Case Study: Data + Leadership = Massive Growth
“We look at hygiene, collections, production, and the schedule for the day and the rest of the week. It helps us to ask better questions, like ‘What stopped us from hitting our goal yesterday? Are we on track to hit our goal today, and if not, what can we do about that?’
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”
Dr. Jaime Osorio, owner of Buckner Family Dental in Dallas, Texas, had an important decision to make. His office manager had recently left for a new position, and Jaime knew his team expected him to hire a replacement to assume the role of managing the practice. Buckner Dental was doing great by most measurements, and it seemed obvious that handing over the day-to-day management was the right course in order to maintain the status quo. But Jaime felt differently.
“I’d come to believe that in order to be successful, I needed to become the CEO of my practice,” Jaime shared in a recent interview. “I needed to know the ins and outs of everything. Many in dentistry seem to feel like they can just default to hiring an OM or a business manager and that doing so will solve all their problems, and for many practices, that’s probably the right decision. But this approach of having someone other than the owner managing the practice doesn’t always work, or at least it hadn’t for me.”
So, instead of hiring a new office manager, Jaime chose to become Buckner’s office manager. This surprising step reflects an unusual commitment from a dental practice owner to stay connected to every element of his practice and team.
One of the reasons Jaime chose this course was a desire he had to better understand what was really happening in his practice. “I felt like we were just wandering through the forest without any clear direction or sense of where we were. It was as if we were saying ‘We don’t know where we are, but we’re just gonna keep walking and hope we get somewhere.’ We didn’t have a clear path forward, and I realized this was on me as the leader of the practice. Until I changed, nothing would change.”
Many of Jaime’s concerns related to lack of transparency. Although Buckner had many bright spots, there were also some important insights he couldn’t see. “We were spending a lot on marketing, but we weren’t able to measure how well that marketing was actually working,” he said. “We also were treading water in areas like rescheduling hygiene and getting more patients to get the treatment they needed. The reports we would run showed us some of the things that had happened, but they did little to help us understand why they were happening, and most importantly, what we should do to change what was happening.”
In looking for solutions that would help him solve these and other blind spots, Dr. Osorio learned about Dental Intelligence. His practice had actually purchased it more than a year previously but hadn’t been using the many management tools available on the platform. With the new focus Jaime had on becoming the CEO of his practice, he started utilizing Dental Intel to rejuvenate Buckner Dental.
“Our culture at Buckner is to never be satisfied, but to push ourselves every day to do a little better,” Dr. Osorio said. “Even when we have a really big day and hit all our numbers, we talk about what we can do to do even better the next day. I’m always thinking of ways to improve. Can we offer better deals, change our marketing, come up with some type of promotion that will get new patients excited, etc. I want us to be constantly communicating with our patients so they feel we’re paying attention to them and their needs.” To help accomplish these goals, Buckner began using the Dental Intel mobile app to see all the things they wanted to know about the practice, whenever and wherever they wanted to see them. “Using the DI Mobile App, I can see exactly where I need to get to in the next month,” Jaime said. “No more guessing.”
“I don’t have a man…I’m the man,” Jaime added. “I’m the QB and the coach and the general manager, etc. I have control over my own destiny and our practice. I decide where we go and what happens and I can look at my team and say, ‘Guys, we’re all in this together. We all want the same thing. We all want to see growth. We all want to be rewarded for that effort. So, let’s all be together and let’s all do that together.’”
Buckner now uses the Dental Intel Mobile App to hold their morning huddle each day, and the impact has been significant. “Everybody is looking at it together,” Jaimie said. “We look at hygiene, collections, production, and the schedule for the day and the rest of the week. It helps us to ask better questions, like ‘What stopped us from hitting our goal yesterday? Are we on track to hit our goal today, and if not, what can we do about that?’ Part of the reason this works is because we have focused on cross-training our team so that everyone can do (almost) everyone else’s job. This makes everyone on the team feel more responsible.”
Another way that Dental Intel has helped Buckner Dental is in finding dentistry already presented to patients but not yet completed. Dr. Osorio calls this “bread and butter” dentistry, i.e. hygiene, crowns, fillings, etc. “We used to average around $800 per day in our hygiene department, but now we’re almost double that,” he said. “This is where Dental Intel is helping us to find dentistry that is already in our system but that hasn’t been scheduled. Focusing on these existing cases reduces our reliance on new patients. We combine this type of dentistry with our “big ticket” opportunities like a $25,000 implant case, for example."
"Sometimes I want to tell dentists who say things like ‘Don’t waste your time on fillings, etc.’ to not get too big for their britches. We want a combination of both bread and butter cases which help us build up to those bigger cases. If I need to work hard on six $1,000 cases, I’m great with that, because it means I’m getting closer to some larger opportunities, which often come out of the smaller cases where I find something that needs to be treated. Try doing the small stuff in order to get to the big stuff. For example, if you get some of those $2-3,000 cases, they can be the difference as to whether or not you hit your goal or not. Home runs are great, but you also need to get runners on base in order to score.”
At the core of everything that has improved for this practice is the decision Dr. Osorio made to take ownership for everything. But wait, isn’t he already the practice owner? Yes. But this is different from taking ownership. Once he began holding himself responsible for every aspect of his practice, amazing things began to happen for him personally as well as for his entire practice.
“After my manager left and I was working on my marketing after-hours, I was looking at ways to improve and decided I was going to personally start making phone calls to patients,” Jaime recalled. “My team knew I was doing this and that created a lot of respect – they saw what I was willing to do to help the practice grow, that I wasn’t above doing anything they were doing. As more patients started coming in, I was then bonus-ing my team based on the production I had scheduled. Another trust-building exercise. I’m practicing what I’m preaching.” Once trust was established, Jaime then started asking them to do what he was doing and trained them on how to do what he was doing.
“They’ve gotta see me change. I had to look in the mirror and admit I wasn’t doing things the way I wanted them to do things, which was hypocritical. When I began to change, it motivated them to begin changing,” he said. “They saw the energy, they saw the transformation, they saw patients coming in and responding to my calls. I needed to become a better leader than I had been.”
Dr. Osorio also shared how he’s become a student of other businesses and how they succeed. “I love looking at statistics. I love looking at numbers. I love analyzing our processes and seeing where we are lacking and trying to understand why we are where we are.”
“I think of my practice kind of like I think about working out. I have to stay in the mindset of an athlete,” Jaime said. “I need to be prepared in the moments available to work out in order to stay in shape. Even if a workout might not be fun or hurt a bit, I still need to do the workout because I have a goal. I’m going to keep reaching, keep stretching, etc. The same is true for my practice. Even if I don’t want to make another call, I do it anyway. The goal is the focus. No matter what, I need to stay focused on the goal. The work is about becoming more consistent."
"Dental Intel has made this so much easier. Instead of just trying to blindly get to a goal and hoping new patients come in or a big case happens, we are empowered to work strategically toward our goals, day after day. We can track how we are doing and make adjustments based on data, not guessing. This is a huge difference from how we use to do things.”
Taking ownership over his practice has changed Buckner Dental in many significant ways. And using the actionable data insights now available to Dr. Osorio and his team has been key. “Dental Intelligence has given me focus – a new focus on my performance. It’s enabled me to track my numbers throughout the day. I can now easily see what I did the day before and compare myself against that. If I am short, I can now see that I am short and respond rather than being surprised at the end of the day to learn that I was below goal. Dental Intel has helped me to help my team become as passionate as I am about hitting our goals.”