How Many Staff Members Do You Really Need?

How many do you need?

It’s a great question.

How many is enough?

How many should you really have?

How many is too many?

How many do you need?

We’re talking about your dental office. We’re talking about your team…

It’s the life long question, like “How long is a piece of string?”

How many staff/team members do you need?

Let’s look at it this way….

How many team members would you have if staff were free? If *you* didn’t have to pay them, how many would you have to run your office in the best manner you could, the most efficient and productive manner possible?

Well that’s easy then. You’d have as many as you could get, wouldn’t you? Well at least to the point that they were all productive. And not destructive?

So how many is that really?

Let’s say you are a one-chair office, how many team members do you need?

One dental assistant and one person at the front desk? But what about an extra set of hands down the back? A steri-nurse to run interference? What about fourhanded dentistry? As well?

That sounds great! Two extra pairs of hands and the ability to run communication to the front office when needed?

Does that seem excessive for a one-chair dental office?

What about out the front? Can one person look after everything all at one time?

Can your front office person do all this at once? Can they check out a patient and answer an incoming phone enquiry from a new patient at the same time? And give it one hundred percent? And then the next patient arrives for their appointment; can your front office person greet them and welcome them comfortably to the practice, while still be checking out and answering the phone, all at the same time? And then the lab calls? Or a hawker calls? Or the Doc needs to discuss a treatment plan or payment options down in the treatment room?

I’d say definitely at the front at least two people are needed to run just the administration of the office. And then I’d add a concierge role as well….

So that’s three up front and three down the back?

And you think I’m kidding?

Just imagine, as I said, imagine how smoothly your dental office would run with six team members for this one doctor?

Yet so many Docs try to get by with only one team member performing all these roles. It’s kind of like the one-man orchestra? The one-man musician. The one-man band!!

Can you imagine how smoothly your dental office will run with all these extra and additional pairs of hands? Can you imagine how pleasant your work day will become, when everything is there at your fingertips and all tasks are performed with complete autonomy and no interruption?

Can you imagine what your clients and customers will think of their dental experience in such a well-run office?

DO you think for an instance they will tell their friends and family about the efficient and friendly and caring staff at your dental office and how it was like no other dental experience they’d ever had before?

Can you imagine your new patients saying how different their initial visit to your office was, and they’d not yet met the dentist yet?

It’s interesting, because as dentists, there is an inordinate amount of wasted time we burn through each day while we wait for something or someone, just because we are inadequately staffed.

And I don’t need to tell you about time. Time is such a precious commodity. Once it’s gone it’s gone forever. For both you, and for your patient.

And time is the one constant we all have as a constant. In equal proportions. We all have the same amount of time.

So why waste it? Why waste a precious second of it?

Why indeed? I can’t believe how many Docs out there just sit there and allow their valuable time to be wasted away. Wasted!

You see, manning your dental office with the correct amount of team members will save you time. It will stop you wasting time. It will make you more efficient at your practice of dentistry, allowing you to perform more procedures in a shorter amount of time.

This improves practice productivity. This improves your top line immediately.

Shortening your procedure time also improves your client or patient comfort as well. It means less time in the chair. Less time for them with their mouth open, and that’s got to be a plus or pluses all round, hasn’t it?

So why don’t we do it? Why don’t we man our dental office efficiently?

I think the number one reason is small thinking. I believe nearly all dentists look on staff as a cost to their dental office. To me that’s putting staff on the wrong side of the ledger. Rather, I believe dentists should look at staff as an asset to their dental practice. The additional staff [well additional from the perceived “norm”] will only add to improve the productivity of the dental office.

How much, I hear you say? How much improvement to the productivity?

Well, we’ll discuss that, and much more, in next Friday’s blog.


There are many straight forward and easy to implement  protocols and procedures that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple to build system I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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