A TCO is an investment but so worth it! However, it is important to find the right person for the role. Not every receptionist or dental nurse is suitable, although they may think so.
As a dental business owner or a dentist, the first step is to have the right mindset, as you will have to let someone else to do part of what you used to do. Bearing in mind that most dentists prefer to be in complete control, this sounds really hard, but it doesn't need to be. Dentists are trained to do dentistry so why not concentrate on what you know best and let someone else do the selling, money talking, relationship building, letter preparation, follow-ups, consultations, photos, reporting, marketing, making sure consents are signed and a whole lot more? How much time do you think you are going to save by just not doing any of these?
The second step is to choose how you will use a TCO in your practice. This depends on the type of practice, the size of the team, the volume of new patient traffic; how much marketing you do; what your skills are and a great deal more.
The third step is to think where the TCO might work from? If you have space for a consultation room - that's great, but not every practice has. What then? A TCO working from reception is not ideal, unless you don't have many patients each day. The TCO needs as much privacy as possible.
The fourth step is decide whether to train an existing staff member, or to employ someone from the outside? Think of the advantages and the disadvantages of both options..
The last step is implementation of the TCO role within your practice. You may find yourself in a difficult position if this process is not done correctly. Some of your team may not agree, some may leave, some may not like the changes - and it always takes time. You need to communicate the vision to your team, making everyone feel part of the process with valued opinions.
It is indeed a big step but very important to find a person with the right background and set of skills. Most of these people don't use job adverts, so it takes a lot of effort to find the right person and then shape them to fit your vision. But once this is done- you will see why it was worth it. Profits will increase dramatically, customer service and patient satisfaction will improve; pressure from the front desk will reduce; and your associates will have many more happy patients. For many, a TCO will be like having a PA that saves everyone a lot of time; also saving money, as everyone can be busy treating patients, instead of doing paperwork and free consultations.
A great TCO quickly covers their costs but most importantly also increases profits for the practice.
Can you afford to have a TCO? Absolutely! You cannot afford to not have one.