3 Team Tips for the New Year!

Attract More Ortho Patients with an Up-to-date Website


Many people start their search for an orthodontist online, so make a strong first impression with a fresh, up–to-date website. If your website is dated people might think your practice is too. A poor website leads to lost income opportunities, a polished website turns web traffic into patients.

Compliance Conversations         

Criticism is not the way to achieve proper brushing, flossing, or appliance compliance. Take a proactive approach when trying to motivate your patients. Try starting conversations by pointing out what the patient is doing well. Be sure to also stress the benefits of good compliance. For instance, if a patient consistently wears their elastics they are more likely to complete their treatment on time. 

Grow Your Ortho Practice in a Smart Direction

As your practice grows your expectations should too, and you can start to motivate team members to reach their full potential. Remember to always support your team, and encourage them with positive communication. Work with them to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based) goals for themselves and your practice.

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3 Fall Orthodontic Team Improvement Tips

Measure Your Marketing Dollars

Are you spending your marketing budget in the right places? If you don't know, it's time to start measuring the return on your marketing investment. Ask new patients how they heard about your office. By tracking the answers to this one simple question you can begin to determine which marketing strategies to expand, tweak, or eliminate.

How Flexible Are Your Payments?

Limited payment plans can have a negative impact on your case acceptance rate. Make it easy for your patients to say "yes" to orthodontic treatment by offering flexible payment plans that accommodates their financial needs.  

Are You Bonding With Your Patients?

Is your ortho team bonding with your patients? If not, try creating a section in each patient’s file that lists their interests/hobbies and accomplishments. Team members can then refer to this section when they need something to help break the ice with a patient. Reduce the chance of bond failure by updating the list after every appointment.

The Fortune is in the Follow-up

Does your treatment coordinator follow up with patients who don’t commit after their initial consultation? Following up with the patient or their parents after an initial consultation will increase your overall case acceptance percentage. Without proper follow up procedures you will lose prospective patients to other orthodontic practices. 

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Is the Phone a Full-time Employee at Your Office?

If it is, you could be losing referrals. Potential patients may be turned off when they reach your voicemail and contact another orthodontic practice recommended by their dentist. This can also frustrate your existing patients if they work during the day and only have a limited time to call. The solution: always have a team member ready to answer phone calls. It provides a great first impression for new patients and strengthens the relationships existing patients and referring offices. 

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Being Prepared Pays Off

Prior to introducing a new procedure or appliance, schedule a training session with the entire team to ensure everything runs smoothly. Without the proper training and preparation your staff cannot answer patients’ questions, procedures may have to be re-done, and appointments will run long. These bad patient experiences can cost you referrals and lead to poor online reviews.     

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Taking Your Ortho Practice in a SMART Direction

Daphne surveyed the owners of  successful practices in an attempt to determine common success denominators. Why were these owners successful in attracting and retaining motivated employees? What were they doing differently?

Daphne surveyed the owners of  successful practices in an attempt to determine common success denominators. Why were these owners successful in attracting and retaining motivated employees? What were they doing differently?

As an Orthodontic Practice Consultant, I’m regularly asked - by doctors and managers - for advice on a variety of issues. Most queries involve specifics on in-office training procedures and programs. However, one question that comes up again and again is “What is the secret to attracting and retaining high quality, motivated employees?” Some of them tell me that they’ve tried incentives such as bonuses, raises, spa days and even trips; but nothing seems to be working.

Being the problem solver that I am, I set out to find the answer. I began my investigation by identifying the practices with the highest records of long-term employee retention. Not surprisingly, these were also very successful practices. Next, I surveyed the owners of these practices in an attempt to determine a common denominator. Why were these owners successful in attracting and retaining motivated employees? What were they doing differently?

Why Smart Goals Motivate

Why Smart Goals Motivate

One thing that stood out was that every single one of these successful practices placed a high priority on conducting regular employee performance reviews. Could it be that simple?

Further investigation revealed that some of the practices with higher employee turnover were conducting annual performance reviews too. I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the type: forms are filled out, boxes are checked, there’s a brief discussion and - barring any major problems - the employee is given a raise. This works well for the employee, but what’s in it for the owner of the practice…besides higher overhead?

Here’s the key difference: the practices that were most successful at employee retention and motivation had incorporated a performance plan into their review process that included assigning individual goals designed to dovetail with the doctor’s practice plan. Furthermore, employees in these practices were also encouraged to participate in all aspects of the employee assessment framework; from the development of the review model, to planning and goal setting.

My survey findings revealed that when employees have individual goals, they not only strive to achieve them, but they gain a better understanding of how they contribute to the overall success of the practice. What’s more, when specific individual goals are set, employees tend to become more focused on finding ways to work smarter and more efficiently.

A well-designed employee performance review should include four basic components: an overall evaluation of how the employee has performed during the assessment period; objective and relevant feedback; goals that identify key objectives; and a plan that outlines how these objectives will be met. While all components are equally important, goal-setting is perhaps the most challenging.

The key is ensuring that the goals are SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based.

  • Specific: Specific goals define who, what, where, when and why. What will be accomplished? Which team members will be involved? What actions are required? Why is this goal important to the individual and to the practice?
  •  Measurable: How will goals be measured? What data will be used? Who will be responsible for collecting and analyzing the data?
  • Achievable: Are the goals realistic? Goals that are too easy or too difficult fail to motivate. If goals include skill development or learning new procedures, what training and learning opportunities will be offered?
  • Relevant: How do the goals relate to the individual, as well as the practice plan? What are the objectives, and will successful goal accomplishment achieve those objectives?
  • Time-based: What is the specific timeline? Is the timeline realistic? Complex goals should be broken down into steps or increments, with defined deadlines for each step.

Yes, this all takes time. But continually advertising for, interviewing, hiring, and training new employees takes time too. Assessments that include meaningful feedback and SMART goals are both productive and rewarding - for employees and employers.

As an added bonus, the data collected through regular, in-depth employee performance reviews can provide a wealth of information that will help grow the practice and allow informed decision-making on management systems, productivity, human resources, fiscal matters and patient care.

Take your practice in a smart direction by utilizing SMART goals to increase employee retention, productivity and individual commitment to the practice.

About the Author
Daphne Souch is an Orthodontic Practice Consultant. She has been involved in the specialty of orthodontics for over 30 years. Her extensive experience in the field has given her a wealth of knowledge specifically pertaining to the areas of clinical assisting, treatment coordinating and office management. She leads a team of handpicked, dedicated associates who develop and deliver first-rate training and consulting services for orthodontic practices across Canada.

Training for Non-Clinical Orthodontic Staff

Get everyone in your orthodontic practice on the same page! 

This popular course offers a defined curriculum and rich multimedia to help your non clinical staff 'speak' and understand orthodontics, confidently and competently.

Introduction to Orthodontics Course

This course is composed of 4 training modules developed for non-clinical staff to help them better understand orthodontic treatments and processes With a structured learning process, we can improve communication so that non-clinical staff better contribute your to workflow.

This training was designed for:

  • Front Desk/Receptionists
  • Office Managers
  • Financial Coordinators
  • Marketing Coordinators
  • Sterilization Technicians

Get your employees off to a great start with a clear understanding of the universal fundamentals that run your practice.