Monday, August 23, 2010

Will you take a post-dated, out-of-state, 2 party check for $ .02?

Well, I am sitting here in my office on a beautiful Monday morning. As I do every day, I am wearing burgundy silk pajamas with a matching robe/lab coat with my office logo on it. Closed toe, velvet slippers keep my feet warm and OSHA compliant. I like to smoke a pipe in the office but while working on patients I don't want to drop hot ash on their face, so I installed a Hookah pipe. Over the sound system is the best of Eminem. A giant University of Florida pinata hangs in the children's play area - the kids use Florida State baseball bats to beat the living *&^$* out of it. When it bursts open, orange gumballs fall out and "Rocky Top" is played. Talk about a practice builder. . .

I could go on and on, but I don't want to give away all of my practice secrets.

Seriously, I have really enjoyed reading the blog for the past few posts and love the passionate discussion on dress in the office. I'm going to give you my 2 cents - but since it is payday, could you wait to cash it until Thursday? ...Awesome...

When I opened my office 4 years ago, the clothes I wore and the uniforms my staff wore were designed to convey the image that we were an established office. That is the same reason I hired 2 employees instead of one (or none at all). When people walk into an established office there is usually more than 1 employee. In 4 years, I have had to tell a patient how long I have been in practice exactly once and that was 2 months after I opened and the patient was coming in for a 2nd opinion because the dentist he had gone to "was brand new out of school" and he didn't trust him. Come to find out, he was a classmate of mine (although 8 years younger). He was dead-spot on with his diagnosis but the patient had an image in mind of who was trustworthy, and age was important to him.

The image I wanted, and still want, to convey to every patient has to be consistent. From the marketing material, our website, the magazines in the reception room to the appearance of the front-desk, the staff image, the operatory image, the music we play, and finally, me. It all has to say the same thing - but what it has to say for me is not what it has to say for you. For me, I needed it to say that this 34 year old, salt-and-pepper haired dentist isn't brand-new out of school - he just relocated to this area. The final piece of that image was the self-confidence that I conveyed when I walked into that operatory. For me to feel self-confident I had to be wearing what we call business casual.

As any of my friends can tell you, after growing up in a school that required ties since 1st grade, then practicing law for several years (did I mention that judges expect ties to be worn?) - I'm done wearing ties. I wear them when I speak on behalf of the AGD and when I go to funerals, but not in the office.

I do not wear scrubs for one simple reason: to me, they do not convey the image of professional. Outside of the OR, they convey the image of "I want to convey the image that I am a real doctor," and that doesn't work for me. I also see scrubs worn by the carousel operator at the mall. I haven't asked, but I'm pretty sure she is not moonlighting from her regular orthopedic surgery job. OK, maybe there is another reason - I don't look good in scrubs. If I was buff and cut, maybe I could pull it off (like a Nip/Tuck DDS kind of thing).

So, that said, what works for your office may be completely different. What demographic do you draw from? What image does your physical space convey? If I work in a spa-like setting and come out wearing loud ties and bright colors, something is going to feel off. If I am a young dentist working with a patient demographic over the age of 50, I might consider wearing a tie. To me, the clothes you wear have to fit the personality you have, otherwise you will not be relaxed and the patient will, at least subconsciously, feel that something is not right - and that hurts the bottom line. And as anyone who has read my blog for the past year knows, I'm all about protecting the bottom line.

Have a great week!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Burgundy silk pajamas. $295 on debit MasterCard.

Hookah pipe. $75 on debit Mastercard.

Florida State baseball bats. $62 on debit Mastercard.

Masterpiece Theater meets Sesame Street in my dentist's office? Priceless.


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