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Clash of the Dental Titans
I just returned from a new client’s dental practice where an epic conflict between the back and front had laid siege to the dental office. The doctor thought this Clash of the Titans would quickly blow over. Instead it blew up.
And what was this battle over?
Did you say, “Chart colors?”
I’m afraid so.
You see, one of the back office dental staff had “issues” with one of the dental front desk . This turned into a joust over what color the charts should be. So from that point on, when the back office person took a patient up front, guess what happened? Nothing. She simply left the patient with his chart at the front desk and left. It makes sense when you think about it. Who wants to talk to the person you’re engaged in mortal combat with? And these two dental staff members thought that the patients didn’t notice. Yeah, right. So like in most wars it’s the civilian population that suffers the most.
Tell me, have you ever walked into a business and noticed two semployees that didn’t get along? How did it make you feel? When you saw those two people argue, what was your impression of the business itself? Oh yeah, I bet you said, “This is fun I've gotta come back to this place!”
OK, back to my new client. He was beside himself and didn’t know what to do with this problem. I told him he didn’t need to anything with that problem.
He barked, “Are you kidding? I’m pulling my hair out here! What do you think I hired you for?”
I took a deep breath and told him, “I understand, but there’s a much bigger problem in the dental practice.”
“What could be a bigger problem than this???” he growled.
I took an even bigger breath and told him, “The bigger problem is you.”
My new client was jolted backwards as if a thunderbolt from Zeus had hit him between the eyes. He stared at me blankly. Then it began to sink in. He was the one who had allowed a skirmish to turn into all out warfare, all because he wanted to be a nice guy.
Dealing with dental staff issues is not fun. In fact I think it’s what dentists like the least about owning a dental practice. But there are correct procedures you can learn that will get the warriors in your office working as a team instead of battling each other.
Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a speaker in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at