Google This!

Episode 024

Do you know what people are saying about you online? Do you know if your business is properly listed on Google Maps? If you aren’t sure what reviews your patients have posted online or what people are seeing when they “google” you, you could be in for a surprise.

In today’s episode I share my struggles with Google reviews and duplicate business page listings, and why every business owner needs to know about their own online presence. I also share the ways I am trying to improve my standing online. Listen in to find out more…

 

Google

More About This Show

For the last several years I’ve been trying to crack the code on how to get more Google reviews. I’ve specifically been focused on Google reviews because they are the penultimate in search engines, the majority of people searching for anything online use Google so it pays to be high in their search results.

But why should you even bother with any kind of online reviews? Of all the experts I listen to and read the advice of say online reviews are important. If people don’t get a referral from a friend or family member, they go online and read others’ reviews of potential services and service providers.

So if you don’t know what people are saying about you online you could be losing out on new patients, if the reviews aren’t good. And if they are good but no one can find your business you could be missing out on new patients as well. So it pays to know what reviews are posted about your practice online, and to take advantage of good reviews from your existing patients.

I’ve been working with a marketing company to find out what other reviews are posted about my practice. They have an easy-to-use and direct dashboard that tells me how many reviews are online, what the average rating is, what percentage is positive and how many total visitors I’ve had.

On today’s show I go into my specific numbers for each measurement, where this marketing firm has culled all this information from and also how I gained six Google reviews in just one week.

Here is the process I used to generate those new reviews: I send feedback requests to my surgery patients (not consults or post-ops, just surgery patients). The questionnaire asks if they had a positive or negative experience with my practice.

If they choose positive it asks them to leave a Google review. If it is negative it provides them with a way to send us their specific feedback and does not ask them to leave a Google review.

In the last 7 days I sent 29 text messages asking for feedback and 24 emails (some patients received both a text and an email). Thirteen people clicked on the text message, 10 emails were opened and 3 people clicked the link inside of it. Of those people 6 left reviews, all of which were 5 stars. Some left only a rating and others left a comment too.

This is a good example of how you can do the same: follow up with a specific group of patients, ask for their feedback and then based on the feedback ask for a review or take care of them internally if the feedback isn’t positive.

Set a goal for your practice in doing this. My personal goal is 2 new reviews a week for an entire year: 96 new reviews total. Setting a goal gives the office something to strive for and also helps us know how we’re serving the patients. Fundamentally you must be serving your patients well in order to gain more positive reviews so be sure you are getting feedback regularly somehow!

Also on today’s episode of the Business of Dentistry I share how I found my two business listings on Google Maps, why you should only have one and what I’m doing to consolidate mine into one. Listen in to hear all of that and more on episode 24.

Tweetable: “The basis of online reviews is how well you take care of your patients!

Episode Resources

Big Mouth Marketing
Lighthouse 360
Business of Dentistry on Facebook
Connect with me on Twitter
Leave us a rating or review on iTunes!

Reviewing Your Financial Policy

Episode 023

Do you currently have a financial policy in your practice? Do you have a written agreement with patients regarding payment for your services? If you do, when is the last time you reviewed it?  In today’s episode I discuss some of the key elements of my financial policy and explain some of the reasons I have one for my practice.

IOU

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The reason I recommend creating a financial policy or updating an existing one is the security it provides you. While it’s only a “back door” kind of security it beats not having anything at all! In order to help you know what to include in that policy and why to include it, I recorded episode 23 of the Business of Dentistry.

I cover multiple points in the show today, and will list several of them here. The first reason to have this policy in place is to help your patients. Very often patients don’t know insurance as well as you do, not even their own policies. Sometimes they don’t even know they have coverage or who is providing that coverage! So by having them sign an agreement ahead of time you make sure they find out what insurance is available for them.

We stipulate this in our office’s financial policy by explaining that the insurance coverage is between the patient and insurance, but ultimately the patient is responsible for their dental bill. We explain in our policy that they must pay whatever the insurance doesn’t pay, but that we will file with insurance as a courtesy for them.

By stating this outright the patient knows what they are agreeing to, and by signing the form they are giving their personal agreement to the policy.

The second reason I recommend a financial policy for all of your patients is so they agree to pay the full before they receive your services. They now know they are responsible for all the insurance company doesn’t cover, and they pay it before the work is done.

This is so much easier than trying to track down people after the fact! Even if the insurance company covers more than your original estimate it’s far easier to give someone credit with you, or to give them a refund. Trying to get people to pay up after you’ve done the work already is an uphill battle and I don’t recommend trying to fight it.

Another reason I suggest a financial policy be in place so people know you do or don’t offer office-based financing. Personally I no longer offer this service, I’ve done this in the past and I’ve been burned by it so I stopped doing it.

If you decide not to offer financing options yourself you can still help your patients afford your services by working with third party financiers like Care Credit. Or you can always try your local, small bank or credit union. By doing this you put the onus on the bank to take care of the payments – which is something they do every day! – and you are paid at the time of your services without hassle.

Also on today’s show I share why working with insurance companies is much like a form of financing and why you should put a financial policy in place even if your practice is in a small town. Listen in to hear all of that and more on episode 23 of Business of Dentistry.

Tweetable: Remember you provide a service and take care of your patients!

Episode Resources

Dental Hacks podcast
The Snarky Dentists podcast
Business of Dentistry on Facebook
Connect with me on Twitter
Leave us a rating or review on iTunes!

Using Camtasia In Your Practice

Episode 022

Have you ever been told by another doctor you’re working with that you don’t communicate enough with them? I’ve heard it before from my colleagues and since I’m always searching for ways to improve my practice I began exploring possible solutions in my practice.

On today’s episode I’ll talk about one particular solution I’ve found: Camtasia. I’ve been using this tool to improve referring offices.  I have posted an example of this in the video below (Business of Dentistry Episode 022).  Check out the video below and listen to the show to see if  it might be right for your practice. Thanks for tuning in!

**After releasing this episode Dr. Alan Mead of Dental Hacks Podcast informed me that there is a free version of this software called Jing.

 

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Whether or not someone has requested more communication when working with you there is always room for improvement in the level of detail you provide. You can obviously record a video – which we’ll talk about today – or pick up the phone, send a text, a letter or even a fax to share more. Doing so generally leads to more information on the case you’re working on and better overall care for the patients.

When I began to explore this topic Camtasia was one avenue I hadn’t considered previously. It’s a video program you can use on a Mac or PC (Mac has another program called ScreenFlow which you can also use).

And it works in a fairly simple way: you open up the application, and record your computer’s screen. It also records the audio so you can talk about whatever is on your screen and then save the entire file (video and audio in one). When the file is saved you can share it with your colleague or colleagues.

Using video and audio in one file gives everyone a clearer picture of what is being described in your communication about the case. Which in turn reduces misinterpretation, expedites the entire process and keeps the entire case moving along efficiently and effectively for everyone.

This is especially beneficial if you are working on a complex, multi-practitioner case. Let’s say you are heading up a team of four practitioners: an endodontist, a periodontist, an orthodontist and an oral surgeon. You are the restorative doctor on the case and are in charge of the entire process from start to finish.

To kick off the case you could record a video of the x-ray and provide a comprehensive look at what you think should happen to correct this patient’s issues. You are in charge of farming out the different procedures so you explain what each person would be doing for the case and why.

After making the video you send the recording to each person and wait for their feedback. Everyone has a look at the video, examines the case and gets up to speed before even seeing the patient. Doing so speeds things along and gets everyone on the same page from the beginning in a simple manner.

Whether or not you’re in the business of specialty cases like the example I just gave, it’s been my experience that Camtasia can be a valuable addition in many different types of practices because it creates better communication with a simple, easy-to-use tool.

But after you listen to today’s episode and watch the video above, let me know what you think. Have you tried Camtasia or anything similar? How did it work or not work out for you? I’d love to hear your feedback! Thank you for listening and for being here for today’s episode.

Tweetable: As a specialist I see this as a very valuable tool!

Episode Resources

Techsmith
Jing
Business of Dentistry on Facebook

Connect with me on Twitter
Leave us a rating or review on iTunes!

Benefits of Bonus Programs

Episode 021

Do you have a staff bonus plan for your practice? Have you considered creating a bonus program but aren’t sure how best to implement it?

Today’s episode will answer both of these questions, and so much more. In this show we discuss some of the benefits of having a bonus program, both for you and your staff. We also go into some ways to structure a bonus program if you are looking to get one going.

More About This Show

When I first opened my practice I didn’t have a bonus program for my staff. It seemed like it was not feasible then, my sole focus was on covering the operating expenses to keep the doors open. But looking back I wonder if I wasn’t mistaken and if a bonus program would have actually helped me increase productivity, grow revenue and generate more profits faster.

Whether you’re just opening your practice or have been in business for decades, a bonus program can be a beneficial addition to your office. Today we’ll discuss what those benefits are and I’ll share how I’ve created a bonus program in my own practice.

1. Common goal.
The first benefit is a common goal. If you set up a bonus offering for everyone it gives your staff a common goal, something they can focus on and shoot for together. It’s a tangible, visible number for everyone. The number becomes a destination point for your staff, and they know where they want to go. Bonuses give structure and goals for your team; they are a win for your team and your business.

You can create a single tier or a triple tier for your bonus. For example tier one could be achieving $80k in collections in a month, tier 2 would be $100k, and tier 3 would be $125k. As the business owner you get to set this number or numbers, and decide what is the right structure for your program.

2. Increased productivity and efficiency.
If your staff knows the specific goal then they know how to reach it. And they do so by becoming more productive and efficient in their workday. This bonus gives the staff incentive to work harder, become more efficient, and improve productivity so your practice can see more patients in the same amount of time.

3. Appreciation.
A bonus program shows that you as the business owner appreciates your staff and their hard work. It shows you are willing to share the wealth and the success of the business. Doing so gives your staff a chance to take ownership in the business, they become rewarded as a result of their efforts. This is a terrific way you can let your staff know you know you can’t run your business without them – because you can’t!

4. Builds your team.
A bonus program can be a way that builds teamwork and cooperation among your staff – or it can divide them. It all depends on how you structure the program, so be careful.

If you create staff bonus programs that aren’t even across the board you can set yourself up for division in the staff so make sure all are on equal footing. If you create bonuses that are evenly distributed you avoid favoritism and avoid divisiveness.

You can also use your bonus program as an incentive when interviewing new prospects; it’s a way to make sure you are attracting the highest quality talent for the role and is something used by many companies (dental industry or otherwise).

 

There are many different ways to set up your bonus program, and today I explain how I have done this in my practice. I break this down in greater detail but a quick snapshot of it looks like this: if our monthly bonus goal is $80k in collections I have told my staff they will receive 1% of that $80k.

So that works out to $800. I look at each person’s individual contribution and weigh it accordingly. For the full-time person who contributed 20 hours I consider their contribution to be 20%. For the part-time person who contributed 3 hours I consider their contribution to be 3%. Therefore the 20% person receives $160 of the $800 (20% of 800 is 160), and the 3% person receives $24 (3% of 800 is 24).

Also on today’s episode I share whether you should use collections or pure profit as the goal of your program, and how to be completely transparent with your staff and why it’s important to do so. Listen in for all of that and more on episode 21 of the Business of Dentistry podcast!

Tweetable: You are not a one man or one woman show!

Episode Resources

Business of Dentistry on Facebook
Connect with me on Twitter
Leave us a rating or review on iTunes!

5 Reasons To Have A Morning Huddle

Over the first ten years of private practice I was against morning huddles (staff meetings).  Several staff members and dental colleagues tried to convince me they were beneficial but I resisted.

My push back was from three years of, what I considered worthless, staff meetings while in the Navy. During these meetings it was common for me to think quietly in my mind “if I ever get my own practice I will never do these things…as matter of fact I will avoid all meetings if possible.” (more…)

Mind Mapping In Your Practice

Episode 020

What the heck is mind mapping and why is it relevant to your dental practice? That’s what we’re talking about today on the Business of Dentistry.

A couple of years ago I took a hard look at mind mapping as a tool for organizing my thoughts. I had heard about mind mapping before but really didn’t know how it would apply to me. In today’s episode I explain what mind mapping is and give an example of how it may help you organize your thoughts on the way to building systems and processes in your practice.

BODP Mind MapMore About This Show

Before we can talk about why mind mapping can be so helpful in your practice we have to understand what it actually is. Mind mapping is a way to get ideas out of your head and onto paper or screen so you can explore the ideas fully.

You can do this either by writing your ideas down or by using a mind mapping software tool. I use X Mind, which has a free or a paid version. There are several others on the market, but the three that are the most popular are Free Mind, Mind Manager and X Mind (these are listed in order of popularity).

Mind mapping differs from an outline in that it isn’t linear. You write your idea down and it’s the main subject, it is the tree trunk. Growing out from your tree trunk are all the related concepts and topics, they become the branches. You can drill those down even further, those become the twigs.

To illustrate this point on today’s show I mind map the idea of improving your customer service. So that is your main idea, your tree trunk: improved customer service. Branching out from there you come up with a few ideas: clean the office, better phone etiquette, reduce wait times and send out surveys to post-procedure patients.

Now you take each of those topics or branches and dive deeper: who is going to clean your office? How will they go about doing so, and how often? Who is going to check on the cleanliness and how?

And what phone etiquette are you going to implement? Will you have a certain way of answering the phones that is standard? If so, who will come up with it? Answering all of these questions creates more twigs stemming from your branches.

Once you’ve listed your branches and twigs print out the image and give your staff a copy at your next staff meeting. Ask them for their feedback and input on what you have so far. Are these good ideas, what would they add to your existing mind map? Getting them involved in the process of making your practice better creates a stronger staff unity and loyalty, and a much happier place for everyone to work!

And that’s your action step from today’s show: explore mind mapping. Do your own research on Google and find out more about it. Make up your mind whether or not it’s a fit for you. Let me know what you decide, after you listen to episode 20 of the Business of Dentistry.

Tweetable: “Have your staff involved in making your practice better.”

Episode Resources

X Mind
Free Mind
Mind Meister
MindManager
iMindMap
Business of Dentistry on Facebook
Connect with me on Twitter
Leave us a rating or review on iTunes!