August 24, 2017

Is Your Practice in the Hands of a Qualified Office Manager??

When it comes to your office manager (OM) or office lead, it’s not a good idea to throw her into that role and expect her to just learn in the trenches. An office lead without legitimate training, or adequate resources, cannot effectively fulfill her role in the company. Even a tenured office lead needs training to keep up with the changing role of the dental office manager. Besides, as a dental entrepreneur, you should want to ensure your practice is in the hands of a qualified office manager. In any case, use these insights to help your office lead fulfill her role effectively!

Important Dental Office Manager Demographics

Before we dive into the responsibilities and activities of your office lead, let’s check out some important demographics to note for this role.

Dental Office Manager Demographics

  • 90% are Female
  • 62% are Over 45
  • 27% Have 5 Years or Less Experience in That Position
  • 58% Supervise >5 Team Members
  • 32% Do Not Have an Adequate # of Persons on Staff
  • Industry Norm: 1:1 Ratio of Office Manager to Lead Dentist

Source: Futuredontics

How Does Your Office Manager Match-Up With the Nation’s OMs?

The information below is from a Futuredontics report which analyzed results from a nationwide online survey including 1,171 dental office managers between May 5, 2016 and June 5, 2016.

An Office Manager’s #1 Concern is Keeping the Schedule Full

When it comes to practice growth activities, office managers are focused on:

  1. Keeping the Schedule Full
  2. Patient Acquisition
  3. Practice Marketing
  4. Dormant Patient Reactivation

Meanwhile, on the operations side, office managers are focused on:

  1. Patient Interaction
  2. Staff Training
  3. Appointment Reminders
  4. Insurance Processing

Has Your Office Lead Received Adequate Training on Each of the 8 Very Important Operational/Practice Growth Activities?

Though, an office manager’s time spent on these very important business activities has shifted over the past few years. Mainly, due to increasing competition, shrinking demand, dental income stagnation, and consumer awareness.

Activities Required to Market & Grow the Practice are Gaining Importance

Time spent on operational responsibilities has decreased. While time spent on practice growth responsibilities has increased. Nowadays, office managers are spending more time on:

  • Practice Marketing
  • New Patient Acquisition
  • Keeping the Schedule Full

Still, 1/3 or more of the nation’s dental office managers feel “too little time” is being devoted to practice growth and important operational responsibilities, such as:

  • Staff Training
  • Dormant Patient Reactivation
  • Practice Marketing
  • New Patient Acquisition
  • Keeping the Schedule Full

Specifically, in regards to practice marketing, office leads feel “too little time” is being spent on:

  • Social Media
  • Practice’s Website
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Video Testimonials
  • Word-of Mouth Referrals
  • Online Reviews

Yet, the top 3 most important practice marketing activities for office managers were ranked as:

  1. Practice’s Website
  2. Online Reviews
  3. SEO

Is Your Office Lead Spending Enough Time on Each of the 8 Very Important Operational/Practice Growth Activities?

How Does Your Practice Match-Up With Other Dental Practices?

The role of office lead is ever-evolving and different from practice to practice. So, how does your office compare to other dental offices?

Marketing, New Patients, & Appointing

  • 36% of offices have the office manager handling social media
  • 87% of offices have a business profile on Facebook
  • 66% of offices use software tools to request patient reviews
  • 57% of office leads block out 1-4 hours per day specifically to accommodate new patients.
  • 37% of office leads follow the best practice of seeing new patients within 48 hours of their initial call.
  • 40% of practices offer an online option for scheduling appointments. (Which is important, since 40% of high-value dental patients want to be able to request dental appointments online).

Does Your Office Lead Have Access to the Tools & Technology She Needs to Fulfill Her Role Effectively?

Top 10 Marketing Activities Engaged In by Dental Practices

  1. Practice Website
  2. Online Reviews
  3. SEO
  4. Incentives for Word-of-Mouth Referrals
  5. Social Media
  6. Video Testimonials
  7. Yelp
  8. Paid Google Search
  9. Paid Patient Lead Referral Service
  10. Online Yellow Pages

Does Your Office Lead Have the Resources & Professional Help Needed to Successfully Market the Practice Using Digital Marketing?

Patient Engagement and Dormant Patient Reactivation

Over the past few years, office leads have stepped up their efforts to engage with patients on a regular basis. In addition to traditional patient communication (e.g. appointment & recare reminders), practices are attempting to strengthen relationships and deepen patient engagement with:

  • Birthday Greetings (used by 70% of offices)
  • Holiday Greetings (used by 59% of offices)
  • Informative Content (used by 45% of offices)

Relevant to the topic of patient communication is the area of dormant patient reactivation. Unfortunately, this potentially lucrative area of relationship-mining is one of the most neglected areas in dental practices.

Is Your Office Lead Engaged in Patient Communication AND Dormant Patient Reactivation?

Ensure You Have a Qualified Office Manager!

Every entrepreneur knows their team is their greatest asset. And when it comes to your dental team, your office manager is the linchpin. Whether or not she's qualified to lead your team could make or break your practice.

It’s important that your office lead becomes increasingly sophisticated about prioritizing practice activities. Also, she needs to have enough time to dedicate to the many tasks on her plate. Thankfully, both priority planning and organization are skills that can be taught. Just like all the skills your office manager needs to fulfill her role effectively.

So, if your office manager was thrown into that role like many are, then it’s time to ensure your practice is in the hands of a qualified office manager by providing adequate training on her responsibilities and important business activities. In addition, it’s critical that your office lead has all the resources she needs (e.g. mentors, technology, access to seminars/training videos, etc.). By doing so, you'll set your practice up for growth and success!

Resources:

Office Lead Responsibilities as Defined by Linda Miles

How to Train Your Office Manager

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