There’s a behaviour going on in all Dental offices across the country that is totally wrong.
Yet those who do this behaviour do so as if they believe that they are actually doing nothing wrong.
They carry on as if their behaviour is totally acceptable.
And for the life of me I do not know why they would even think that way?
Because the behaviour is indeed rude at the least, and uncaring and obnoxious at the worst.
What is this behaviour that exists in Dentistry, that is harming your Dental Practice, like a silent killer?
It’s the act of leaving the patient unattended.
A paying customer is left, on their own, to contemplate only the room decorations, the architecture, and also all of our decorative defects.
And yet for some reason, our dental team members feel that this abandonment of the patient is totally acceptable behaviour.
And often we as dentists and business owners are not even aware that this abandonment is going on!
At my workshops I tell this following tale often.
And the reason I tell it is because something like this *NEVER* would happen at the practice that I previously owned and operated for twenty-eight years.
So here is what happened:
When I finished up at my old practice, I was offered the opportunity of seeing patients one or two days a week by a Dental Practice only nine minutes walk from my home.
Which was very convenient.
And although it was a position that I had not sought out, I thought it would be a nice way to “keep my hand in”.
Anyway, on one day there, I was sitting in the tearoom when one of the dental assistants informed me that my next patient had arrived for treatment.
So I asked the dental assistant to bring the patient down, and I allowed a minute before I then headed to the treatment room.
Well, when I arrived, to my surprise, the patient was seated and bibbed up in the dental chair, *ALONE* in the treatment room, simply staring, looking forward, staring at a blank wall.
What surprised me about this was that on this day I was the only Dentist working and the practice had two Dental Assistants and two front office people there.
Yet nobody could be bothered to sit with the patient and talk and “visit” with them for sixty seconds until I arrived in the treatment room.
And the patient was due to be spending $4600.00 on dental treatment this day!!
I know that if I was a customer at a business and was due to be parting with a fair chunk of my readies, I’d be expecting much more attention than this abandonment I had just witnessed.
In fact, in that sort of situation, I’d have been more than likely to drop what I was about to be purchasing and gone elsewhere with my business.
And yet at this Dental Office it seemed to me that regular patient abandonment was acceptable behaviour?
Because when I went looking to find an assistant to help me, I found one was making her breakfast [on company time] while the other was putting away some stock that had just arrived.
A similar thing happened in a double whammy effect to a dentist friend of mine only this last week.
My friend was treating a patient, when the hygienist came to notify my dentist friend that he was needed to do a hygiene check on the wife of the patient that he was treating.
My friend let the hygienist know that he would be there in one minute, but when he arrived in the hygiene room guess what he saw?
One patient left alone staring into space at a wall, and no hygienist or hygiene assistant for that matter to be seen.
So my Dentist friend conducted the examination.
Apparently the hygiene assistant returned….
Anyway when my dentist friend returned to his own treatment room to resume with his patient can you guess what happened?
Yes, one patient, on his own, solo. With no Dental Assistant.
My friend could not believe that the dental staff thought that patient abandonment like this was actually acceptable behaviour.
Especially when his two patients were spending in excess of two thousand dollars at his office on this day.
It’s my belief that at no time should a Dental Patient ever be left unattended and on their own alone in the Dental practice.
And in the dental chair is by far the worst example.
But there are other places in the Dental Office where patient abandonment goes on, and with harmful effects.
We often hear of patients who are abandoned after treatment and have to find their own way from the treatment room back out to the front desk.
And at other times, the patient is brought out to the front, but abandoned and left alone because of a logjam there. And in this case the assistant believes that it is far more important to be cleaning an inanimate dental chair rather than entertaining and attending to a real live patient who is about to give the practice some money.
Even when patients arrive for their appointment they are often parked and abandoned in a room with a pile of old magazines, brochures and if they are lucky, a fish tank, while they wait their turn to be called for treatment.
And often while waiting there they can overhear two receptionists discussing their private lives.
When really these employees should be engaging with the paying patients.
Every time we abandon a paying patient and leave them on their own we are actually facilitating a mental disconnect for that patient that needs to be broken and reconnected.
And that is unnecessary hard work.
Because the abandoned patient is not sitting there alone deciding whether they’re going to be having the chocolate cake or the bruleé for dessert.
When we abandon the dental patient we are actually allowing them time to think that maybe there is some place better than this where they will be better cared for and looked after.
Especially when they’re handing over hundreds and thousands of dollars at appointments.
Have you contemplated how much damage your dental abandonment is costing you in mental disconnects?
Patients with mental disconnects will defer more, and appoint less.
They’ll cancel appointments more.
Because we’ve dumped and abandoned them unnecessarily.
They’ll go looking for somewhere else to get their dentistry done.
They’ll look out for somewhere where the dental staff actually gives a hoot.
What’s so sad about this story on abandonment is that those who perpetrate the mistake do not even feel that they are creating or making an error.
They have no idea that their behaviour is totally unacceptable.
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