Dentists don’t like horror stories.
They hate them.
Well most of the time they do.
But sometimes, when the dentist hears a horror story, they cover their ears and close their eyes and hope the scary bit goes away.
Rather than take action.
I guess it depends on the horror story, and how horrid it really is…
Here are three dental office horror stories bad enough to scare the pants off any dentist.
1. Ms. Bad Bad Attitude
Seen only this week by a friend of mine, visiting a Dental Office, while repping. Here’s what happened…
New Patient walks into the Dental Office, paperwork in hand and Miss Bad Bad Attitude Employee says, “I need your insurance card.”
Doesn’t say, “Hello”. There is no welcome, no excitement; no “We’ve been waiting all morning to meet you”? All was said with a very rude, witchy tone and the new patient looks over at my friend with a “like really?” look on his face.
My friend, who’s not just a rep, but a customer service aficionado, springs into Supergirl mode, welcomes the new patient on behalf of the office, tells him how great the doctors and team are, and how excited they are to finally get to meet him!
My friend was so upset to see this sort of behaviour.
And all she got from Ms. Bad Bad Attitude Employee was a serious eye roll.
The trouble with a story like this is two-fold.
Firstly, and sadly, there is not just this one only Ms. Bad Bad Attitude Employee in the dental world.
There are many of them out there, thinking it’s OK to be gruff, blunt, and rude towards patients.
And they behave this way because they believe on the most part, they can get away with it.
The second sad thing about this story is that if my friend had not been there, there’s a good chance, a really good chance, that the Dentist would never have known that this behaviour was ever going on in his office.
But now, thanks to my friend, the Dentist will know.
Sometimes though, Dentists don’t want to confront this sort of behaviour.
Sometimes dentists will allows this sort of attitude to exist because at other times, Ms. Bad Bad Attitude Employee is a good worker and the Dentist doesn’t want to rock the boat.
Sadly, who knows how many patients a day, a week, a month receive a big dose of bad attitude from Ms. Bad Bad Attitude Employee, and decide not to come back to see this Dentist?
Or they tell their friends, “You know the Dentist is nice, but the Office Manager? Uggh! Watch out for her.”
And that’s not a very nice word of mouth referral…
2. Ms. Sick Day
A dentist in Sydney who I know very well employed a hygienist who over the course of three years, took every sick day available, mostly as single days off.
That’s thirty sick days.
In three years.
And in the third year, each month, as one sick day accrued, so it was taken.
With total disregard to the fact that she was a service provider treating patients who had scheduled appointments some three to six months prior.
And some of these patients travelled four hours each way to visit this wonderful Dental Office.
Every time this hygienist called in sick, with a “medical condition”, which she was legally entitled to do, the practice had to go into *damage control* mode to reschedule the patients of the day who had these visits planned for months and months and months.
Sadly, despite the best efforts of the Dentist’s team, each sick day resulted in patient attrition.
There was no avoiding the fact that real people would be upset with being messed around.
And you can imagine, with a total of thirty individual days off, there’d be some patients who were sadly, multiple victims of Ms. Sick Day.
Yet because of the employment laws Down Under, the dentist was powerless to take any action, except to just sit there and cop it…thirty times.
Two of the “sick days” occurred on the Friday before Mothers’ Day, in consecutive years. Conveniently, or coincidentally, the school where the hygienist’s children attended used to hold a Mothers’ Day morning tea that day…
3. Ms. Embezzler
David Harris from Prosperident tells meetings of Dentists that the good news is that one in three dentists in the room will not be stolen from, during their practicing life.
Which means that sadly, two out of three of us will be hit, at some stage, by a thief, despite our best intentions.
Now there are certain checks and balances that Dental Practices can put in place, to reduce and prevent a great deal of embezzlement.
But if a thief gets a whiff of opportunity, sadly, they’ll take it.
The business of dentistry, by it’s very nature, creates opportunity, simply because the business owner has his back towards his business, and his employees for the majority of each and every day.
So there’s a great degree of trust given, and expected.
And although most people in the world are inherently honest and law abiding, unfortunately there are a small number who are opportunistic.
It’s never nice to read in the news about a Dental employee headed to the slammer because they stole.
But those stories are out there.
And according to David Harris, there are more cases of theft that are not reported, and more that are not even detected.
Another Dentist that I know well had an Office Manager steal a considerable amount of money from a third party, over a period of years, before she was finally detected.
And although this Dentist was not a physical victim of the crime, he and his office were indeed the victims of the betrayal of trust, the deception, and the distraction of the employee away from her expected duties while she was not only thieving, but thinking about her thieving.
It’s said that there are some things you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemies?
And my dentist friend says that that gutted feeling he felt when he discovered the embezzling is one of those things…
Hopefully, in your Office, you won’t have to deal with one or any of these Horror Stories, ever.
It’s always wise to keep your antennae up on the lookout, just to be on the safe side…
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