I want to share with you my experience at an orthopedic surgeon’s office. This week when I was checking in for my appointment it was obvious this young lady was new. She was very friendly but not very professional with her demeanor or her word choice, but she cared about taking care of patients. The problem arose when she was trying to print off a receipt for me. For some reason she couldn’t get the system to work. Then she proceeded to look at me and say there was a recent software update, and it really changed a lot of things. When asking for help from two other front office team members, they came over and tried but it wouldn’t work for them, and they both threw up their hands and walked away. They left the “new girl” struggling. I was just sitting there, patiently waiting in my chair when all of a sudden, the manager whipped around the corner and asked her in front of me what she’s done in an accusatory tone. She then barks for her to get up out of the chair, it’s easier if she does it. For whatever reason the manager did not care what came out of her mouth with her unprofessional behavior. I’m watching all of this thinking this poor girl obviously has not been given all of the tools that she needs to be successful in front of the patient. Worse yet, the manager obviously didn’t care about the patient experience, or she would have communicated and represented the practice in a much more professional manner with the word choice and tone used in front of her team member and in front of me. I realize some days we have more patience than other days. It’s not something we should do, but sometimes it comes off that way. When the manager said all of this, she showed the new employee screens this poor team member had never seen before. As she was looking over her shoulder, she grabbed her notebook to take notes because she didn’t know what she had done, and she wanted to fix the problem.
The way in which this manager treated her own team member in front of patients reminded me of something that may have happened in your practice. We have had to hire team members that do not have dental experience. When somebody comes to you that is willing and wants to learn and then you verbally beat them down and humiliate them in front of a patient – how long do you think that that new team member is going to sit there and take that kind of verbal abuse? The funny thing is my sister was with me for this appointment. As soon as we went to take our seats in the reception area, we both looked at each other and commented on this whole thing. Of course, I told her this has got to be a Coach’s Corner because this is real. This stuff happens.
I share all of this as a friendly reminder to everyone. Remember when working with new team members and those especially new to dentistry to set them up for success. The better way of handling this would have been taking more care and telling me, you know what, we’ve had a software update. Susie here is new to our practice. Can I use this as a teaching opportunity? I would have loved to have seen that because it would have shown me, the patient, how much care you take to make sure that she is taught correctly and that this is the service that you expect for patients coming in and being seen. We all know that hiring has become, let’s say interesting, over the last few years. Don’t be afraid to do this in front of any patients – it actually shows you care for your team members and your patients – it’s a win/win.
Hiring and onboarding new team members may create a stressful situation in your practice. There is no need to work in a frustrating environment. Please reach out to [email protected] to set up a call to discuss your situation.