Would it kill you to treat your dental patients with respect?

This RDH visited another medical practice and was appalled at the poor treatment she received. Made her wonder ... how does her dental practice treat patients? Hopefully better than this!

Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2016 12 Angry Dental Office Manager 1
It always surprises me when I go to a doctor appointment and the front desk staff is rude! It makes me second guess my decision about going to that office. I recently had to visit many medical specialty offices as a new patient for me and my kids. I was amazed at how many front desk and back medical staff were so completely rude. This rudeness ranged from not greeting me when I arrived, to not saying anything when I left.

For one visit, I hadn’t had a chance to fill out my medical forms, so I arrived 20 minutes early. I was pointed to a sign that said, “Sign in and be seated.” I couldn’t get anyone’s attention about needing to fill out my paperwork. Finally, after 15 minutes, I was motioned to the front desk. Really? The receptionist asked for my paperwork, and when I said I was sorry that I hadn’t had a chance to fill out the forms, she rolled her eyes and said, “Well, that’s going take you 30 minutes to fill out all our forms, and you might not be seen.”

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Wow! I informed her that I could fill it out in five min or less and that I work in a dental office and understand how some new patients don’t bring their forms in. She didn’t even acknowledge any of what I said and sighed and rolled her eyes while printing the forms and handing them to me. Well, now I was determined to get them filled out in three minutes! And I did.

There was still no apology from the front desk person, or even a pleasant sigh. I was called back for my appointment 10 minutes later. To tell you the truth, I had already graded this office with a minus one star just from my initial interaction. Then, the medical assistant wasn’t pleasant either; she was very robotic. But the good news is that the doctor was fantastic.

But by then the front desk and other staff had clouded my judgement and put me in a sour mood. What horrible service! I certainly won’t refer any of my friends or family members to that office based on my experience. And I will return only if it is the only choice that my insurance plan offers me for that particular treatment. Now, that’s sad.

How does your office compare to this? Do you notice your coworkers being abrupt with patients or you? How is everyone’s phone etiquette? Are you patient with the multiple questions that many patients ask? Do you greet everyone in a friendly manner? There seems to be a spirit of meanness permeating our once-polite society. I realize we all have stressful days, but when you’re being paid to make your patients feel welcome and respected, you need to step up. They are our paycheck.

Without patients, we have no job. Without their referrals, our practice does not grow. If you’re in a bad mood, leave it at the front door. Many times patients, especially new patients, are stressed and nervous about their visit. Maybe they got lost trying to find the office for the last 40 minutes, or maybe they’re just stressed about being treated. It’s our job to accommodate and serve them politely and professionally. Like the saying goes, “Treat others like you want to be treated.” Kindness gets you further. Now, get out there and put a big smile on your face!


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Kimberly Morgan, RDH, has over 24 years of experience in the dental field. She is the founder of YourDentalConnect.comto help connect dental professionals with jobs and employees. She co-owns and has taught at the Dental Essentials School of Dental Assistingin Austin, Texas, since 2003. She is a practicing dental hygienist at a private practice in Austin. She is the current vice president for the Austin Dental Hygiene Society. She can be reached at KimMorgan@aol.comor find her on LinkedIn.

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