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How to help your office manager succeed


You finally decided to hire an office manager to run the business side of your practice. You knew it was time, and thought your star front office employee was ready to take over the position.

You finally decided to hire an office manager to run the business side of your practice.

You knew it was time, and thought your star front office employee was ready to take over the position. You had visions of marketing finally getting done, personnel issues magically going away, and the schedule running like a well-oiled machine-but none of that has happened. In fact, it’s been a bit of a train wreck, and you have no idea what to do about it.

Unfortunately, this is a common scenario. Instead of searching for and hiring the right person for the job, many dentists promote their best front office employee to the office manager position. The problem is, these employees often don’t have the skill set or level of competency needed to excel as an office manager.

Related reading: Cover yourself and your dental practice: What you need in a good emplyee handbook

This isn’t an easy role, and it involves far more than just preparing financial arrangements, answering phones and scheduling. The office manager must be good with numbers, understand practice reports and be comfortable managing human resources. Essentially, if you’re the CEO of your practice, think of your office manager as the Chief Operating Officer.

When hiring an office manager, you have to take the time to find the right person for the position. If you don’t, it will lead to nothing but frustration-not to mention costing you thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Your office manager will become overwhelmed and won’t be able to meet your expectations, meaning you’ll either need to transition her/him to another role or let her/him go.

Once you find the right candidate with the proper skill set and temperament to be an effective office manager, you have to provide this vital team member with the skills and tools needed to succeed. Not sure what that means? Here are three things you can do to help your office manager excel, ultimately making your practice more efficient and growing your bottom line.

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Think of your office manager as a partner.

When you do, you’ll both get more out of the position. While this might be difficult at first, you have to empower your office manager to make decisions. Be ready to give up some control of the business, and let your office manager know you trust her/him to do what’s best for the practice.

This will give your office manager the confidence needed to take ownership of the role, enabling you to focus on what you love most: the dentistry. Once this happens, you’ll reap the benefits of a more efficient practice, including increased production and a more robust bottom line.

Develop a detailed job description.

You can’t expect your office manager to read your mind. That’s why you have to create a detailed job description that outlines the role’s responsibilities, necessary skill set, performance measurements and your expectations.

Remember the office manager role means different things to different dentists, and a job description detailing exactly what it means to you is key to your office manager’s success.

For more information on hiring: Top 5 mistakes dentists make when hiring employees 

Train your office manager.

No matter how well suited the person you hire is for the role, you still have to provide the proper training. Now this can be difficult, because most dentists have no idea what it means to be a good office manager. All they know is they need someone to take over the business side so they can focus on diagnosing and treating patients.

Don’t worry, I can help. I offer an Office Manager Training Course through McKenzie Management.This course is designed to help office managers excel. After taking this class, office managers have the skills and confidence they need to realize success-and that means increased production and revenues for your practice.

The office manager role involves a lot more than most dentists realize and isn’t a job that just anyone can handle. This team member runs the business side of your practice so you don’t have to, and simply must have a certain temperament and skill set to excel.

Once you find the right person for the role, and provide that person with the proper training and guidance, you’ll notice a huge difference in your practice. Your office will run more smoothly and you’ll have more time to spend treating patients. Production numbers and revenues will rise, and your practice will finally be on its way to true success and profitability.

Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, which offers educational and management products available at www.mckenziemgmt.com. Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or at sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com.


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