A trip to the periodontist is no fun. I know it, you know it — and even the periodontist knows it. From the moment I arrived in the office, all of his staff acknowledged that it was I likely I would rather be anywhere else. From comments like: “How was your day — up until now?” or “Are you excited to see us today? — not!” the staff did their best to empathize with the fact that all of their clientele is there reluctantly.

Yet, even though it was a (literally) painful experience, it also was one of the best service environments that I have seen. There was thorough and helpful pre-appointment communication. The staff had light banter back and forth while doing what they could to make me comfortable. The doctor was personable and took the time to explain things to me, tell funny stories while he was drilling away at my bone, and even gave his cell phone number so that I could “text him or call, even at 2 a.m. if there is a problem.”

A new staff person was shadowing my procedure and commented that she began working there because “the staff genuinely likes each other — and that makes such a difference.” It does — for both the employees as well as the patients.

If the periodontist can create such a positive culture despite providing a service that is inherently expensive, painful, and dreaded, think of what you can do in your environment where the rewards are likely more desirable. You may not have control over your work but you do have the ability to shape how you do it.

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