3 Important Skills to Consider When Hiring a Dental Coordinator


I like to think of the treatment coordinator, or TC, as the “closest” to treatment, because the person’s role is to ensure that prescribed treatments are followed by patients. As specialists in their field, dentists may feel more comfortable hiring someone with a lot of clinical knowledge for the TC position. Although they may believe that someone familiar with the clinical details is the best person for the job, this is usually not the case.

A TC’s priorities should be scheduling the prescribed treatment, coordinating with other practices and referring physicians if necessary, and collecting money from patients. If the TC starts answering too many clinical questions without the doctor, patients may receive the wrong answers. While it is acceptable and common for the TC to explain a physician’s treatment plan to the patient, if a patient has persistent questions that are specific or technical, the physician should answer them.

I understand that it is a challenge for physicians and practice owners to hire new employees, especially when there are long-term employees who may want certain roles. I’m all about loyalty and providing more opportunities for team members. But if it’s not the right person, no one will be happy with the new person in the role.

However, if the person has some of the qualities of a good TC but just needs a little training, it is worth more than the practice owner’s time and energy to test the person. We all know how long it takes to find and train new people. Whether training an existing employee or onboarding a new hire, consider these attributes as important indicators of the person’s success.

The 3 main elements to consider when recruiting for the position of TC

1. Friendliness

People in general should like this person. Hiring someone with a natural likeability can be difficult, but it’s a very important factor in the hiring process. Loving someone is the first step to a good relationship, whatever it may be. When patients like someone, they are more likely to trust them, listen to what they have to say, accept and pay for their treatment.

People with a strong affinity are generally happy and smile a lot, have a positive attitude and have a genuine and sincere energy. When these are strong traits in a person, that person is likely a good bet for the TC position.

2. Communication skills

Communication is the key to success and growth in any relationship. If your patients aren’t engaged in a conversation about their treatment, the relationship can quickly fizzle out. Once the physician introduces a new treatment to a patient, the engagement process should begin at that time. In the event that the patient needs time to think about it or talk it over with their family, there must be a clear and direct agreement on what will happen next, or more specifically, when and how the follow-up will take place. This implies a high level of organization.

• Define a method, preferably the phone. Do not mention emails or texts for the initial follow-up. Selling treatment via email or text message is not as effective.
• Set a day and time, no more than three to five days after the meeting. Longer, emotions will subside and people will not feel that the suggested treatment is a priority.
• During the call, set expectations. Hopefully there will be a decision based on the treatment the doctor presented.

3. Ability to Close the Deal

Does the TC have the tools to close the deal? The TC must be comfortable asking for money and must have an innate ability to close the sale of the treatment. However, no matter how skilled the person is, they still need certain things from the doctor.

• Autonomy-The TC must have the authority to terminate treatment without having to return to the doctor for approval. The TC must know all the payment options as well as what they can sell. The last thing we want to do is delay the patient in the middle of their excitement about the pending treatment. Time is an important factor for everyone.

• Storyboarding and role-playing—Like most things in life, practice is the key to success. Implementing TC or role-playing success in various situations will create a more confident approach when talking to patients during closing.

• Explain value and deal with objections—The TC must understand the value of the practice’s services and be able to discuss them with patients in terms they understand. The TC should know about other dentists and specialists in the area and what they offer. With this knowledge, the TC can collaborate and decide how to handle patient questions and objections.

TCs are extremely valuable assets to the dental practice. Although they are obviously useful for patient relations and time management, they are essential at the end of treatment in order to generate the income the dental practice needs to sustain itself and, more importantly, to grow. !

Maggie McCafferty is a sales and marketing veteran with eight years of dental experience. She runs a marketing consulting and coaching company called Magnetic, where she trains practices on internal and external marketing strategies and effectiveness while generating more patients and production dollars for the practice. For more information send an e-mail [email protected] or visit coachmagnetic.com.

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