Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 05 Conflict Resolution 1

What to do about these 3 production killers in your dental practice

May 19, 2017
Many dental professionals believe some things about their practices that simply are not true. Do you believe any of these things, and if so, are they hurting your practice?
Roger P. Levin, DDS, CEO and Founder, Levin Group

Many dental professionals believe some things about their practices that simply are not true. Do you believe any of these things, and if so, are they hurting your practice?

This article originally appeared in the Principles of Practice Management e-newsletter. Subscribe to the twice monthly ENL here.

Most practices operate on a series of assumptions that can stunt a practice’s growth. I call these false beliefs “production killers.” Some of them might have been valid years ago, and some might have never been valid. Some can be easily removed. And some, once they get into a practice, can persist, like mold, and removing them may require the intervention of experts.

Here are three of the most prevalent production killers and what you can do about them.

1. Assuming patients will remain loyal
“My patients love my practice. They would never leave.” Wrong. If patients have a bad experience, change their insurance provider, or hear about a new and wonderful practice with lower prices, they won’t give switching to a new practice a second thought. These days, lifetime patients are hard to come by. Millennials, unlike their parents, have no problem jumping from dentist to dentist. Even baby boomers, who once were loyal, can be swayed to join other practices, especially when their insurance changes.

Don’t take your patients for granted. You must continually nurture these relationships. You typically only see patients a few times a year, so you’ve got to make those times count.

Solution: Provide great customer service during every interaction. Build the relationship at every appointment. Make patients believe that there is no other practice where they can receive such wonderful care and attention.

2. Believing staff conflicts will resolve themselves Most of the time these conflicts do not resolve themselves. While you don’t want to interject yourself into minor squabbles, you can’t let friction fester into feuding, or something worse. You don’t want to be the owner of a practice where staff members are at war with one another. You might not think team issues affect production, but they do. Patients can sense when something isn’t right at the practice. Tense staff interactions affect patient perceptions during their experience in the office.

Most people don’t like confrontation, but doing nothing is not an option. As the leader of the practice, you can’t sit back and let two or more employees destroy the excellent customer service for which your practice is known.

Solution: If staff members are at odds, intervene before the situation escalates. Speak privately with those involved. Gather and review additional facts, and make the best decision for the practice. Bring the employees together and share your decision. This usually ends a disagreement. Continue to monitor the situation for any flare-ups or recurrences.

3. Holding onto outdated systems
I get it. Practices run on routine. Doing something out of the ordinary, such as replacing old systems, takes time that the staff doesn’t believe it has. Yet, what’s the alternative? The longer you hold onto antiquated systems, the more inefficient and stressful your practice becomes.

Solution: Start with one system. Make a list of everything that’s both right and wrong with it. Create a step-by-step process of how the new system should work. Review it to make sure it’s correct. If it’s right, implement the new system over the course of six to eight weeks. Once it’s done, move on to the next system. If this process seems too complicated or time consuming, seek help from business system experts.

These three production killers can do a lot of damage to your bottom line. The first step toward fixing a problem is to recognize that you have a problem. If any one of these production killers exist in your practice, it’s time to get rid of them, and fast!

CE for GPs:Attend Dr. Roger Levin’s “Building the Ultimate Practice”seminarthis year and receive six CE credits.To see his full seminar schedule, visit

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Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Levin Group Inc., a leading dental consulting firm. A nationally recognized speaker, Dr. Levin presents practice management seminars throughout the country.