Dental Practice Office Manager: Top Skills To Look for When Interviewing Your Next Hire

A dental practice office manager plays a crucial role in overseeing the dental clinic. Here's a list of the top skills you should look for when hiring one.

A dental practitioner with a steady flow of patients rarely has enough time to handle day-to-day admin tasks. Therefore, having a dental practice office manager with a well-rounded skillset can save you unnecessary headaches. An office manager helps you concentrate on your work without worrying about daily repetitive routines needed to facilitate patient care.

Important duties that dental practice office managers take care of include:

  • Keeping files and databases
  • Booking dental appointments and meetings
  • Organizing events
  • Ordering furniture and stationery
  • Deal with queries, complaints, and correspondences
  • Preparing reports and letters
  • Managing the office budget
  • Ensuring that the health and safety policies are up to date
  • Handling marketing activities
  • Using software packages that streamline patient communication

Looking at the list above, it’s clear that having an office manager can be a huge relief, especially for solo dentists. When business is booming and patients are streaming into the office for checkups, dentists simply do not have the time to spend on administrative tasks. An office manager can help organize and clear schedules to prioritize the patients making it easier for dentists to provide the best oral care.

Here are some of the essential skills you should look for when hiring a dental practice office manager.

Management and Conflict Resolution Skills

dental practice office manager skills

As a practitioner, you want the most qualified office managers working for you. They should have excellent dental practice management, communication, and administrative skills.

Office administration requires that all systems are maintained and records updated. Ideally, this means that file processing and record updating are handled while you attend to patients which keeps everything up to date and running smoothly. An office manager is also responsible for spending and budget management. You only need to provide targets for the dental practice office manager to hit and leave the rest to them.

That said, every successful office manager must possess several essential skills, including time management, multi-tasking, organization, and information processing. Luckily, software tools such as RevenueWell ensure that the manager can easily automate most information processing.

Additionally, a dental practice office manager needs excellent communication skills since most of the duties they will be performing require a verbal or written exchange of information with professionals, suppliers, patients, and the dentist. Inevitably, such interactions are likely to lead to disagreements or minor conflicts from time to time. Therefore, the office manager should be well-versed in conflict resolution skills.

Office managers can follow a few tips to ensure that their communication is effective. As a practitioner, you want to hire managers who possess such skills:

  • Have a learning attitude
  • Overcommunicates to eliminate doubt
  • Asks for regular feedback
  • Summarizes points routinely
  • Adjusts their communication style to fit the audience

The above list shows that the office manager should also be quick to think on their feet, especially when problems arise in the office. For example, the dental practice office manager should be capable of developing solutions for any management issues.

Also, they should propose solutions that address patient relationships and team conflicts in situations where the facility has several teams. As a practitioner, you should remember that there are times when you won't be in a position to address all patient concerns. You want a dental practice office manager that successfully deals with such issues.

While experience is vital, you should consider hiring a dental practice office manager with an associate degree in office management. Such individuals are likely to be well-versed in formal dental billing codes, information systems, bookkeeping, safety, and basic medical terminology.

Organizational Skills

Aside from management skills, you should look for a candidate that has excellent organizational skills when recruiting a dental practice office manager. Strong organizational skills help a company or facility run smoothly and efficiently. It boosts productivity and allows every participant to meet their goals.

Your candidate should possess the following organizational skills:

  • Documentation skills for dental huddles
  • Excellent paper, email, and digital filing
  • Systematic record-keeping
  • Orderliness in the office

A dental practice office manager should also be capable of handling basic social, organizational tasks. The following skills indicate great reasoning and organizational skills:

  • Analytical skills for handling challenges
  • Collaboration with others
  • Communication with superiors and subordinates
  • Office and schedule planning
  • Time management by prioritizing patient care

Also, when hiring a dental practice office manager, ensure that they are familiar with the information management systems and billing codes used in dental practice. Part of the manager's job will be entering dental billing codes quickly as patients check in and out of the office.

While software tools help managers with information management, you want an employee with some experience in the field. Candidates willing to learn should also be considered since RevenueWell is designed to be easy to use. A diligent user can easily pick up most of the skills required to utilize the tool in no time.

Financial and Technical Skill Requirements for a Dental Practice Office Manager

To complement the management and organizational skills, dental practice office managers should possess financial and technical prowess.

Financial skills help ensure the dental practice meets its budgetary obligations while remaining profitable. On the other hand, technical skills are necessary since they determine service quality for patients.

Technical office management duties require a large chunk of time and cannot be handled by the practitioner. They include the following competencies:

  • Administrative skills to keep everything running
  • Communication skills to liaise with the different parties
  • Organizational skills to boost efficiency and reduce waste
  • Problem-solving skills to deal with challenges and conflicts
  • Self-assurance helps boost one's confidence

The lack of managers with the above skills explains why most businesses don’t perform well. In addition, poor management of finances has been associated with the fall of many small and big businesses. As a dental practitioner, you want a dental practice office manager competent with finances since it can make or break your practice.

Some of the critical financial skills you should assess in your candidates include:

  • Accounting and a strong comprehension of the associated regulations
  • Analytical thinking to come up with insightful responses
  • Technical skills to use modern solutions such as RevenueWell for office management

The technical and financial skills of your dental practice office manager will determine whether you have to review the records every few days or not. Naturally, you want a candidate whose work is professional so that you can focus on taking care of patients. An employee whose work needs no supervision will save you lots of headaches while maximizing productivity.

Once you’ve checked the qualifications of the prospective dental practice office manager, you’ll need to consider whether you have the right dental office management solutions for the office manager to use.

Digital Marketing Skills

digital marketing skills

Your dental practice office manager needs to have some basic digital marketing skills since patient acquisition and retention are part of their responsibilities. An important thing to remember is that your office manager doesn't have to be a marketing expert. However, some fundamental skills will go a long way in increasing your office's ability to attract and keep patients.

Some of the digital marketing skills an office manager should possess include:

Dental SEO is a key component in boosting your online presence to bring new patients to your practice. An optimized dental website with targeted keywords, relevant content, and user-friendly navigation will help you appear further up in the search pages.

Another digital marketing skill is social media management. The popularity of social media can be attributed to the world's reliance on smartphone apps for communication, sharing news, and content consumption. Your dental office manager should embrace websites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. They should learn all the tricks and tips that businesses use to grow on social media.

Audience building helps to attract ideal patients and keep their attention using digital tools such as social media and email. The dental office manager should learn how to understand your patient's needs, create and publish appealing content, and engage the patients continuously on social media and via email marketing. The skills required to learn basic patient engagement can easily be picked up by watching YouTube tutorials.

Data analysis has become a critical part of digital marketing. Your dental practice office manager should learn how to analyze traffic to the business's website and social media channels. They should have some basic skills in analyzing and reporting on Google Analytics. Some of the most important information that can be extracted from such analysis include interactions, lead generation, bounce, and conversion rates.

Leveraging marketing and communication technology is another piece of the digital marketing skillset. Whether your practice has an existing marketing solution or not, it’s important for your office manager to be open to utilizing one and learning how to get the most out of the technology. A willingness to learn is the center of having a digital marketing skillset. Your office manager doesn’t need to have all these skills in order to successfully market your practice. It starts with an open mind.

Depending on your practice size, goals, and budget, you can also outsource some of these digital marketing activities to an agency that serves as an extension of your team. You don’t have to do everything in-house and having an office manager who recognizes when it’s necessary to lean on outside help will benefit your practice.

The Right Tools for the Dental Practice Office Manager

Hiring the right dental practice office manager will determine whether your dentistry practice thrives or not. A competent office manager should be skilled in management, conflict resolution, organization, financial, and technical skills.

They should be ready to embrace and learn time-saving management tools.

Choosing the right office management software can offer great assistance for the dental practice office manager in their daily operations. It saves time, boosts efficiency, and allows managers to enjoy their work.

RevenueWell checks all the boxes of a helpful practice management tool, including simplifying communication, helping to create meaningful bonds with patients, empowering the staff, and keeping information safe and secure.

Schedule your demo today!