Have you ever thought about the type of music you play in your office? If not, you should because your patients are listening to it and it can be surprising how some will notice what you are playing. These days, with programs like Pandora and Spotify, it can be so simple to create new and interesting playlists for the office. The days of Lite FM—or your local light adult contemporary music station—as the default soundtrack to your day is over; if this is still happening, it is time for a major update.
Way back, when I used to work as a dental assistant and took a particular interest in the music played at work, I was younger and actually had time to go to concerts, listen to new bands, and so forth. These days I sadly do not, as much as I like to think I used to be pretty into good music at one time. I remember burning CDs and bringing them into the office and getting really excited if the patients appreciated my efforts.
Our office manager is in her mid-20s and into music, so she typically creates new playlists and adds new songs as they come out. If I have suggestions, I let her know, but the situation is pretty democratic. I don’t force any particular music on anyone, and while she and the assistants do have tendency to play a bit too much Taylor Swift for my liking, for the most part, everyone is happy. This is actually my primary way of listening to new music, since I rarely have time to or remember to do this at home.
But do patients actually care about what music you are playing? The answer is yes. I have one patient who really enjoys the music we play, and ever since his first visit we chitchat about new music and concerts that we can’t go to anymore since we are both parents. We have had patients complain about the music, too—not many, but some are very particular about wanting to listen to something classical or new-agey while getting their teeth cleaned. We should always consider our patient requests.
Although I have been meaning to write on this topic for a while, what triggered it was a conversation that I recently had with a fellow mom in my neighborhood. She was telling me her latest dental story (as soon as word gets out that I’m a dentist I hear ALL of the stories). She was referred to an endodontist for a root canal and was extremely put off because he had sports radio playing in the background the ENTIRE time. Common sense here goes a long way, guys. If you have any type of patient, you may want to ask if they would enjoy listening to a live broadcast of a baseball game. I know some dentists are very particular about their music and may only play what they like. It could be classical music; it could be 80s rock. But ask your staff to contribute, and include a lot of variety for your staff and your patients. This way, everyone is happy and not resentful that they have to listen to Bon Jovi all day.
Lilya Horowitz, DDS