Question: What should I look for in a dental office concerning red flags regarding the staff that should send me elsewhere?
Answer: Last week I discussed when a doctor can kick you out of the practice. Now let’s talk about when patients choose to leave. Most leave for non-clinical reasons unrelated to treatment rendered. I have been blessed. (Though not blessed with athletic prowess. I may look fit from time in the gym, but don’t pick me for your softball or bowling league team. You will not be winning any trophies. My contribution will be at the post-game pizza party: “Better luck next year, fellas! Who had the mozzarella sticks?”)
My patients have benefited from our office having had the same hygienist for 22 years until she retired, and the same dental assistant for 15 years. In my 28 years in Palm Beach I have had just three front desk office managers (the current one for almost a decade).
I have left medical practices that contain a revolving door of new employees. Or practices that did not give me proper pre-op/postop instructions, which led to complications and avoidable pain.
Or medical and dental staff who looked unkempt and had poor social skills.
Fellow doctors tell me: “If you have a staff member still working in your office two years after you hired them, consider yourself lucky.” How have I beaten the odds?
By doing what a famous businessman author once recommended: “Hire slowly, fire quickly.” We interview many candidates to pick a good one, but we won’t keep someone too long if the performance or personality is unacceptable. We have a sign in our break room: “I don’t work IN the practice; I work ON the practice”. Meaning: Employees should not just “show up and punch a clock.” They should contribute to the office, share new ideas of improving things and make patients feel comfortable and help them obtain great results with our procedures. This is how my staff and I run our practice. They are paid well and stay a long time — and do so for reasons other than my jokes and cologne!