The Office Atmosphere, Because Everything Matters

Quick! How what does your dental practice look like through the eyes of your patients? If you don't know or can't answer, then Kelly Lynch of Platinum Practice Solutions is here to tell you why you're due for an audit.

Have you ever walked into an office and been able tell right away that everyone genuinely enjoyed their jobs? What was the atmosphere like? Was it the way they carried themselves? Their attention to grooming? Or maybe their smiles and the way they looked you in the eye.

These are all cues we pick up on when we enter any office. Confidence in what you do, say, and know will resonate with your patients. Educate yourself on things you may not know enough about, and keep yourself involved with the goings on in your practice. Remember: knowledge is confidence! If you love what you do, it will show!

Loving what you do can also be seen in the condition of the dental office itself. When was the last time you sat in a patient chair and looked around the treatment room? Are there dead bugs in the in overhead lights? Is there a lot of countertop clutter? What about chipped paint, worn window treatments, or water stains on the ceiling tiles? How inviting is your reception area? How about the restroom? What does the practice look like to someone other than you?

Patients accept treatment based more on perception than on clinical skills. Why? Because it is assumed that you know what you are doing clinically. Perception, however, is based exclusively on how you look, how your office looks, how your team looks, and how your teeth look. You are in the business of selling dentistry!

What do your teeth look like? How about your team? Is your scheduling coordinator attempting to schedule treatment and talking about how fantastic your dentistry is with a discolored or chipped smile?

Take a look at what you are wearing. Are scrubs outfits mismatched, worn, and/or wrinkled? Doctor, what are you wearing? Scrubs? Or maybe a shirt, tie, slacks and a lab coat? A nice skirt and blouse with a monogramed lab jacket?

Remember: knowledge is confidence!

Platinum equals impeccable! Clinical uniforms should be wrinkle-free, non-faded and properly fitted. Shoes should be safe, comfortable, and always clean. Chose a complementary color to your office colors and use that for your uniforms. Administration personnel should ideally present in business attire that also compliments the color scheme of the clinical uniform. Have a couple of extra lab coats available should an administration person be asked to help in the clinical area during the day. Potential new patients, as well as patients of record, perceive the level of care they will receive from the very first phone call right through to the moment they walk into your dental practice. Make sure your love of what you do reflects in every aspect of the practice. Regularly look at the following areas in order to ensure you present a consistent image:

  • Parking lot
  • Main entrance
  • Walls (check for chipped paint and scuff marks)
  • Bathrooms
  • Light fixtures
  • Window treatments (are the windows clean?)
  • Countertop clutter
  • Carpeting
  • Personal appearance
  • The pen patients use to sign their credit card receipt
  • The quality of your appointment cards, stationary, etc.

Have a different team member look over these areas monthly to give their perception of what the patient may be seeing. Add additional areas that are pertinent to your specific practice. I was coaching an office recently. When I arrived early for the first visit, I entered the office through fingerprint-smudged glass doors into a reception room that was entirely white. The coldness of the room was palpable. I entered the patient washroom to freshen up and found one of the fluorescent bulbs was rapidly flickering. The waste basket was full and the toilet paper roll was near empty. There were two cobwebs in the corners.

Platinum equals impeccable!

As I washed my hands, I noticed a bright orange “clearance” sticker for $0.59 on the Dial soap dispenser! Don’t get me wrong, I am all for saving money; however I don’t feel the need to share this with the patient. What is your perception of this office? Dirty? Cheap? No attention to detail? Customer service is the new frontier of the dental private practice. The struggle to get, and retain, the happy, loyal and paying patient is very real, and it starts with the perception of the little things!

Remember: everything matters! Learn more about how RevenueWell improves case acceptance and creates more close-knit relationships between dentists and their patients.