The Director of First Impressions with Brenda McNulty

Brenda McNulty

Brenda’s expertise is helping teams work smarter not harder by simplifying the everyday tasks that occur in dental practices. She creates increased profitability by establishing systems for practices that focus on the talents of each team member.

Request Brenda’s free tip sheet and verbal scripts at:

Dayna Johnson  0:08 

We are super excited you have found Novonee on the Go, the Premier Dentrix communities free podcast.

Dayna Johnson  0:14 

I’m Dayna Johnson, the founder of Novonee, and my goal is to give you about 15 minutes of juicy content to take back to your practice and help your team have a more productive and less stressful day. Enjoy.

Dayna Johnson  0:28 

Alright, welcome everyone to Novonee on the Go the dental podcast for Dentrix users. And we are still in second quarter talking a lot about bringing on new employees. We’ve talked about job descriptions. We’ve talked about all kinds of topics relating to keeping your schedule full and your continuing care. So, we are diving in with a special guest today and I am super excited about the interview that we’re doing today. Brenda McNulty is the Dental Group Director for SupportDDS and Brenda and I have known each other in the dental space for several years. We both live in Colorado, so we share the love of being outdoors. And we were just before we came on online this morning, we were just talking about our weekend and how nice the weather was. And, and you know, we were both cleaning up after a big rainstorm we had last week. But we both got out in our yard this morning or this weekend and I planted a bunch of flowers and Brenda worked in her yard. And so, we share the love of outdoors. We also share the love of being in dentistry. Brenda has been in dentistry for over 30 years just like me. And so, I would like to have Brenda come on. Just say a couple words. Say hi to our, our audience this morning, Brenda, and then we’ll dive into the amazing topic that you have for us today.

Brenda McNulty  2:14 

Great, thank you so much. Good morning, everyone. I’m delighted to be on this podcast. I mean, Dayna, you have been my friend for so long. And I finally get invited on the podcast. So, I’m super excited that it’s great topics. And I know that your audience is very blessed to have you as support in their life for Dentrix. And all things Dental. This is gonna be fun. Yeah, awesome.

Dayna Johnson  2:41 

So Brenda, was the speaker at our local AADOM chapter a couple of weeks ago. And one of the things that Brenda talked a lot about during the topic at the AADOM chapter was the director of first impression. And if you don’t know what the director of first impression is, I’ll just give you a quick little scenario, and then Brenda will take over from there. But it’s definitely going to be the person. You know, like, like the first person that you’re a new patient would experience whether it’s on the phone, or whether it’s in an email or, and so this person is you know, that you always say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. And, and, and Brenda’s going to talk a little bit about why this person in your practice is so important. So, Brenda, why don’t you just start off by telling us a little bit about like, what is the director of first impression?

Brenda McNulty  3:48 

Thank you. Yes, the director of first impressions is what you want your office to be. But you’re not. Meaning that new patient phone call just wows, people brings them in, it’s almost like you know, they grab the bait, all of that marketing dollars that you have spent. And if they don’t leave that perfect first impressions for that new patient, you could lose them. So it’s exact rep, your representation of what you want your office to be. As you know, Dayna, studies have shown so many studies, that within the first three minutes of speaking to somebody in your office, that patient’s going to decide whether they’re going to accept the treatment from the doctor or not. From the person answering the telephone. They haven’t even met the doctor yet. And we know 36% Of all calls into a dental office go unanswered. And you shared a new stat with me, which was a 60% What was that one? 60%? Yeah. What was there something?

Dayna Johnson  4:55 

Yeah, 60% of patients are booking appointments after hours. Oh, yeah, and all votes, all vote calls are getting missed all those calls are getting unanswered because the office was closed.

Brenda McNulty  5:11 

And do you know how many people in your office right now patients that walk in the door, get the finger from the person working the front desk, they’re holding up one finger, like one minute, hang on a second, I’m on the phone. And who was that benefiting? It’s not benefiting your patient walking in the office. And it’s certainly not benefiting the person that you’re speaking to on the phone to be distracted. So it was definitely in need in every practice.

Dayna Johnson  5:41 

Yeah, I remember when I was in my own practice, and I would wear a headset. And I, I always had to, like, I would always like point to my headset, or cap my headset to let everybody know that I was on the phone with somebody. And it’s so true, you know, we are we’re busier than ever. And we have gotten, I feel that we’ve gotten to a place where we have gotten away from identifying our team members, like primary role in the office, like, what are you really responsible for? And I love that you’re talking about this director of first impressions, because it’s such an important role in the practice. And, and we lose, we lose touch with that, because I feel like offices have gotten so busy that they’ve gotten away from, you know, kind of what’s important. So tell me, yeah, so, yeah. So tell me, Brenda. So if if an office was going to be looking for this role in their practice, I consider like how this we really need this person, because we really don’t have someone that is that first light into our practice, what would somebody what would an office be looking for, in this, this person that they’d be looking to hire?

Brenda McNulty  7:06 

Well, the first thing I would say that you look for is somebody outside of your office, I don’t think that your team is able to be able to juggle everything perfectly. They can do anything, but they can’t do everything. And we’ve also found that unsure, you know, no matter how many SOPs or scripts you put in front of somebody, they tend to go on the wayside, and they do things their way. So if you hire somebody outside of the office, there’s less sound that you have to deal with the less interactions of other people walking up to them asking them question talking here on the telephone, and they can be dedicated to doing your systems your way right from the very beginning. So that’d be the first thing. And the next would be to find the right personality, you have to find somebody that is not Motel Six, quality, and Ritz Carlton quality, somebody who’s right draws you in. And it just makes you want to talk to them. And it’s not a job for them. It is a success story every single time that they get somebody to schedule, so perky up be easy to understand, and somebody who represents your brand. Those are the two things that you look for somebody outside and somebody with all of those wonderful qualities.

Dayna Johnson  8:33 

Yeah, I think it’s important that they do speak the language of the practice, you know, really understanding, you know, what the voice is the, the qualities and the culture of the practice. And, and it’s really important that we learn that this person is on boarded, you know, so that they can really represent the practice because what you’re doing with that first call, or that first email or that, that first impression, whether you know, whatever kind of contact it is, is you’re building the relationship with the patient. And, you know, if you’re not, you know, you’re not diving into their insurance benefits and things like that. You really want to build a relationship with the patient and what’s important to them because patients will schedule and patients will by consumers buy based on how you make them feel. And that’s one of the most important jobs I think with that. With that first impression is how do you how are you going to make that patient feel?

Brenda McNulty  9:41 

And how are you going to stand out? I mean, the competition is on every street corner. I absolutely love to do new patients secret shopper call, and I’ll allow you patients and I’ll just get a yes we are. And nothing else when our team is taught to say absolutely Lully let me be the first to welcome you to ABC Dental, where we provide quality dentistry in a comfortable atmosphere. May I ask what inspired you to contact us today? So different type of conversation? It represent on the brain?

Dayna Johnson  10:18 

Yeah, exactly. I hear that I love the word and fire. What inspired you to call us today? I love that.

Brenda McNulty  10:25 

And it’s open ended. So you get everything from? I’ve got a toothache to my friend Sally referred me to your office. Everything comes out with an open ended question.

Dayna Johnson  10:39 

Yes, Agreed. Agreed. So what do you think if, if an officer has thinks that they found the right person for their practice to fill this role? How do you set them up for success? You know, like, what do you feel there’s is there like a step by step guide that you would walk them through? How would you set this person up for success so that they really represent your practice?

Brenda McNulty  11:10 

Well, obviously, making them jump off of the high dive diving board into deep water is not a good idea. We need to let them know be a transformational leader and show them the end result. The end result is we want a happy patient who refers other happy patients who accepts their treatment, and who pays for their treatment? How do we get there? And we talk about what’s a good experience? And what’s a bad experience? What do we need to be successful in this particular role? So have these open ended questions? I don’t like to just tell people what to do, I really want to make sure that they understand that we’re in this together. So let’s talk about it. Let’s listen to somebody else who’s been very successful. Let’s practice on each other. And let’s record these phone calls to make sure doesn’t sound scripted to make sure that they are building the relationship, and that they can critique themselves to grow. I think that that is really important. And then obviously metrics. I’m a huge KPI girl. So I go back. And if I did not accept a treatment plan, I want to go all the way back to the beginning. Who did they speak to? How long was that phone conversation? What were their expectations? Did we even get that? And did we live up to them? So tracking all of those matrixes is also really important. I love a good script. I really love a good, but I wasted on it.

Dayna Johnson  12:42 

I was just gonna ask you that. I was just Yeah, yeah, you were reading my mind. I was just going to ask you how you felt about grip.

Brenda McNulty  12:50 

I love them. But they better not sound scripted. So for me, it’s more bullet points. Like what inspired you? That’s a question, but it doesn’t have to be what inspired you to contact us today? It should be Oh, thank you for calling. You know, we’re really excited. So tell me a little bit about yourself, what inspired you to contact us? You know, I really want that tone of voice going up and down. I really want them to relate to the patient if they said they just moved here from Michigan say, Oh, really? I’ve never been to Michigan. Tell me about that place. Or tell me what brought you to Colorado. You know, there’s outside things other than dentistry that people need to attach with. But I think even more important than that, is having that person that answers that phone, understand the personality style of the person they’re speaking to, if they’ve got something very direct, asking them how the weather is where they are, is going to annoy them. So we need to have them understand the different personalities, styles and speak to that. Yeah, I agree. I agree. Not an easy role. It’s not an easy role, but it can be extremely successful with the right individuals in that spot.

Dayna Johnson  14:04 

Agreed. Agreed. Yeah, I was thinking when we were talking about scripts, you know, every team does love to do role playing right. You know, it’s like that is like that’s the biggest taboo word and in in team meetings is oh, we’re going to do some role playing today. But I do think that it is important that they read over those scripts and really get familiar with how to use them. And because you don’t want to sound like a robot you know, you want to you want to build in your personality into the conversation. And it’s all about building that relationship with your patient. And having that because you want to have the conversation branded in the voice of the practice, you know, it has to relate to the culture of the practice for sure.

Brenda McNulty  14:59 

You So I want to set that doctor up for success. Because one of the questions that we tell our team members to ask is, okay, so what are your expectations of us as your new dental home? And like that, they reply, and they go, geez, nobody’s know, nobody’s ever asked me that before. And that allows me to say, we’re not like other practices, your expectations of us are very important. And by doing that, I have learned that not all patients should be coming through your door. I have had answers such as I expect you to take my insurances payment in full no matter what it is I have done because my last office did that. Well, now’s our vacation time, I expect all of my work to be done that same day. You know, when I come in, I want everything done. Well, we’re not a good fit for everybody. And I think that’s important to recognize. And you get the opportunity to educate that patient over the phone on how you’re going to do business. No, you cannot come into our practice, have $10,000 worth of dental treatment done, and pay $10 a month. Thank you.

Dayna Johnson  16:15 

Yeah, I agree, I agree with you. It is it is not only building a relationship, but it’s also setting those expectations. Because, you know, when I go into offices, and we’re, we’re working on verbal skills, or we’re working on, on system, I always say, you know, you’re training their behavior, and you’re training your patients how you want them to treat you. And so that’s really important that you do set those expectations. Even if those conversations might be a little hard, you know, it’s it’s hard to say no to a patient and because doctors want, you know, to fill their cares, but you have to fill your cares with the right with the right people. Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. So I know, there might be some people listening in, and they’re like, you know, we just we’ve had so much trouble hiring in other areas, like we can’t even find an insurance coordinator. How do we how are we going to find a director of first impression? Or, you know, we don’t want just an answering service to answer our after hours calls, we really want somebody that’s like an extension of our practice. And, you know, they might be having a hard time finding a person to be in office. What kinds of other options are there because I know you’re, you’re, you’re your company support, DDS is an option for them. You know, tell us a little bit about how support DDS works and how it could benefit our practices.

Brenda McNulty  17:56 

Absolutely. So, you know, Dayna, you and I, both we do consulting, and all of my clients are saying, I can’t either hire people because there’s nobody walking in the door. There’s nobody even showing up to interviews, or I can’t afford to hire somebody. Now because somebody fresh out of high school is asking for $25 an hour. So that’s how I found support DDS to begin with, is many of my clients were looking to outsource and I am not a huge fan of outsourcing. Definitely not. But I am a fan of insourcing. And there’s a difference. So my company that I work with support, DDS does insourcing, which means you get to pick a team member, that team member works for you, and only you. They do things your way. And they are your team member. We handle all the payroll, we handle all the recruitment, and they come to our secured facility to work. So nobody works from home. So you get the most best of both worlds. They’re your team member, but at a flat rate. And then we take care of everything else. And the benefit of that is all of our team members have a university education. So we look for somebody that has exactly what you need. If you needed this director first impressions role, but they’re also going to track some KPIs, or maybe they’re going to work your social media, we’re going to find somebody that has the highest level of customer service that has a beautiful sounding phone voice. They sound they hate it when I say this, but they sound like they’re from Australia in the UK squished together.

Dayna Johnson  19:38 

Well, it’s a good conversation starter, for sure.

Brenda McNulty  19:42 

It is and you get to tell them how you want it handled. We have an office right now that they never refer to somebody as a patient. They’re always a guest. We have another person as campers. So you get to say, hey, I like this, I don’t like this do it this way, do it that way. And then you get to hold them accountable to that. What that does, it allows them to follow your rules. As you know, there’s some consulting firms out there that say to minute new patient phone call, that’s it, then there’s others that say you spend as much time on that phone call is unique. And sometimes those can go for 20 to 30 minutes, your team member with us is going to go, you want it done that way. Okay. And that’s how they’re going to do it. Simply because it’s, it’s important that your brand is represented the exact way that you want it represented. And now, there are other outsourcing companies out there that do something very similar, but it might be their systems. So you hire a service, we are not service. If this person is handling, Director of first impression phone calls, and a new patient walks in the door with an emergency, and you need an immediate benefits check, you can reach out to your person and say, Hey, I need you to run these benefits. And I don’t necessarily have to work the office hours, I highly recommend before you even consider this position, check with your phone systems. And find out when you’re missing your calls and extend your full coverage those hours. So many times, we have team members that work 10 to seven, because they’re missing phone calls from the six to seven o’clock hour after the close. Some of others are missing them in the morning hours. So they’ll switch their hours from starting at 6am. And that’s the best thing about the customization of having a remote team member. Everything would be exactly the same as somebody in your office except for the fact that you’re not going to be meeting them in the lunchroom. You can call them. You can extension, but you’re not going to see their face in the lunchroom.

Dayna Johnson  22:01 

Yeah, no, I love that I think I talked to a lot of my practice is about that about that. You can have an extension of your practice outside of your office, where you don’t have a body in the office. And they I mean, and they can be you can have them work on whatever you want them to work on whatever wherever you have have a need that needs to be filled in your practice, you can make it happen outside of the office. And I love that you really customize it to the practices needs. And I think that’s really important. Now one thing that you and I also talked about before we started our call our recording today was at the AADOM chapter meeting, you gave out a tip sheet on the director of first impression. And I would love to offer that out to anyone that’s listening to the podcast. So how would someone get a copy of your hips sheet that you were offering? What’s the best way for someone to get a hold of you?

Brenda McNulty  23:10 

Well, I’ll not only offer that tip sheet, but I can even provide scripting for that new patient phone call. As well as a little bit more information, we’re completely transparent. The best way to reach me is simply my email, which is And I’m all over Facebook and LinkedIn and everything. So message me however you want to make sure you tell me which podcast it was that we were on in this wonderful one with Dayna and I’ll be happy to share anything that you want. And maybe it’s not director first impressions that you need. But you really need somebody with insurance, verification, anything like that. You let me know. And I’m telling somebody who absolutely knows this, many offices are not even utilizing their software 50% capacity. So if I’m for sure where you need to do or clean ups in your software, anything that you can get your team to do. Hire somebody. Yeah,

Dayna Johnson  24:13 

I agree. I agree. Yeah, I talk about that all the time cleaning up the ledger allocations. That’s one of the big ones perfect well I’m gonna put your contact info in the show notes for today. So that email address Brenda Your email address will be very easily accessible. They can just click right on your email and and send you an email and request your information. And also they can just let everybody let you know that they were on our podcast today. So great information today. I just really appreciate your you know what you do in the dental industry it’s so needed and I love our friendship that we get to see each other every once in a while. Whether it’s at a The Aidan chapter meeting or you know, it’s at the Rocky Mountain Donald conference, you know, wherever we get to hang out and see each other, it’s always a pleasure.

Brenda McNulty  25:10 

Well, thank you so much. I love being on your podcast. And I know that anybody that’s listening to it is somebody who really values this type of education. And I’d love to speak with that

Dayna Johnson  25:22 

album. Well, Brenda, have a great rest of your week. Enjoy that Colorado weather. And I’ll see you I’ll see you soon. Okay,

Brenda McNulty  25:30 

Thank you so much. Take care, everyone.

Dayna Johnson  25:33 

All right. Thank you everyone. If you enjoyed this episode of Novonee on the Go, please rate it, review it, share it with your friends. Share it with your study club buddies. Because that is how we get our resources out to more people. So please let us know in the comments, what kinds of information you received from this podcast. We really appreciate all your comments, your shares, your reviews, so I appreciate it. You guys have a great rest of your day and I enjoy watching your journey of becoming a Dentrix super user. Until next time

Transcribed by

Posted in