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  05.12.05 Issue #166

Sally's Mail Bag

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Dear Sally,

When I first started practice 22 yrs ago I did have a patient survey. One of the most common concerns, as you entioned, is office hrs. We worked Mon - Thur. 8 -5 and hr off for lunch. ½ a day on Friday. People wanted some times on Saturday. I, being the new guy, wanted to satisfy a perceived need and decided I would open the office for 4 hrs on Saturday morning. We did a mailing to inform everyone of the change, had a sign in the reception room and told people as they came into hygiene to come in on Saturday to get x-y-z done. Good idea we thought. Some days were good but some days were really bad. If memory serves me right we had 52% more cancellations on Saturday than any other day. The summers were by far the worst. Sometimes reaching 80%. People thought when in the office that the Saturday appointment sounded great, no time off work. But when it came down to either coming in or going to the beach, the pool, baseball game, golf or partying the night before, guess what won.

I stopped Saturdays after a year and stopped Fridays after 5 years, ½ a day Thursday after 10 years, so 31 hrs a week right now. We are more productive than ever while we are in the office. The Staff and I are much happier. The # one reply we get is customer service. I think Nordstrom's and Chic-fil-a, both have great customer service, but I still have to go when they are open and no I can't get that chicken sandwich on Sunday, nor a brown belt and shoes at 8:00 AM before work.

Yes every practice needs happy patients, but I think the real key is a stable staff that are as committed, as the doctor, to the practice.

In conclusion, I think happy patients and a happy dentist (because it is all about me, right?) starts with a happy staff.

Dr. Richard
Charlotte, NC

P.S. Great newsletter and I have been to 2 of your seminars in the SE.
Keep up the good work.

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