Appropriate Attire Augurs Respect


I was called into a medical office because something was wrong. The physician and his employees couldn’t identify the problem.

All his employees were lovely, young blondes, dressed identically in skirts, blouses, sweaters, saddle shoes and socks. It looked like a high school campus.

I conducted a private interview with each staff member. The first was the office manager. I asked a few key questions regarding office procedures. Everything was done right. She said the patients did not take her seriously. They would not listen well to surgical instructions. I asked about her family. She was in her mid 40s and had two teenagers. I was shocked. I thought she was around 22 years old.

The next interview was with the office biller. Her procedures were proper as well. She said the patients did not keep the payment arrangements they made with her, although they did pay eventually.

The same scenario repeated with every interview. Each pretty woman looked about 22, but was in her 40s, married with children. They were grown women dressed like girls. I pointed out to the physician that the patients saw them as teenagers and treated them accordingly.

We all agreed that they could continue to be dressed alike because it was akin to wearing uniforms and made it easy to identify them as staff. But they should be dressed in jackets, blouses, skirts and flats, appropriate to their age and status.

Lesson: Dress your office staff like adults if you want compliant patients.

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