Trapped at the Front Desk by “Chatty Cathy”?

Dental Office Managers or Business/Scheduling Coordinators know what I am talking about when I say, “I am trapped at the desk by a “chatty cathy” or a “motor-mouth” co-worker.  The person who wants to talk while you are trying to work.  While this person seems to have no decorum you on the other hand have no “assertiveness” because you don’t want to hurt their feelings or get a reputation (heaven forbid) of being cold and rude.  Right?  So you let them chat away while you try to smile and nod your way through posting or working on the schedule.

This is called a “special situation” because it doesn’t have an actual system in the Office Practice Manual describing what to do.

These are some of the words recommended to say when tired of being confronted and trapped.

Oh, I am so glad you came up, can you please call these patients and get them in for their recall appointment?”   (they will help you but probably won’t come back)

“I love hearing your story but I am swamped and don’t have a second to spare right now.”

“Seeing you reminds me, I have to call Aetna insurance about (patient name) coming in later today.”

“Say, if you are looking for something to do, would you file these, please. I just can’t find the time today and it would really help me.”

What if the chatty person is a patient?  Give them two minutes maximum and then say:

I love hearing your stories but I have got to get back to work.

It is always a pleasure visiting with you, but now work is calling and I have to get busy.

To some people, it may look like you aren’t busy but we all know there is more work at the front desk than anywhere else in the office.  Use these opportunities to get help not get trapped.


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