Dental Staffing

5 Must-Have Qualities of a Dental Office Appointment Scheduler

A Dental office that consistently runs smooth and on time is priceless. Therefore, having a reliable and professional Dental Office Appointment Scheduler can make or break everyone’s day. Finding someone who can run your office schedule -- and do it well -- will save you hours of headache. I’ve been taking notes over the years, and have compiled a list of what I believe are the most important qualities of successful Appointment Schedulers. 

1. Time Management and Prioritization

In my experience, the most frustrating habit of the Dental Team Appointment Scheduler is when they simply plug holes in the schedule. They do this without a thought for anything else that may be happening in the Dental Hygiene schedule, the Associate Dentist’s schedule or the work that needs attending to in the lab.

The hands-down most important quality of the person who is running the schedule in your Dental Practice is time management. It's critical that your Scheduler can determine which tasks are time sensitive, which need to be prioritized and what is happening in the remainder of the schedule. An ineffective or unorganized Scheduler will cause added stress to your workplace if he or she doesn't understand the best way to allocate time for the patient needs, as well as the needs of the patients.

2. An Understanding of Dental Procedures and Available Equipment

Ideally, I believe a Dental Appointment Scheduler should have a relatively strong understanding of patient procedures, how long each procedure could take and the equipment available to complete the procedure. A great Dental Appointment Scheduler can skillfully appoint patients to meet the production goals for the day, week and month, all while being cognizant of all provider schedules in the office.

For example: If a Dental Office has two Dentists, and they’ve both diagnosed a root canal treatment, the Scheduler needs to know that there is available equipment for each Dentist if they are to schedule the patients at the same time. Or say there are two Dental Hygienists who both need the laser for root planning. Obviously these two patients cannot be appointed at the same time. Understanding of office procedures and equipment availability can eliminate chaos and the discouraged chore of rescheduling patients.

3. Flexibility and Openness to Learning

Life rarely goes exactly according to plan, and a Dental Office is no different. There will always be times when issues arise, such as dental emergencies, scheduling conflicts, technology glitches, etc. When seeking out the ideal Appointment Scheduler, it's important to look for someone who is willing and eager to continuously learn, flexible enough to roll with the punches and most importantly: keep their cool.

There will always be new patients, technological upgrades, and systems to improve. An ideal Appointment Scheduler is flexible, can diffuse tension, manage schedule conflicts, and sort out technological issues without the need to be micromanaged. Remember, you're hiring an Appointment Scheduler to create the ideal schedule according to your needs!

4. Initiative for social media and Patient Communication

We live in a digital world where communication includes marketing, showcasing our Dental Practices, where patients can write reviews and much more. Your Dental Practice should make use of tools social media provides and leverage them for developing relationships with your patients. Ideally, finding someone who is familiar with social media and comfortable taking initiative for managing your social media. Although it is not necessary, digital customer communication can be an incredibly valuable to your Dental Practice image.

Ways in which your Scheduler might communicate with current and future patients over the phone and online:

  • Social media photos to showcase your office and explain the services you provide, especially if you’re doing services that go beyond what is provided in most offices: IV Sedation, Botox.
  • Social media to showcase before and after photos of your best smile cases
  • Responses to positive reviews such as “Thank you for taking the time to share your experience!”
  • Email, phone, or social media promotions for your special services.

5. A Great Attitude!

A positive and proactive personality. Ok, these are three great qualities you want for your entire Team, but the person up-front and answering the phone cannot be an unhappy introvert! The best Appointment Schedulers will be able to build and maintain happy relationships, not only with your patients, but the entire Dental Team.

When a patient presents, they can remember how many kids they have, their husband’s occupation and their Mother’s name. They remember a coworker’s birthday; they recognize a job well done as well as when a member on the Dental Team needs help.

When there’s an opening in the schedule, they know just who to give a priority call. Appointment Schedulers are the mediators between the patients and providers; they play a huge role in maintaining a positive office environment. Finding someone who wants the best for your practice and the entire Dental Team, will create a harmony that gives your staff a positive and stress-free work environment, and leave you with happy, paying patients walking out your door.

Ultimately, you're looking for a happy, positive, individual who can accomplish several chores at the same time; someone who can help streamline your schedule, boost practice productivity, and raise your revenues, all with a smile on their face. There’s a lot of multitasking necessary with your administrative team! You should seek out these five must-have qualities; these employees will help your Dental Practice run smoothly, alleviate stress, cultivate a welcome presence, and give your patients an incredible experience. 

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"Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude."
- Ralph Marston