By Roger P. Levin, DDS
The role of the Professional Relations Coordinator (PRC) does not exist in every orthodontic practice. Unlike front desk staff, associates, assistants, and office managers the PRC position is often thought of as optional. So, let’s evaluate the real value of a PRC with one simple question.
Question: What is the single most important factor in the success of an orthodontic practice?
In any orthodontic practice if there are a specific number of referrals the practice will be highly profitable, successful, and sustainable.
It is important to have an operationally efficient practice, and it is important to have skilled orthodontists, but increasing the number of referrals and maintaining existing referral sources is arguably one of the most important jobs in an orthodontic practice.
The obvious job of the PRC is to increase referrals. This can happen by developing and implementing marketing strategies focused on patients, parents, referring doctors, social media, and the community. A practice that has identified its brand and understands how to communicate that brand in all five areas listed above will be an orthodontic practice that grows every year. And that is the ultimate objective – to increase referrals every year.
But there is a secondary and at times equally important influence brought to an orthodontic practice by the PRC – to maintain levels of success. As orthodontics, dentistry and the economy is changing the role the PRC will be even more important to maintaining success and keep referrals from declining.
Marketing, to increase or maintain referrals may be the single most critical factor in the success of an orthodontic practice. Therefore, as the logic goes, the role of the PRC is one of the most critical positions, and that leads to the main point of this article…
Raise the standards of hiring, compensating, training, managing, and motivating the PRC.
Practices that have a PRC, and those that don’t, need to view the position differently than in the past. It is time to rewrite the job description because we have seen that the most successful orthodontic practices have the strongest, most highly trained PRCs with the highest longevity. This does not occur by hiring someone as an afterthought or hiring someone at a low compensation. It does not occur by giving the PRC limited direction and training or by orthodontist not spending time with PRC on referral marketing strategy, annual marketing calendar development, and analytical referral monthly reviews.
In a nutshell it is time that orthodontic practices recognize the critical nature of the PRC position and develop a culture where they are a valued member of the team receiving training, support, and attention like any other team member. Orthodontic practices who utilize a PRC in this modality will be far more successful than others in a rapidly changing specialty.
I encourage every orthodontist to rethink the role of the PRC and develop a new job description, compensation process, training program, and ongoing support. All team members should recognize the PRC as a valued member of the team to be included even if they work outside the office for a major part of their position or work from home.
Do not underestimate the value and importance of a PRC. A PRC is a critical professional position that will have significant impact on the future of any orthodontic practice. A PRC will help guarantee an extraordinarily successful orthodontic practice. But you must do it right.
Roger P. Levin, DDS is the CEO and Founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the U.S. and around the world. To contact Dr. Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit www.levingroup.com or email email@example.com.