Advice Every Dental Practice Should Hear: From a Baseball Usher

By: Kevin Henry

I recently was in St. Petersburg, Fla., for an Ignite dental strategy session with Dr. David Rice. While I was there, we went on a bicycle tour that took us by Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays. As we pedaled past, I had a flashback to being there for a baseball game in 2019.

The last time I was at “The Trop,” I was attending a Rays game as part of the media contingent covering the Colorado Rockies, who were on a road trip through Florida to play the Rays and Miami Marlins. You see, in my non-dental time, I cover the Rockies for Baseball has always been in my blood and I am blessed to be able to write about it regularly.

Being a part of the media team, I always get to the game about five hours before the first pitch and I am inside long before fans are ever allowed in. Of course, with this early access, I see a lot of “behind-the-scenes” activity.

The concession stands are getting their food deliveries and the souvenir stands are organizing and preparing for fans to look through their jerseys, shirts, and hats for purchase. The restrooms are being mopped and the seats are being wiped down. Everyone is prepping ahead of time to make sure the fans have a great experience inside the ballpark.

On this day, I walked by the group of ushers and gate attendants who were getting their last-minute instructions from the leader of the group. One sentence he said caught my attention as I walked past…

“Remember, you’re here to make sure these fans enjoy their day today and come back tomorrow.”

Make Sure Your Patients Have a Good Experience So They Will Come Back

Now certainly working in a dental practice is different than working at Tropicana Field (or any other stadium in the world). However, the sentiment, when boiled down, can be very much the same.

As dental professionals, we know that you don’t just work inside a practice. You work inside a small business.

Part of your business’s success is making sure that your customers turn into repeat customers and buy the services that you offer.

We know that dental patients will often “price shop” for services and their loyalty to one practice (or one business) can often be lessened through the allure of the lower price.

Make Your Clients Feel Important

What can overcome lower price? What can alleviate some of those wandering eyes from your patients? The feelings that they get when they walk through your doors. Any customer in any field wants to feel like the most important person in the world when they interact with your business. That includes your dental practice … and involves every member of your practice.

Leave Your Non-Work Problems at the Door

I am a firm believer that dental assistants are often the biggest conduit between the patient and the practice. With that in mind, the assistant’s attitude every day plays such a key role in not only the overall atmosphere of the practice “behind the scenes” but also in the eyes of every customer with whom he or she interacts.

A friend of mine owns a dental practice in Tennessee. Near the team entrance at the back of his practice, he has a big luggage rack with a sign above it that reads, “Leave your baggage here.” He doesn’t want his team members carrying the baggage of the “outside world” into work with them on any day. He is a strong believer that whatever happens outside of work hours should have no effect on the attitude his employees bring into the practice (and the lives of their customers) on a daily basis.

So what’s your attitude every day when you walk through those doors? Are you making sure your customers feel important … or are you making them feel like numbers?

Keep Your Dental Practice Great

While your patients may not necessarily “enjoy” their trip to the dental practice, they can certainly enjoy the moments they have with you. Those moments can be the things they remember rather than the procedure itself. Moments like those can ensure that the patient comes back for treatment and regular visits … and those moments can also help the foundation for the success for your business.

I’m a firm believer that, when a business succeeds, its employees should succeed as well. However, everyone has to do what they can to ensure success for their business. Assistants, what are you doing today to ensure your practice’s success for tomorrow and beyond?

Up Next: What’s Keeping You Good Rather Than Great?

Image Credit

Kevin Henry

Kevin Henry

With more than 20 years in the dental publishing industry, Kevin Henry is the former group editorial director for Dental Products Report, managing editor for Dental Economics, and editor-in-chief for He now serves as the co-founder for IgniteDA, a community designed to empower, enlighten, and educate dental assistants, and as director of marketing for Fortune Management. He has spoken to dental assistants throughout the world, in person and through the Dental Assistant Nation podcast series, reminding them of the important role they play every day in their practice. He is also certified as a DiSC trainer, helping dental practices learn how to understand each other better through personality assessments and training.