What's the nicest thing dentists said to their dental assistants? Find out what simple words can make someone's day, especially this week, 2017 Dental Assistants Recognition Week.
As a speaker, I love to survey dental assistants to try to understand the things that matter most to them. I believe it’s great insight into my audience and a great way to get people talking, especially this week: Dental Assistants Recognition Week.
One of my favorite surveys from years’ past was a very simple one. I asked dental assistants to tell me the nicest thing that a dentist ever said to them, and also the meanest thing a dentist ever said to them. Let me just say that the answers floored me on the meanest side, but I won’t go into that here. However, the answers to the nicest things also surprised me.
What was the overwhelming top answer when I asked dental assistants about the nicest thing a dentist ever said to them? It was, “Thank you.” Can you imagine that? There are so many nice things that you can say to someone, yet a simple expression of appreciation was the landslide winner.
This still makes me think about the lack of appreciation that is shown toward dental assistants in some practices. This is sad because we know the important role dental assistants play, not only in the eyes of patients but also in how they affect the bottom line of the practice. They’re often the first ones to show up to work and the last ones to leave, but they rarely hear “thank you” in so many practices for what they contribute.
Dental Assistants Recognition Week (DARW) began yesterday and lasts through Saturday. It’s a great opportunity for the dentist and other team members to show dental assistants how they’re valued in the practice.
I know of dentists who celebrate DARW by giving massage gift cards or flowers or taking staff out for lunch out on the town. Those are all wonderful gestures, and I certainly think every assistant has earned them. However, I recommend that dentists start with something very simple in their practices. They can tell their assistant “thank you” for all of the things that he or she does on a daily basis to make patients more at ease and boost the bottom line.
It’s easy to get sidetracked because of how busy the practice becomes. However, taking a few seconds to offer two words of appreciation can often do wonders not only for someone’s psyche but also the morale of the entire practice.
I can tell you first-hand the impact “thank you” can have on an assistant. In my lectures with assistants, they often tell me how those two words can make a crazy day far more tolerable and the impossible tasks seem very possible. Assistants want to know they’re making a difference in their practices. A simple “thank you” reminds them that they are.
I ask dentists and fellow team members to please celebrate your assistants during their special week. Show them how important they are to you and your practice. Remind them how much they mean to your patients. Tell them “thank you,” not just during Dental Assistants Recognition Week, but every week. You’ll be surprised at the difference it will make for these valuable team members.