It is an amazing thing to celebrate anytime that you get a promotion, especially to the position of office manager of a dental office.
There are some things you should know and be prepared for when stepping into the role of an office manager.
Prepare To Be Open To What You Don’t Know
Just like with any new position there are going to be some things that you will not know. There will also be a lot of things that you already have some form of familiarity with. This is especially may be the case if you are directly promoted to an office manager from being a dental assistant.
As you may have already assumed, there are going to be much more responsibilities as an office manager than there are as a dental assistant, and they are going to be different kinds of responsibilities.
It's important to know that it is okay that you are still going to have some questions. The odds are that you are going to have some questions even if you have the best training program possible. This is simply due to the fact that there are going to be things that happen that you don't know how to handle necessarily. Some of these may be questions that can be answered directly by company policy, and there are going to be others that are going to be your own judgment call.
Don't be afraid to ask for assistance. If you don't have anybody in the office that you're able to ask their opinions on how to handle a situation, you can always conduct the research online.
There are even many groups online that are there to help you. Groups that are on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, and many more.
Managing people can be one of the most difficult parts of being an office manager. There are also going to be situations that are going to be handled completely differently depending on your own management style. There are some management styles that lean more on the harsh side, and some are very easygoing.
Is important to find the management style that works for you, and that best fits your office and the needs of your office.
Get Used To A Lot Of Paperwork And Insurance Questions
If you have ever worked as the front office team member for a dental office or even at times as a dental assistant at a dental practice then you know that there is a lot of paperwork that goes into operating a dental practice. As an office manager, you are going to be overseeing most of that paperwork.
What kind of paperwork does this include?
This paperwork can be everything from payroll, patient organization, and at times write-ups for employees going through the disciplinary ladder. All of this paperwork and organization is going to take a lot of time, which is why it is important to try to balance out your time as wisely as you can.
You may also have to be answering questions as it pertains to insurance, and these can be pretty difficult conversations to have. They're not just difficult due to the fact that there are going to be instances where patients will not be able to be covered by their insurance, but also you will have to be well-versed about the operations of insurance.
Finally, as an office manager, you may have to step in when patients become upset or agitated. You should always strive to keep the situation calm and under your control, all while operating within the policies of your dental office. In instances like this, it is important to remember that you are the office manager.
Invest In Your Team
It is important to remember a keyword in your job title, and that keyword is “manager”.
One of your main goals as a dental office manager should be to help lead your team to success. We will go over the best ways to qualify for success in the next section.
We believe that some of the best ways to invest in your team are by giving them as much knowledge as possible to perform their job as best as possible. These resources can be online resources, training programs, lectures, new technology, or anything else that you see fit.
Investing in your team also means building out your leadership team up wisely. As a dental office manager, you will be leaning on them to help lead their own sections when you are unable to physically be right there.
That is why a promotion to lead dental assistant or lead dental hygienist is not something you should take lightly when choosing. People will look to that dental assistant or dental hygienist on how they should act, how hard they should be working, and overall try to replicate how that individual is because that is what is being rewarded in the dental office.
Track Your KPI’s
The first one of the most important questions is what is a KPI?
KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator.
What are you supposed to do with them?
These are going to be things that you can quantify in order to determine levels of success.
What are some that you should be paying attention to?
Ultimately these are going to vary from dental office to dental office. It will be up to you as the office manager to choose which ones you should be tracking.
We do have a couple of recommendations. The following are some things that we recommend every dental office keeps track of.
- The number of new patients you receive on a weekly or monthly basis.
- The number of cancellations you receive.
- The number of patient no-shows you receive.
- How frequently patients are called before their appointment.
- Does this align with no-shows?
- The frequency of each treatment.
- Are these above or below the market average Industry for those treatments?
- If there is a drastic difference this may be resulting in misdiagnosis.
If you're unsure then it may be a good idea to speak with the owner of your dental practice or the dentist to help determine what it is they're looking to track as well.
Finally, once you have a substantial amount of data then you can work on ways to improve these KPI’s that are unsatisfactory