Tag Archives: tracy stuart

2nd #theApexShow Round 3 – Tracy Stuart

@ tstuart72 what is the biggest most important work during a conversion? #theapexshow

This is a very big change for the team and they need the help and support to make necessary changes. If a patient calls and asks if you are accepting NHS patients, do they just say “no we’re private” and hang up (and this happens very often) or do they use improved communication skills and scripts to provide a superior service and convert the call. They need to believe that the changes are for the better and understand why the principal has decided to convert or they may feel the change is all about the dentist making more money. Their behaviour needs to change as well as improve communication skills and customer service skills. They need to understand the importance of marketing, converting and tracking systems as it takes more than a highly skilled dentist to develop a successful practice and once you get to the top it’s even harder to stay there.  Just like losing weight, it comes off easy or so they tell me but keeping it off is where the hard work starts and your dental practice is no different. At Frank Taylor and Associates we visit over 800 practices each year and our consultants have extensive experience of developing all types of dental practices. We provide hands on practical training that works or your money back. Through our experience we know training is time consuming and that’s why we offer free training for one year to every new team member. Ask yourself are you in business or just practising??

2nd #theApexShow Round 4 – Tracy Stuart

@ tstuart72 tell us about some success stories  – which practices have converted with relative ease? #theapexhow

I have a principal dentist based in Derby that has converted 3 practices with ease and is now working on a fourth. Together we have introduced new systems, protocols and procedures for the entire team to follow. The team understand why the changes have been necessary and have been fully trained in the new systems and how to convert a new enquiry. We have changed the behaviour of certain individuals to benefit the patients practice and other team members. This has resulted in a huge increase in profit, happiness, satisfaction and a much improved experience for the patients. After all, it’s all about them, not you!

2nd #theApexShow Round 1 – Tracy Stuart

  1. tstuart72 Do you find that many practices thinking about converting to private at the moment? #theapexshow

Dentists feel secure with a NHS contract and want to keep the goodwill in their practice, however they want to be able to offer their patients the best service available and feel very restricted within the NHS. For this reason many have closed their NHS list and are offering patients options as a private patient. This may be through a payment provider or fee per item. I am kept very busy helping practices achieve their goals and future-proof their practices for whatever lies ahead.

#theApexShow 4th March 2010: Tracy Stuart – Telephone skills for a dental practice


mkritzinger Hi everyone, http://tiny.cc/welcome509 the next #theapexshow will start in 10 mins, pls join and introduce yourselves! 

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Share your LIGHTBULB moments about today’s #theapexshow on www.theapextribe.com

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Welcome to #theapexshow http://tiny.cc/welcome509 powered by Apex http://tiny.cc/5YCoO

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Our featured guest on #theapexshow is Tracy Stuart (@ftassociates) watch this intro about her http://tiny.cc/tracy78

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Hi @ftassociates thanks for your time we are thrilled to interview you on #theapexshow tonight!

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @mkritzinger it’s a pleasure #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Let’s begin round one of the questions #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger @ftassociates How should a practice telephone always be answered? #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @mkritzinger Thank the caller, give your name, tell them you can help them and listen to what they want. Smile. #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Tracy has prepared a detailed answer about this over here: http://tinyurl.com/detailed1 #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Does anyone have a question for @ftassociates on this topic? #theapexshow

Chrispresley_normal ChrisCorona @mkritzinger What kind of dental knowledge should the person answering ideally have? #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @ChrisCorona Basic knowledge of services, location and fees, job is to get patient through the door not diagnose dentistry #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger @ftassociates How do you define good telephone skills? #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @mkritzinger Excellent listening skills, smile, ability to build a relationship + understand what patient is looking for #theapexshow

Eyes_normal eyeswideshut29 @ftassociates I think it is fantastic with your phone skills, so many people forget that this is important #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Ding Ding end of round ONE #theapexshow all unanswered questions will be answered at the end 

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Round 2 @ftassociates What are the first things you train staff to do when teaching good telephone skills? #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @mkritzinger Smile, pick the telephone up, listen, relationship building and find out what the patient wants and why #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger To read Tracy’s detailed answer to this question 2 go here: http://tinyurl.com/detailed2 #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Does anyone have a question for @ftassociates on this topic? #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Ding Ding end of round TWO #theapexshow all unanswered questions will be answered at the end

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Round 3 @ftassociates How do you convert enquiries about the dental practice? Any golden rules? #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @mkritzinger Ask open ended questions and find out why they want this treatment. Listing systems means nothing to a patient #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger For a longer answer about this by Tracy, visit this link http://tinyurl.com/detailed3 #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Any questions to @ftassociates? #theapexshow

Eyes_normal eyeswideshut29 @ftassociates Aren’t you the original person who started the Treatment plan/Treatment care coordinator course? #theapexshow

Eyes_normal eyeswideshut29 @ftassociates Do you feel it benefits to do both courses together go obtain maximum team performance? #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @eyeswideshut29 all my pcc’s would have this training in my pcc training programme which is delivered over 4 months #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates #theapexshow pcc = patient care co-ordinator, should be about patient care not just collecting money

Eyes_normal eyeswideshut29 @ftassociates wow 4 months, I hear some go over a few days #theapexshow

Face2_normal sylviesturrock @mkritzinger #theapexshow – how do you remuneration for front of house team members as there are no offical qualifications and guidelines

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger @sylviesturrock Tracy @ftassociates says pay basic salary + performance bonus relating to accepted treatment plan #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Ding Ding end of round THREE #theapexshow all unanswered questions will be answered at the end

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Round 4 @ftassociates How important are tracking systems in the practice? What value can you get from them? #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @mkritzinger No computer system tracks enquiries that turn into business.Disaster not to monitor marketing activities #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Tracy has written a detailed answer about this http://tinyurl.com/detailed4 #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Ding Ding end of round FOUR #theapexshow all unanswered questions will be answered at the end

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Round 5 @ftassociates How important are good telephone skills at a dental practice? #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @mkritzinger Vital. Without these, patients will not come through the door #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @mkritzinger Any marketing activity makes the telephone ring. What a waste of money without good telephone skills #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Here is a link to read Tracy’s more detailed answer to this question here http://tinyurl.com/detailed5 #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Ding Ding end of round FIVE #theapexshow all unanswered questions will be answered at the end

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger This ends our 5 rounds of #theapexshow now there is a general Q&A for 15 mins to ask @ftassociates re telephone skills

Chrispresley_normal ChrisCorona @ftassociates How do you convince/change those members of staff in the training who are perhaps ‘difficult’! #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @ChrisCorona i find once they understand why and that they are not expected to push patients they are comfortable #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger @ftassociates How clued up about the practice should the telephone answerer be? And why? #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @mkritzinger Basic knowledge of services, location and fees, job is to get patient through the door not diagnose dentistry #theapexshow

Eyes_normal eyeswideshut29 @ftassociates I’ve heard you are the Guru with both PCC/TPC and phone skills I think I will be in touch with you shortly! #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @eyeswideshut29 thanks i don’t like to boast and hope to be in your practice soon. Stay tuned for magic word #theapexshow

Eyes_normal eyeswideshut29 @ftassociatesquite like ur attitude I will def be in touch. most people have their eyes open but they are shut, yours is not #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger @ftassociates Reception is very busy: patients in front of you and the telephone ringing – what is the best way to handle this? #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @mkritzinger The patient standing in front of you is most important & you should have a telephone system to help manage calls. #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger @ftassociates How do you deal with rude and difficult patients on the telephone? #theapexshow

Default_profile_2_normal ftassociates @mkritzinger Listen to them carefully establish why they are upset, tone & speed of voice is essential ask questions #theapexshow

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger Stay tuned the MAGIC WORD for #theapexshow REWARD given by @ftassociates very soon! http://tiny.cc/reward576

Funnyface_normal mkritzinger GONG! That’s the end of this week’s #theapexshow I hope you enjoyed it – please join us for the next one http://tiny.cc/schedule17

#theApexShow Round 5 – Tracy Stuart

#theapexshow: How important are good telephone skills at a dental practice?

Tracy Stuart: Even with modern technology including the internet, it’s the good old fashioned telephone that is the most important tool in the dental practice. Unfortunately many practices don’t realize how important telephone skills are and lose opportunities. If you have just invested some money into a marketing activity (the purpose of this being to make the telephone ring more often) you want to convert as many enquiries into business and in order to do this you need to know what has made the patient pick the telephone up.

If you join a gym, you will have a reason to do so and it’s not just to get hot and sweaty. It’s just the same if we want cosmetic surgery we decide to do something for a reason and we have a responsibility to connect with our patients and find out why they have picked up the telephone. We can then introduce our services as solutions. It is quite alarming to see how many ‘important’ receptionists don’t ask for the callers name, let alone offer them an appointment. And the first thing we tell ourselves is that the marketing isn’t working. But if your telephone is ringing the marketing is working! When was the last time you listened to how your team deals with telephone enquiries? Why not take advantage of the 5 minute challenge that Frank Taylor and Associates offer. We contact your practice as a mystery shopper and give you feedback on the skills of your team, customer service and conversion rate.

#theApexShow Round 4 – Tracy Stuart

#theapexshow: How important are tracking systems in the practice?

Tracy Stuart: Without tracking systems you have no idea how the practice is performing, what is and isn’t working and you probably will not be aware of any issues until gaps appear in the diary or patients cancel their payment plans.

Unfortunately no computer system produces a report of how many enquiries have not scheduled an appointment, so you have no idea without a tracking system how many patients you are losing each week. Scary stuff when you think of the lifetime value of each patient. If you have invested £200 in marketing and don’t track enquiries, you have no idea how successful the project has been and this could be a huge cost to the business. If you have a simple advert in the local newspaper or have invested into search engines you need tracking systems to calculate how much income these generate.

Tracking systems should also be in place for many other systems such as case acceptance percentages, recall, smile profiles, incomplete treatments and many more. Practices of mine are reporting a 400% increase in private fees within a three month period after completing the patient care co-ordinator programme.


Kate Warwick, Shrewsbury

I am the greatest sceptic when it comes to dental consultants, having had bad experiences in the past. Tracy was recommended and I reluctantly called her. I had a long session on the phone interrogating her – which did not faze her at all, before decided to work with her – still very sceptical.

We have only had 2 training days so far but are already seeing the results.

I was surprised at her approach.  It was very simple but effective, without doing the sell-sell I had expected. She got the team on board by getting them to realise that this training was for their benefit as well as mine and the practice.  She was able to guide each of us into changing our way of working to get patients what they want, not sell them what they don’t. She worked with each team member to bring out their strengths not highlight their weaknesses.  I was amazed at how the team just took to what she said. When I struggled with changing very ingrained behaviours, she helped me find different ways to talk to patients that didn’t feel wrong, even if a bit out of my comfort area.

My greatest surprise is how much effort she puts in between sessions. She has regular contact with me and individual team members, helping us and guiding us to the next phase. There have been telephone practice sessions and mentoring for any of the team that need it.

Working with Tracy is not just having training days, her walking away and us forgetting what she has taught. She really is in it to get me the practice I had hoped for.

We are getting busier. There are more new patients. We haven’t done any additional marketing so this is all down the change in the way we handle enquiries. I am doing more dentistry than I would have done, by me asking the right questions.

Anyone who wants their practice to be better than it is, whether in terms of the dentistry you do or the profit you make, I recommend to work with Tracy. Have an open mind, even to the simplest changes she suggests.

I am enjoying the business and now I now really believe I can get that practice I want.

#theApexShow Round 3 – Tracy Stuart

#theapexshow: How do you convert enquiries about the dental practice?

Tracy Stuart: The way to convert enquiries is through the use of open ended questions, professional training and use of telephone scripts. Role play is a vital part of the training and can be fun. Many of us dislike role play but it can be made fun in the right setting. Many of my practices call each other as mystery shoppers.

My practices are taught to ask questions such as:

What are you hoping to achieve from this treatment?

When did you first notice this?

What has prompted you to act now?

With these types of questions you get to the core of the problem and can introduce your services as a solution. It will take time for your team to change their behaviours and develop the confidence to ask these questions. But when they have, sit back and watch the new patients roll in. The only disadvantage can be you get too busy, but with good diary management this can be fixed.


John & Victoria Garrett, Trinity House Dental Practice,Yeovil

Tracy’s “scripts” have resulted in a 100% increase in the number of enquiries that result in new patients registering with us and also a higher treatment acceptance rate for high-end restorative treatments and this at a time when the economy itself is very bleak.  The Patient Care Co-ordinator Role is very effective and patients appreciate the chance to discuss their needs in an informal way before going into the surgery.

Tracy’s enthusiasm and ongoing support is invaluable.   Initially some of our Team needed convincing and were rather negative to some of the areas that were covered by the course; Tracy dealt with these difficult situations tactfully and professionally drawing on her extensive experience of working within the dental industry and of managing teams.

I am looking forward to our final review and then to undertaking the Practice Health Check Course.

Thank you Tracy for all your assistance and support.

#theApexShow Round 2 – Tracy Stuart

#theapexshow: What are the first things you train staff to do when teaching good telephone skills

Tracy Stuart: Once I have trained the team how to answer the telephone I concentrate on listening skills. In my experience when calling a practice and asking about a service such as tooth whitening, receptionists don’t listen, they rattle off what system(s) they have in their practice not realizing that this means nothing to the patient on the other end. I train the team to ask questions to find out what the patient really wants and provide the team with a telephone script and one script for all enquiries, concentrating on open ended questions.

Most practices would respond to a tooth whitening enquiry with ‘we offer zoom, take home kit and combination.’ The word ‘zoom’ to most is something from a batman and robin comic, take home relates to either a curry or B&Q furniture and combination, well KFC do a great combo! When the patient doesn’t book an appointment you tell yourself they were just shopping around. Are they? Or did you not do enough to engage with the patient and find out why they want this treatment. Practices are reporting huge increase in conversion rates with our patient care co-ordinator programme.


Dr Keane, Essex

We recently took over the family dental practice, and as any new principals would be, we were nervous and excited about how we were going to develop the practice. We have always attended a range of courses but wanted a high quality in-house programme designed to increase treatment acceptance.

To achieve this we worked with Tracy Stuart at Frank Taylor and Associates, which proved to be an excellent decision.

Within a short period of time we saw an increase in the type of patients and dentistry desired – this was as a direct result of the telephone script and training Tracy implemented.

We have organised the appointment book by implementing a system for scheduling our days. This ensures our days are more profitable and enjoyable. Trouble is we are busier due to the telephone scripts and improved customer service!!

Tracy gave us lots of hands on advice in all areas of our practice and we now have a much more enthusiastic and motivated team focused on achieving our goals for them and for the practice.

We have definitely seen a rise in profitability and job satisfaction for everyone; the time we spent with Tracy has had an incredible impact on both our team and us and I would recommend her course, talents and help for anyone seeking to move their practice forward and improve customer service

#theApexShow Round 1 – Tracy Stuart

#theapexshow: How should a practice telephone always be answered?

Tracy Stuart: You should aim to answer the telephone within 3-4 rings and if this can’t happen for any reason you should have a telephone system that gives the patient a choice of holding on and listening to information about the practice or the choice of leaving a message. Apart from an engaged tone you will irritate patients by picking up the telephone and putting them on hold. Comments taken from surveys from patients that I have conducted include: ‘why pick the telephone up if you can’t speak to me’. Think of how you feel when it happens to you.

Once the telephone is answered the caller should hear a smile and believe me you can. When I managed practices, I put a mirror on the front desk until I could hear that smile consistently. You should have a greeting such as thank you for calling Frank Taylor and Associates, my name is Tracy and I can help you’. To some of you this will feel uncomfortable but change is uncomfortable and there should be no reason why you can’t help a patient. Listening skills are also a very important part of answering the telephone as you need to listen to what the patient wants in order to find a solution. Remember people buy from people they like and patients buy solutions, not treatment.

Testimonial -

Rod Ingham, Southern Dental Group,Crawley

  • This course proved to me that even after 28 years in dentistry there are still many things to learn. This is particularly true when it comes to dealing with people.
  • One vital aspect of this programme is the need to listen to patients and find out what they want. No longer is it totally up to the dentist to decide and dictate what a patient can and cannot have. Previously, a dentist would just say “you need three fillings and a crown today”. It is essential to listen to what the patients have to say. Of course the dentist must explain what problems a patient has with their mouth and can discuss the various treatment plans. However, unless the patient understands the benefits of the treatments to themselves personally, they will not accept them or value them. Nor will they be able to make an informed decision.
  • Questions such as “How is this concerning you?” and “ what has prompted you to seek treatment?” can help a dentist assess the wants and needs of a patient. This makes it much easier to relate to the patient and talk to them on their own wavelength. Patients are then more likely to listen to the dentist’s ideas and suggestions, and of course, are then more likely to go ahead with treatment.
  • Never pre-judge a patient. It does not matter what age, background or financial position a patient is in. If they want treatment and understand it’s of value to them, they will find a way to obtain it (possibly with patient finance). Older patients are becoming more dentally aware. No longer is there a general expectation to loose all teeth and wear dentures. We all want to look younger!
  • Patients are our most important assets. We must look after them from the moment they first contact the practice. Their whole experience at the practice must be made into a positive and, hopefully even a pleasurable, event.
  • The programme has helped us to focus the team’s attitude towards relating to the patients desires and wants.