The great thing about the management system taught at MGE is that works every time it is correctly applied. This makes fixing an area of a practice that isn’t going well very easy. We find the piece of technology that’s “out” and get it “in,” resulting in an immediate turnaround in most cases. The MGE Qualifications Division (“Qual”) is responsible for ensuring MGE maintains high technical standards, and is who a client that might be having implementation problems would work with. That said, Qual has “debugged” its fair share of clients—in fact, we have yet to meet a client who hasn’t hit at least one or two speed bumps on the road to ultimate success. In this post, we are sharing a few “case histories” from the “Qual Files,” covering some of the more common issues that have come up and how they were handled.
CASE HISTORY #1: MARKETING ISSUES
Client (GP from the Southeastern U.S.) was getting next to no new patients off of recent marketing efforts (primarily postcards). The office was plan-free (100% fee-for-service).
WHAT WAS FOUND:
Client’s return on their marketing in this instance was abnormally low. The first area we had the client look into was their phone records (specifically the number which tracked incoming calls off of this promotion). We immediately hit pay dirt: incoming call volume to this number was good. The duration of nearly every phone call, however, was under one minute. Prospective patients weren’t staying on the phone long enough to make an appointment, indicating that incoming new patient calls were being mishandled. Client monitored the calls and found that most callers immediately asked “Do you accept my insurance?” From there, front desk would go into a long explanation of insurances and their office’s policy…confusing patients to the point where most would hang up/quickly get off the phone. Not the ideal way to get patients in the chair!
SOLUTION: Train the front desk on phone skills.
In response, client trained their front desk on how to properly handle incoming new patient calls, including how to answer callers’ questions in such a way that they were encouraged to come in for an exam, cleaning, etc.
RESULTS: New patients quintupled (5X)!
Within two months new patients more than doubled! Since then, they are up by five times (5X)!
CASE HISTORY #2: CAN’T BREAK THROUGH A PRODUCTION/COLLECTIONS PLATEAU
Client (GP in the Northeast U.S.) couldn’t seem to break through a “ceiling” of $130,000 per month. Overall the office was in fantastic shape compared to where client started on the MGE Program (up by almost $60,000 per month), but $130,000 seemed to be a “magic” number the office could come close to but would never crack.
WHAT WAS FOUND:
Looking deeper, we found initially found a problem with how the doctor and associate were scheduled. There was very little consistency in the amount of time doctor had to properly present (and close) treatment. Oftentimes, they were so busy that they (owner/doctor or associate) would just diagnose, tell the patient what they need (very briefly), pass over to the front and immediately head into the next patient. In many cases, patients would give the front desk a bunch of objections (i.e. “I’ll have to think about it” and so on) and then leave the office.
SOLUTION: Time in the schedule for consults & sales training for the office manager.
When the doctor and office manager did the MGE Professional Sales Course (part of the MGE Power Program) it had a substantial impact on the practice. Upon further review of their office situation, it became clear that (in addition to tightening up their sales skills), they would need to make more time to sell. Immediate results were seen by a combination of improved sales skills, modifying the schedule and moving the office manager more on the “Sales Line.”
In addition to making time for consults in the schedule every day, client opened up time for larger-case type consults on Fridays. In the event client’s schedule was mildly pressed, the (now sales trained) office manager would step in towards the end and help close. If there’s no time at all available for doctor to present treatment, they would (instead of trying to rush through a consult between patients) reschedule patient to come back during a consult time (or on Friday for larger cases).
RESULTS: Broke through the ceiling with $180,000 month!
The very next month client produced and collected $180,000! Keep in mind, this is with the same staff, same number of new patients, and the same overhead—but a $50,000 bump in revenues!
CASE HISTORY #3 PROBLEMS WITH PROFITABILITY
Client, GP from the Midwest was profitable, but nowhere near where they wanted to be. Despite keeping a close eye on finances, overhead was high and seemed to increase unexpectedly.
WHAT WAS FOUND:
Client brought in their overhead and expense worksheet (a worksheet all MGE Power Clients fill out), and in five minutes we were able to find about $20,000 per month that could be cut. Client had been under the impression that they were overspending on marketing and payroll—but actually these categories were in an acceptable range. So, where did the reduction in expenses come from?
SOLUTION: Cutting costs in the categories that don’t affect production.
The unnecessary expenses in this client’s case were found in a number of expense categories. Individually they did not look like much – but they added up fast. We found quite a bit we could “chop” in categories like office expenses, supplies, and outside services. Things like hundreds of dollars per month on staff uniforms (for just a couple of staff), fresh flowers being replaced continually, over-priced dental supplies which could be had for half the price elsewhere, and so on.
RESULTS: Saved an additional $20,000 per month.
As I mentioned before, client saved $20,000 per month in this instance. This was an unusually high figure, but $10,000 is run-of-the-mill for new clients we see. Is there anything better than pocketing an extra $10,000 for absolutely zero extra work?
Overhead control problems often come back to estimating only off of past expense as opposed to doing a real budget. Someone will think, “Well, we’ve always spent $__ on this dental supply, so I guess that amount will have to be in the budget.” Frequently, we’ve helped clients save money by advising them to look online and see if they can get the exact same thing cheaper elsewhere. As an example, we had one client tell their Patterson Rep they found a number of items cheaper elsewhere and the rep promptly matched the price! It pays to maintain a critical eye when it comes to overhead and financial planning in general!
So, what’s the lesson here? Well, on the road to success, as we said earlier, you might hit a speed bump or two. The trick is to sort it out fast and get right back on the road. Even more important is having the correct tools in the first place – which is what we teach on the MGE Program. If you’re not a client, find out more about MGE at the MGE New Patient Workshop. Hope this helped and we wish you success!