Friday, August 20, 2010

Its my party....

Hey all,
ITS FRIDAY!!! You made it.

Tell me what you think of this. My 9 year old daughter is named Madison. This summer, she told that she wanted us to start calling her Elizabeth (this is her middle name). We all laughed at her and we all made a joke of it. She went to orientation at her new school, met her new teacher, and told the teacher that she goes by Elizabeth. WHAT?!!

So we keep getting these cards in the mail and emails referring to Elizabeth and we don't know who they are talking about. I asked MADISON why she wanted to be called Elizabeth, thinking it is because last year there were three Madisons in her class. No, her reasoning is that you can get more nicknames from Elizabeth. Now my sister is calling her Ellie and my other sister is calling her Elle. This is all great, but this is not the name we gave her!

I don't really care about what we call her but I just thought it was crazy. Now her family at home and all her old friends will call her Madison, and everyone else will call her Elizabeth. People tell me it is just a phase, but if her teachers are calling her Elizabeth, I am afraid it is going to stick.

Topic de jour. This is kind of a follow up to Wednesday's blog. First and foremost, I want to preface this blog by saying that we all have our opinions, and sometimes we are passionate about our opinions. I don't want you to think that when I give my opinion, I am knocking someone that has another opinion. I think we all have our reasons for doing the things we do and I think my blog is just a way of making you think about those reasons again and if they still apply. It is a way of asking ourselves questions. Is there a valid reason for my dressing this way? Why don't I dress up more? If I dressed up more, would I pull in more of a mature patient pool? I am sorry if I came across as if my way was the only way or I was putting other opinions down.

That being said, I was interested in how the comments came across. And I thought they were very spirited. It all comes down to what we like. But it got me thinking about our needs/likes versus patients needs/likes. Okay what I am thinking is, when does what we like trump what we know what the patient desires, and vise versa? When do the patients desires trump what makes us happy?

It can be as benign as what radio station we listen to all the way to if a tooth should be extracted or not. Some of the comments were kind of like, "I like what I wear and if patients don't like it they can go elsewhere," or "If the patient is leaving my office because they don't like what I wear then good, they didn't need to be a patient here anyway." Now I do not have a problem with dentists having this attitude, but again, when does it end?

I think we all have to weigh the pros and cons to "It is my practice I will do it the way that I want." If you are a young dentist and were brought up with hip-hop music but you have just bought a practice in a retirement community, you might have to listen to music that is not all your style in order for all the established patients to stay.

I think dentists think that "I am a good dentist and people should come to me because I am good." Meanwhile, they have not put a dime into new equipment in 20 years. The office looks like crap, with worn carpet and countertops that have been cleaned so many times that the color is gone from the linoleum, but people are still going to come to me because I am good.

People come to me because I am good and they don't care that they have to sit through electric guitar on classic rock station (Zeppelin kicks ass, man) during their recall appointment.

People come to me because I am good and they don't care if my prices are high.

People come to me because I am good and they don't care if I am running an hour behind.

People come to me because I am good and they don't care ______.

Do you see what I am saying?

The Ritz-Carlton is a hotel that caters to the rich, but I can assure you that they care about their clientele. The rooms are impeccable and the people are unbelievable. You have never heard, "It is my pleasure," more times in your life. (By the way, I have only stayed at the Ritz three times in my life, but you know what? It made a huge impression on me and how I want my patients to feel when they are here and after they leave.) This hotel that knows it has it all going on but still wants to know how they are doing. I think we all should want to know how we are doing. I have even received calls from my mechanic about how they did. MY MECHANIC!!!

I am not saying that because you dress casually, you don't care about what people think. I think about making myself happy, BUT there is always a caveat. I try very hard to make myself happy all the while thinking about how it makes my patients feel.
And I know what you are saying, "Then I am the only one that is NOT happy." Well, yes, sometimes.

But you know what makes me happy? When my staff and patients are happy. Of course, everyone is not always happy (please see previous blogs), so it makes it very hard for me to be happy. I don't know the answer. I am a people-pleaser, and it comes out in the way I operate my practice.

I don't want to come to the office on the weekends but I put my home and cell number on the machine at work because I want to help the person that needs my help, even if it is an inconvenience to me.

So where are we. I get the wanting to please me, but you know what? I think my patients liking me trumps my being happy. Does that make sense? I will wear clothes that might not be as comfortable just to portray an image. I will spend a bunch of money on my office so my patients will feel comfortable. I will spend an hour a week hand-writing letters to my new patients to make them feel welcome. Is it what I want? Well, I would rather be swimming with a beer in hand (hey, it is about 3 hours away). I think we all have to weigh our own happiness versus the client's happiness.

Good stuff today. I think this is a good topic. I welcome your discussion.

Have a great weekend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Dr. G.

My 9 y/o daughter's name is Elizabeth. She currently goes by Izzie. There are something like 16diminutives of Elizabeth, so good luck with that. I need it to.



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