The Articulate Dentist - A Blog by the Metro Denver Dental Society

Sound Advice Every Dental Practice Should Hear…From a Baseball Usher.

By: Mr. Kevin Henry

I recently was in St. Petersburg, Fla., for a dental meeting, and, while there, I took part in a bicycle tour that took us by Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays. As we pedaled past, I had a flashback to being there for a baseball game in 2019.

The last time I was at “The Trop,” I was attending a Rays game as part of the media contingent covering the Colorado Rockies, who were on a road trip through Florida to play the Rays and Miami Marlins.

Being a part of the media team, I get to the game about five hours before the first pitch and am inside long before fans are allowed in. Of course, with this early access, I see a lot of “behind-the-scenes” activity. The concession stands are getting their food deliveries and the souvenir stands are organizing and preparing for fans to look through their jerseys, shirts and hats for purchase. The restrooms are being mopped and the seats are being wiped down. Everyone is prepping ahead of time to make sure the fans have a great experience inside the ballpark.

On this day, I walked by the group of ushers and gate attendants who were getting their last-minute instructions from the group leader. One sentence he said caught my attention as I walked past…

“Remember, you’re here to make sure these fans enjoy their day today and come back tomorrow.” Now certainly working in a dental practice is different from working at Tropicana Field. However, the sentiment, when boiled down, can be very much the same.

As dental professionals, we know you don’t just work inside a practice. You work inside a small business. Part of your business’s success is making sure your customers turn into repeat customers and buy the services you offer. We know dental patients will often “price shop” for services and their loyalty to one practice (or one business)
can often be lessened through the allure of the lower price.

What can overcome lower price? What can alleviate some of those wandering eyes from your patients? The feelings they get when they walk through your doors. Any customer in any field wants to feel like the most important person in the world when they interact with your business. That includes a dental practice…and involves every member of the practice.

I am a firm believer that dental assistants are often the biggest conduit between the patient and the practice. With that in mind, the assistant’s attitude every day plays such a key role in not only the overall atmosphere of the practice “behind the scenes” but also in the eyes of every customer with whom he or she interacts.

A friend of mine owns a practice in Tennessee. Near the team entrance at the back of his practice, he has a big luggage rack with a sign above it that reads, “Leave your baggage here.” He doesn’t want his team members carrying the baggage of the “outside world” into work with them on any day. He is a strong believer that whatever happens outside of work hours should have no effect on the attitude his employees bring into the practice (and the lives of their customers) on a daily basis.

So what’s your attitude every day when you walk through those doors? Are you making sure your patients feel important…or are you making them feel like numbers?

While your patients may not necessarily “enjoy” their trip to the dental practice, they can certainly enjoy the moments they have with you. Those moments can be the things they remember rather than the procedure itself. Positive interactions can ensure that the patient comes back for treatment and regular visits…and those moments can also 
help the foundation for the success of the practice.

I’m a firm believer that, when a business succeeds, its employees should succeed as well. However, everyone must do what they can to ensure success.

Mr. Kevin Henry is co-founder of IgniteDA, a community designed to empower, enlighten and educate dental assistants. He has spent nearly two decades in dental journalism, working as editor-in-chief for DrBicuspid.com, group editorial director for Dental Products Report and managing editor for Dental Economics.