Dental practice managers need these 5 skills to promote office efficiency and productivity. These skills can help boost overall growth for the practice and the manager’s career.
Just as any other business, a strong, high-performing team can help you achieve dental practice success.
As a dental practice manager, you will need to ensure clear communication, smart organization, and effective delegation so you know what your team is doing when they are doing it, and how.
This is why dental practice managers need to continuously sharpen their skills in areas apart from dentistry and general healthcare. These include managing expectations, establishing connections with both staff and patients, and encouraging a sense of community.
In this article, we unpack five essential skills every dental practice manager should be familiar with. Arming yourself with these skills will help empower you and your team to run a successful dental practice office.
This is the end result of years spent learning about specific tasks inherent in dental practices. It familiarizes you with the technologies, products, processes, and protocols that sustain the industry. It also includes successful practices that make them more productive and efficient.
Think of technical skills as the absolute minimum requirement needed to effectively work in a dental practice. Industry familiarity allows you to speak the language of the dentist, dental technicians, orthodontists, and other dental specialists. Besides clinical skills, dental practice managers need good technical skills. Being able to learn, adapt to and operate different instruments is essential for growth in the dental industry.
Dental practice managers will also need to be tech-savvy and know how to use different solutions, like a dental marketing solution and a patient management solution to help them manage dental patient communications and relationships. In today’s digital-first environment, it’s essential that dental practice managers are comfortable and willing to embrace technology so that they can effectively do their jobs and deliver excellent patient experiences.
An inexperienced or ill-prepared staff member may heighten patient anxiety if they cannot answer questions or provide patient data. Being familiar with certain technical skills (dentistry and dental technology solutions) can streamline the entire communication process between patients and dental staff, including dental practice managers.
Developing and using soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and time management is important at all levels of a dental practice. Conceptual thinking can significantly improve dental practice managers’ understanding of their role within the practice and their own performance.
Thinking conceptually is about connecting abstract ideas to create new ones, reviewing past decisions, and deepening understanding. And this ability to reflect on past decisions to develop innovative ideas can lead to better future outcomes.
Conceptual thinkers are capable of finding and implementing creative and innovative solutions to practice challenges because they are able to link abstract ideas. And very often, dental practice managers as conceptual thinkers, find deeper satisfaction and commitment to their jobs because they understand the value that the specific work they do brings to the dental practice and the patient.
Marketing skills involve conceptual thinking, and they play a key role in patient acquisition, retention, and keeping your patients engaged and informed. You can use your conceptual skills in campaign creation, dental social media, content marketing—any activities that involve building your practice’s brand and online presence.
Tap into your creative side by watching this webinar on dental practice marketing. You’ll gain some easy tips and techniques to effectively market your practice and stay engaged with your patients.
Communication is a highly valued skill that complements both technical know-how and conceptual skills. Both patients and co-workers often respond positively to managers with strong interpersonal skills. They tend to listen better and communicate more openly when dealing with an empathetic person.
Interpersonal communication skills reflect our ability to interact and communicate with others in constructive ways. In face-to-face scenarios, the basis of interpersonal communication is the ability to listen, assist, and interact. These skills play a very important role in the day-to-day success and growth of a dental practice. Speaking slowly and politely asking questions to get clarity is important. Active listening is just as important.
They also need to have the ability to explain to patients and their relatives the treatments and procedures available for their specific cases.
Strong interpersonal communication allows dental practice managers to interact and work with others in-person and over the phone, so they can build meaningful work relationships, motivate actions, and influence productivity. It is also an effective way for developing and maintaining relationships with patients. Whether you are engaged in dialogue in-person or over the phone, giving feedback, cooperating as a team member, solving problems, contributing to meetings, or resolving conflict—dental practice managers rely heavily on interpersonal communication skills and phone skills to drive dental practice operations (and careers).
RevenueWell Phone—the all-in-one communication hub designed for dental practices—has 100+ powerful features to move your conversations forward, eliminate communication roadblocks, and help you build a better connection with patients. PMS integration drives dynamic features like Screen Pop, which delivers instant on-screen access to relevant data whenever a patient calls and allows your staff to provide fast answers, quality service, and a more personal touch.
Effective decision-making is a valuable skill in any workplace setting. As a dental practice manager, you’ll face many decisions and options throughout the workday, so your decisions need to be timely and in perspective. Dental practice managers with the ability to make well-informed decisions (through the assessment of information) will save time and money, as well as use the dental practice resources more efficiently.
Making effective decisions is a leadership trait that portrays your ability to think objectively and relates concepts to the goals of your dental practice. Your capacity to make thoughtful, timely decisions can also help establish a strong bond with your team that strengthens company culture.
At the same time, patients will also appreciate communicating with decisive managers. If nothing else, they will get to hear a decision regardless of whether it’s favorable or not. Receiving a thoughtful response can project a sense of urgency that patients will value.
For most dental practice managers, there’s at least one pesky task or project that causes stress because there isn’t an easy way to do it. For the front office team, this task is usually dental scheduling.
Scheduling dental appointments is a critical but time-consuming task. RevenueWell’s Dental Office App allows you to quickly view your schedule, check balances, text patients for reviews, and make sure patient info is all up to date.
Diagnostic and analytical skills are some of the most valued skills that dental practice managers should possess. With these, you'll be able to assess problems of all types, no matter how simple or complex they are. You will need to tap into other skill sets including critical thinking, decision-making, researching technology for the front office team such as RevenueWell’s marketing software, and researching to analyze a problem and present a solution.
Assessing a situation correctly can help avoid the fallout from hasty decisions that lacked research. Dental practice managers who show exceptional diagnostic and analytical skills prove their ability to handle the day-to-day operations of a dental practice. It bolsters the belief that big or small problems have the competent leadership required to solve them. It also provides the dental practice with management that can implement programs that can increase productivity.
Ensuring that your dental practice managers develop these five skills can help grow both the practice as well as their individual careers. Patients will always appreciate a professionally-managed dental practice that anticipates and caters to their needs. And that appreciation and satisfaction can lead to potential referrals.
In addition, dentists and staff will similarly enjoy working with well-organized and competent managers. Working with dental practice managers who are decisive, encourage active communication, and are well-versed in technical and conceptual skills will make the overall practice run smoothly. It will also foster a sense of community among the staff.
Wherever you are on your career journey, let the team see that you are committed to both the team and the practice. Surround yourself with team members who share your determination to succeed. Make your number one goal to nurture the strengths of those around you so your practice can acquire and retain more patients, increase productivity, and drive more profitability.
Schedule a consultation with RevenueWell to see how our solutions can help you feel empowered at work and drive patient production.