Why did You Leave Your Last Dentist? (Part II): “The Staff”

Why did You Leave Your Last Dentist? (Part II): “The Staff”

Q: This is part two of the patient who complained last week about the doctor always being late. We discussed how at our morning staff meetings we plan on how we can improve both our dental procedures as well as our customer service.

Last week’s category was “The Doctor”, this week we tackle “The Staff”. (Not “tackle”, that would be weird; “discuss” would be a better word.)

A: The most common reasons that patients jump ship due to staff issues are:

  • Personality conflict or disagreement with employee.
  • Staff member was rude or not helpful.
  • Treated rudely or abruptly on the telephone.
  • Staff did not have a professional demeanor.

I will give some examples that I have observed over my 31 year career as both a doctor/owner and as a patient too!

  • A hygienist that talks to a patient like an angry principal, about to expel you for not taking care of her teeth, or too loud, too-heavy handed or not thorough enough in the teeth cleaning department.
  • My staff and I discuss conflict resolution on the principle that: “People will not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
  • The most important person in any healthcare business, or any business for that matter, is the person who answers the phone. Some think my office is weird in that the phone is answered in this manner: “Dr. Josephs’ office, this is Anette. I can help you.” Notice we don’t say: “How can I help you?” We are telling the patient in advance that WE CAN HELP; WITHOUT DOUBT!
  • I am a stickler for both professional appearance as well as professional speech. I know if I was calling an office to have them drill a hole in my jaw bone to place a titanium implant or invest in over $30,000 in a full cosmetic or implant reconstruction, I personally would be put off if a staff member is poorly dressed, poorly groomed with poor diction, grammar and a bad attitude. Fact: The doctors who pay their staff well and treat them like gold, attract the top-notch employees. Period.
  • Next week we go for category #3 as to why patients leave their dentist: “The Dental Treatment.”


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