We are Passionate About Supporting Dental Office Managers
Dental office managers play extremely important roles in the success of the practice.
The Dentist looks to you to fix the office issues. The Front Office relies on you to provide direction and be their advocate with the back office. The back office just wishes the front office would get it together. You are stuck in the middle and pulled in 20 directions.
We know and understand, because our founder and trainer Laura Hatch, was an office manager for over 20 years.
We have dedicated this section of the site to you, the office manager.
Find all the details, below!
All you need at the click of a button.
Front Office Rocks started as a tool for Laura’s own office when she had to train her team on scheduling, cancellations, no-shows, and office policies.
Our training will help you in your daily office manager duties.
From the morning huddle, to new hires, to job descriptions and so much more. These are some of our top pre-made documents that our dental office managers use.
What is an Office Manager?
Miracle worker was taken, this is the next best title. 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.
We have an entire unit of training videos to support you as the office manager.
Front Office Support
We are not here to change what’s working, we’re here to alleviate the burden of having to do it all.
Office managers are the people who receive all patient issue escalations, and manage daily staff issues, and the doctor, who can be the position’s biggest advocate or biggest detriment.
These are only three examples of the challenges that come along with the role dental office manager.
Our documents allow for customization for your office, we have video checklists so you can assign training to each team member, and we have our team available from 8am-8pm EST on live chat to give your answers when they need it most.
The below questions are the most common problems Office Managers face in their daily duties.
We recommend watching all the video modules in each unit, but if your team is in a crisis and needs answers now…
We’ve hyperlinked our recommendations below so you can click right to a course/document.
The best results will be seen by completing an entire course, but we want you to have the basics.
How Can I Improve Scheduling?
For the management team, I would start...
By examining your current schedule first. There are so many factors that go into building a great schedule, and so many things that can and do happen on a daily basis to wreak havoc on it. If your office does not have a scheduling policy in place or good control over your schedule, I suggest training for both! Start by doing a time study to ensure your time slots are accurate. Once you know how long an appointment will take – adjust the appointment slots in your dental office scheduling software. Next, we would recommend watching the basics of how to schedule for production by using the goal tracking sheets. Have a team huddle regarding the schedule and watch basics of building a productive schedule webinar as a team. Discuss the webinar with your team and identify what type of scheduling issues pertain to your office and create a scheduling policy for those common obstacles.
Whether a patient is scheduled for a filling, a perio procedure, or a crown, the patient’s commitment to getting the work done is based on your recommendation and their trust in you as a dental professional. Or, in some cases, the patient scheduled the work that you recommended just to get out of the office, because they weren’t sure they were really on board with the treatment plan but didn’t want to say so.
We can reduce cancellations by having a game plan. It’s impossible to 100% reduce cancellations. They’re going to happen, but you can reduce them through communication. Find out the real reason why someone is cancelling their appointment. The key is to identify which specific patients are likely to cancel or no-show, so that you can appropriately address it at the right moment, whether that’s in the initial visit, while scheduling maintenance appointments, and when patients call in to ask for schedule changes. By planning ahead and getting your team on the same page about how to handle these common issues, your office will have the upper hand when it comes to reducing the frequency of no-shows and cancelled visits.
It mostly comes down to the patient wasn’t onboard with the treatment or they don’t have the money to pay. We recorded a webinar on top 10 ways to decrease last minute cancellations and no-shows, because this is such a hot topic in the dental industry.
For your front office team, we recommend...
Talking with your team about the importance of the schedule and understanding your scheduling policy. It’s important for your team to understand why certain steps are taken, like confirmation calls and how an appointment is offered – and how they impact the overall schedule as well as how to put blocks in the schedule.
Having a morning huddle every day to get the team on the same page is crucial. This is the time and place to review things that may present an obstacle. Ensure your team has a block for lunch. Discuss how to handle emergencies and what qualifies as an emergency. Of course you want to get emergency patients into the office and take care of their needs, but you should bring them in at a time that works for your schedule. During the morning huddle, ask the dental assistants to identify the best times to schedule possible emergencies. The key is to keep a list of scheduling issues as they arise so you can identify which need a written policy.
Stop leaving your schedule to chance and start implementing a system that’s going to get your patients to show up for their appointments. It starts with the how your staff handled the first phone call, how your staff is trained, how the initial consultation was handled, giving your staff a reason behind their actions, and practicing the checkout process.
Identify who your treatment coordinator is and who your financial coordinator is. We understand that not every office has one person that fully handles this role, and this role alone. If your Front Office staff are pulling double duty – these modules will help.
- The Importance of Consultations
- Handling Patient Questions in Consultations
- Getting Patients Closed for Treatment & Finances
- How to Handle The “Insurance Focused” Patient
- Confirmation Calls
It’s our job to help the patient fully understand the treatment plan, their insurance benefits, and that the office will work with them to maximize those benefits, but that the ultimate goal is to get them and keep them healthy. And, this comes down to our communication skills, Scheduling Course, Module 3 – How to handle cancellations.
How Can I Offer Better Customer Service?
For the management team, I would start...
People don’t like getting dentistry done. Patient retention and generation is improved in the same way any successful relationship is; by having positive touch points. We are in the business of selling oral health to patients that would rather be anywhere else. The least we can do is value our patients and offer the best customer service possible.
It starts with the first phone call and how your front office is answering the phones. Are they jumping right to asking for insurance information, or giving out diagnosis and prices over the phone? It’s important your team stops whatever they are doing, takes a breathe, and smiles before picking up the phones. Then build up rapport with the caller and find out their name, what prompted them to call and take great notes. In our office, we hold appointment blocks for new patients so we can appoint in 48 hours. If it’s urgent and their are no appointments left in your schedule – what is your policy? Does your team know how to handle this scenario?
During the morning huddle, your team should go over who is coming in to the office that day along with any notes taken during intake. Are they new to the area? Do they have a husband or children that could become patients? These are all conversation starters for when the patient arrives.
When the patient arrives, stand up and greet them with a smile and handshake. Truly welcome them to your practice. Make conversation with the patient while they waiting to be seen, again a communication policy would be good to have on hand so your team knows how much to say and what’s appropriate to discuss.
Practice patient handoffs as you guide your patient through the appointments.
Watch for body language signals if they seem upset, uncomfortable, or nervous and talk to them about what’s happening or going to happen.
At no point should a patient be left alone to wonder if they’ve been forgotten, or where to go to exit the exam area. If there’s a delay, communicate this to the patient and wait with them.
As much as we would like our patients to judge us just on our clinical knowledge and skill, most of the time patients don’t. They judge us on our office décor, our smile or lack of smile when they arrive, how we greet them in the lobby, and all the intangible things that make them feel that they either have or have not been well taken care of. Most of the time, it has very little to do with the dentist and mostly to do with the staff. Because of this, it is important that you are always top-notch.
For your front office team, we recommend...
Think about it. What happens in a dental office? We put drills and needles in their mouth, and they are going to pay us thousands of dollars for something nobody is going to see—and half the time, it didn’t hurt before you touched them. On top of that, many front desk teams behave in the same manner as a doctors office: “Sign in, take a seat, and wait to be called back”.
Whether it’s the receptionist or the dental assistant, it is vital that your team understands what an important role they play with offering each and every patient great customer service. They are many times one of the first employees the patients meet and most of the time have the most interaction with the patient. The way they talk with the patient, take care of the patient and make sure they are happy while they are in the dental office, can make such an impact on whether the patient loves your office or not.
If you are concerned your team isn’t offering the best customer service, I would start with making sure you have the right policies in place ( see management response above first) and then watching this webinar together as team: How to Communicate With Dental Patients, followed by Creating The Ultimate New Dental Patient Experience. After you’ve watched the webinar recordings as a team, talk with your employees about what they think can be done differently. By including them on the discussion you are actually getting their buy-in that their voice is important and you value them. When your team is apart of the decision making they feel vested in your business and want to see it succeed. Discussing customer service as a team also gives you, the manager, the opportunity to explain the “Why” behind answering phones quickly, with a smile, and building rapport. Why handoffs are important.
We do not offer scripts. What you see through Front Office Rocks training is an understanding of how to communicate – when you know what to say – it just comes naturally.
These five videos should be a top priority for your team to watch:
How do I find and hire a new staff member for the front office?
From the management perspective, hiring and retaining great employees key for any dental office. When you approach the hiring process in the right way, you will acquire the right people and see long term retention in your office.
Change your mindset. When it comes to building a great team, the thing that matters most during the hiring process is this: how you prioritize dental experience. Begin to think of dental experience as a bonus, but not a requirement.
Two reasons to prioritize customer service skills, not dental experience, when hiring:
- Dental is teachable, but personality is not. When it comes to exceptional customer service—which can make or break a dental practice—it’s nearly impossible to train a new hire to provide great customer service if that person is just not equipped for it or doesn’t have the right personality.
- Sometimes dental experience isn’t a good thing. A candidate who has worked in other dental offices isn’t just bringing their knowledge of teeth, dental codes, and scheduling. They are also bringing that previous dentist’s training and culture—which may not be a great fit for YOUR office.
A new team member with an ingrained way of doing things based on their dental experience could actually end up being a liability.
On the other hand, someone with no dental experience who is accustomed to providing fantastic customer service will immediately benefit any dental practice with the right training. It doesn’t take long to get up to speed on dental basics. Meanwhile, the new hire will be providing great customer service that IMMEDIATELY benefits patients and other team members. Use the 12 Steps to Hiring a Rock Star Employees in Your Dental Office as a guide to help you navigate the entire hiring process – from placing the ad to the offer!
Do your research, plan ahead – here are more resources and videos you when hire:
- A Controversial Hiring Strategy That Actually Works
- 5 Issues that Get in the Way of Hiring Good Employees
- Writing a Good Job Advertisement
- Reading Resumes
- Phone Interview
- Interview Management Style
Identify the position you are hiring and review our available job descriptions. Use each of these as a starting point to build your own description for your office or positions in your office.
Remember to customize for your needs and the the culture in your office – set expectations through the job description and begin the hiring process knowing you know how to find the right person.
We Supplement Systems
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 okay with what your policies are.
Join Front Office Rocks
The Office Manager must be a lead in their practice, and a role model who manages the expectations for the team.
They are always ready to help wherever and whenever there is a need.
Learn how to be the ultimate team leader and how Front Office Rocks can support you in building a successful team.
Not a member yet?
Download this printable customer service guide for your team and the second page has a flyer to help you discuss with your doctor.