with their next appointment scheduled. This is more than a preference—it should be your office policy. It doesn’t matter whether it’s their next restorative appointment in two weeks or their next preventative appointment in six months; it needs to be in the system before the patient walks out the door.

Teaching Dental Office Staff How to Prioritize

An employee new to the world of dentistry asked, “How do you know what to do, and in what order? How do you know what to prioritize?”

The Myth of “My Patients Have No Money”

Most of your patients really do have enough money to cover their dental health needs. They just choose to spend it on other things.

When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Dental Office Manager

I am a dental office manager today, and not once while growing up did I aspire to be one. My dream was to travel the world or run a Fortune 500 company or have a cute, little family.

Can You Move a Patient’s Appointment?

Yes! With the right training, communication, and follow-through, there is absolutely no reason that patients cannot be moved to help make the schedule the best it can be. In fact, when done correctly, I actually encourage it. Before you start moving patients to maximize your schedule, there are a few things that you need to have in place. Make sure your team is well trained on these.

Pearls for Your Practice

My fiancée, Andrea, works with Pacific Dental Services (PDS) as an owner. Several months ago, she hired a new office manager and sent her to a week-long training course at PDS’s headquarters in Irvine, California. That must be nice, huh? As a solo practitioner, I don’t have the luxury of being able to punt a new employee to a professional training program to be brought up to speed.

When your front office suffers, your whole office suffers. Find out what you need to keep your practice healthy.

Recently, we had an upset in our practice, and I thought sharing our experience might help others. I have been the office manager of my husband’s practice since 2002, but about two years ago I took a step back from running the office from day-to-day so I could focus on growing my own business, Front Office Rocks. I was still available to them on a high level and as needed, but I no longer managed the team, schedule or systems on a daily basis.

6 Tips for Increasing Staff Performance

How to make sure your team is doing their very best.

Improving employee performance is an ongoing process. In a previous article, we talked about the reasons why continual training is essential—Staff Efficiency and Productivity, Staff Motivation and Ownership, and Staff Loyalty and Retention. But exactly how can your office achieve these goals with continual training?

Importance of Next Appointment Notes

Every patient should be leaving the office with their next appointment scheduled. However, there is one more important step that should happen besides booking the appointment, and that is putting in good appointment notes.

3 Reasons Why Continual Training Is Essential

Dental managers and owners invest a great deal of time and money in making sure that their office equipment is well-maintained and up to current standards. But many practices overlook the importance of maintaining an even more important resource: their staff.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that everyone on your team knows how to do their job, so no additional training is needed. If the only training your team has received was their introductory training when first hired, then your practice is falling behind.

How Important is the First Day for Your New Dental Employee?

For many offices, finding and hiring good team members is a difficult process. It can really take a long time to find the right fit. Once the potential great new employee is hired, office managers and doctors think that the hiring process is over, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not.

The first day, the first week, and even the first few months are so vital to the success of new employees—not just their personal success on the job, but success in making the new person a great fit for your office.

One Single Issue Divides the Front and Back Dental Office Teams

In a recent conversation with several front office team members, what I heard over and over is that there is a “great divide” between the front office team and the clinical team in the back. What’s usually the cause of this divide?

It comes down to one single word—scheduling.

3 Ways to Handle an Unmotivated Employee

Unmotivated employees can bring down a whole team, so addressing the problem quickly is important.

Motivated employees are ones who love taking on a new idea and running with it. They are ones who are always looking for ways that they can contribute and help the office grow. If our entire teams could be made up of employees like this, every dentist and office manager would be happy to go to work each day.

Handling Dental Staff Issues Before They Get Out of Hand

Not all dental team members are always going to get along or see eye-to-eye. But the important thing is to keep the peace on the team and to nip team members’ disagreements in the bud before they get out of hand. Nothing should stand in the way of excellent dental patient care.

As an owner or office manager, your biggest responsibility aside from patient care is to manage and motivate the team. Your employees are the ones that will go the extra mile for your patients or not, and whether they do or not is often based on how they feel about their position and work environment.

Is Your Answering Machine Message Keeping New Dental Patients Away?

Like most dentists and dental teams, you understand the importance of bringing in new patients, and you know why the phones are the most vital connection to acquiring those new patients. That’s why my Front Office Rocks training offers so much concrete information on how to answer the phones appropriately to help increase your number of new patients. I believe that dental office phones should be answered by a person between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday. To learn more about why (and get details on the training), visit

However, what I want to address here is the number of new patients you might be turning away each and every day because of flaws in your voice mail message. I’m not an advocate at all of letting your office calls go to an answering machine instead of to a human.

Put Yourself in Their (Your Dental Patients’) Shoes

Okay, humor me for just a moment. Right now, let’s forget about running a dental office. Instead, imagine yourself in any of the scenarios described here.

Scenario 1
You walk into a medical office. As you’re standing at the front desk, you can clearly see two employees in the back talking, and one looks up at you. You smile at her and she smiles back, but then she continues her private conversation. You look around, hoping maybe someone else can check you in. You don’t see anyone else. Now you have to decide—do you wave the first employee over to help you, do you look for a place to sign in and hope you get it right or do you sit and wait for someone to help you? Hmmmm. How do you feel at that moment? A bit uneasy inside? Annoyed? Ready to walk out but know you shouldn’t? Not a great feeling, is it?

Speed vs. Quality: 3 Reasons Why Being Productive is Not Your Only Concern

Dentists focus a lot on production. I hear these questions all the time: “How can I produce more in a certain period of time? How can I make my hygienists more productive?” Dentists are constantly asking, “What was our production today versus the goal?” As owners or managers of a dental office, we are always looking for ways to become more efficient with the schedule, simply because more production typically equates to more collections.

It’s true that production (along with collections and new patients) needs to be monitored and achieved on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. It’s important to keep those numbers up. But I do think that sometimes there is a significant downside to focusing too much on increasing production.

What’s the most important piece of technology in your dental office? It’s probably not what you think

If I were to ask 100 dentists, “What is the most important piece of technology in your dental office?” I can imagine what the responses would be—CEREC, digital x-rays, Invisalign, 3-D CT, and many, many more. However, the most important piece of equipment is not what you think.

Of course those are all amazing technologies that have advanced how we practice dentistry. But none of them are the most important. To me, there’s one technological device that can make or break a dental office, and it’s not anything that was recently invented. In fact, it made its first appearance back in 1876 in the laboratory of Alexander Graham Bell. You got it … the telephone.

Success for Your Dental Office: How to Take Control

If you are always looking externally to explain why your office is not doing so well, or why you’re not growing, then you will always be limited by those external factors that are out of your control. By looking within the four walls of your dental office, you begin to take responsibility for your own success, and that is the first step in the right direction.

Thursday Troubleshooter: RDH Allowing Insurance to Guide Patient Treatment

QUESTION: We have a hygienist in our office whose idea of treating patients is based on their insurance coverage and benefits. We at the front office know and have explained the necessity for x-rays. Not only do insurance carriers need updated documentation, but we need them for diagnosis. I feel this hygienist has become complacent after 27 years. Our doctor does not seem to be bothered by her bahavior. If he is, x-rays are taken at the return visit by the assistants. There is no pocket probing. Our doctor charts perio pockets with the Panorex film. We feel this is a disservice and that we have an obligation to our patients. Any suggestions or comments are welcome.

3 Reasons New Employees Shouldn’t Answer the Phones

It is typical in a dental office that when we hire a new employee at the front desk, they start by answering the phones for the office. Really, when looking at it from the dentist’s perspective, that is the easiest thing to start with, right? Other duties such as scheduling, treatment plan presentations, collections, etc., require a lot more training and knowledge of the dental office and policies.

Turning a Compliment into a Referral or a Review

If your office is offering the best dental care and amazing customer service, then you are hearing compliments from your patients each and every day. The question is, are you making the most of those compliments?

Thursday Troubleshooter: Dental Assistant Has No Respect for RDH

QUESTION: I am a hygienist with 25 years of experience. I work with a dental assistant who graduated one year ago, and she makes me feel as though I’m not a professional. She asked the doctor if she could get her anesthesia license, which I just completed. She told me that since she was the manager of the back of the office, she is at the same level as the office manager. She’s a nice person but I need to talk to her because it’s bothering me that she doesn’t respect my degree. What should I say to her?

Is Your Dental Office Insurance Driven, or Insurance Savvy? There’s a Big Difference

When you treat your patients with respect and concern for their health, rather than worrying about their insurance, it makes a big difference in how they view your practice. While it is important to be knowledgeable about insurance, it is more important to let your patients know you care about their health and their needs more.

Make Dental Patients Your Priority, Not Their Insurance

By asking about the potential new patient’s insurance at the beginning of that first phone call, it’s letting the patients know that you value their insurance more than their health. Obviously, we don’t want this, so it is important to get to know the patient and build a friendly rapport with them before getting to the (seemingly) impersonal insurance questions.

Hiring Rock Star Employees, Part 10: The Power of a First Impressions
First impressions might not always be completely accurate, but they do provide useful information to see the total picture of the candidate later on when you are weighing all of your options. It’s important to listen to your gut and not lower your standards to make someone “fit” into a position they are not necessarily right for. Take the time to hire the right dental front desk personnel, your patients will thank you. 

Hiring Rock Star Employees Part 9: Your Secret Weapon for the In-Person Interview

Hiring a new employee for your dental team? It is also a good idea to gauge your current staff’s opinion on the potential employee before even starting the interview. Hiring new staff should be a joint effort, especially since dental teams work so closely together. How did the candidate interact with your current team?  Don’t discount the power of your current staff to size up potential teammates. If you trust your dental staff—and I hope you do—then you should give their opinion equal weight with yours. Remember, the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior.

One Single Issue Divides the Front and Back Dental Office Teams

Does it feel like there is a divide between the front and back of your dental office? More often than not, this divide is caused by one thing: the schedule. Knowing this and learning how to fix it, can really help your practice to be more efficient and successful.


“Just a cleaning”? Absolutely not! But it takes a dental team effort to get patients on board

Although it would be wonderful to be able to completely educate each patient on the terminology and the specifics of their treatment, it is more realistic to use simpler terms to get them to schedule their next appointment. We definitely don’t want to minimize the hygiene appointments and this is why we remove the “just” from “just a cleaning” but still calling it a cleaning will help the patient feel comfortable in scheduling.

Front Office Can Help Remove “Just a Cleaning” Image From The Minds of Dental Patients

Getting a patient to schedule their next appointment, especially dental cleaning appointments, before they leave the dental office is not always the easiest thing to do, but it is one of the most important things to do. By using the phrase “just a cleaning” in front of or to the patient, you are devaluing the appointment and making them think it would be okay not to schedule or to cancel. It is imperative to remove this phrase from your dental office in order to get more patients to schedule their follow up cleaning appointments.

One Hiring Strategy I Guarantee You Aren’t Considering but Should

When looking for candidates to interview for an opening in your dental office, most likely you are going to look at a lot of resumes to find your potential new hires. Most commonly looked at on resumes is the work experience, education, references and so on, but what about their home address? By checking the distance between their home and your dental office, you could be saving yourself a lot of trouble in the future. In this article, Laura explains why that is and how it can help you with the hiring process.

The Dental Patient Hand Off – Don’t Drop the Ball

Customer service is typically the most important part of any business, but in the dental industry, it can even be more important than the actual dentistry itself. There are many different ways to integrate high-quality customer service into a dental office, but it seems the best way to do this is to start one step at a time.  One of the biggest missed opportunities in many dental offices that will not only improve customer service for your patients, but will also help your dental practice run more efficiently is the hand off. 

Why Trying to Hire the Perfect Employee is a Huge Mistake

Are you writing the kind of job ad designed to attract the great employees you are looking for? When you are looking to hire somebody new, are you looking for someone who is perfect or someone who is great? This article will explain which of these options is better to look for and why it is more important to the hiring process.

A Controversial Hiring Strategy that Actually Works

When it comes to hiring someone who is going to be in a customer service position within the dental practice, it seems obvious that the most important thing to look for tends to be their customer service skills. Most dental offices seem to put prior dental experience as a priority over the potential new hire’s customer service skills. While the candidate having dental knowledge is a big plus, it is definitely far more important that they have the right attitude and personality traits for a customer service position.

5 Issues That Get in the Way of Hiring Good Employees

When it comes to hiring someone who is going to be in a customer service position within the dental practice, it seems obvious that the most important thing to look for tends to be their customer service skills. Most dental offices seem to put prior dental experience as a priority over the potential new hire’s customer service skills. While the candidate having dental knowledge is a big plus, it is definitely far more important that they have the right attitude and personality traits for a customer service position.

Real Challenges of an Office Manager

In one of Laura’s premiere articles in her series on finding rock star front dental office employees, she discusses how essential the dental office manager is in any dental practice. Laura has a background in professional recruiting, so where some dental office managers and dentists might be lacking a little bit, such as the hiring process and many other areas, Laura is here to help you learn how to pick up that slack and get your dental office rocking!

From Top to Bottom: Motivating Employees

Motivation is something inside people that drives them to action, and there are a two different types of motivation, external and internal. Since motivation comes from within the staff, the dental office managers and/or owners need to try to utilize that motivation that is already accessible. In a dental office, it can commonly be mistaken that it is the staff’s fault for not being motivated when really it can be traced back to the management. This article will go into detail on how to become a great, motivational dental office manager with a rock star front office staff!

Difference of Training vs Consulting

During dental school, they teach you pretty much everything you need to know about dentistry except for how to run a successful practice of your own. That is why it is super important to have the resources for dental office training and/or consulting and making sure you are doing the right type of dental training. It’s always important to remember the differences between consulting and training and which you need for which situation. This article will teach you the difference and help your dental practice grow and make your dental team the best it can be.