I often liken the answering of the dental office phone to the meeting of a new “friend” at a barbeque, or at a cocktail party.

You want to find out a few things about the person you have just met, or have just been introduced to.

And you want to do this in a way that is comfortable to you, and is comfortable to the person you are speaking with.

The end result of an “introduction” or first conversation at a barbeque should be that both people end the conversation feeling that they are glad that they have met each other, and that they are hoping to meet up with each other again some time.

The end result of phoning a dental practice should be very similar.

The caller to the dental practice should end the call feeling that the dental receptionist they spoke with is a very nice person and has been very helpful, and that the caller is looking forward to meeting the receptionist in person, and that the caller is even looking forward to the possibility that the dental receptionist will phone and bring the caller’s first appointment forward, should there be a change in the dental practice’s schedule.

It’s quite sad…

With that outcome in mind, one of the things that really disappoints me when I phone dental practices, and when I listen to recordings of dental practice phone calls, is when I hear the dental receptionist talking and failing to find out the caller’s name.

Or worse still, I find it very poor form when I introduce myself by name at the beginning of a call, and then later on in the conversation I get asked by the receptionist:

“What did you say your name was again?”

Whenever a dental team member finds themselves having to say this question, they need to reprimand themselves.

If you just met a person at a cocktail party that you had never met, one of the first things you would find out is their name, isn’t it?

Yet I listen to dental practice phone call recordings where calls go on for several minutes before the receptionist bothers to connect or reconnect with the caller about their name.

Dale Carnegie wrote that:

“A man’s name to him is the sweetest sound in the language.”

And it is.

Everybody loves to hear their name used in conversations they are having.

So don’t be lazy.

When the phone rings at your dental office, find out as soon as possible who you are talking to, and bother to remember the caller’s name so that you can use their name back to them as many times as you can.

Never allow yourself to be in a position where you have to say:

“What did you say your name was again?”

Because the use of that phrase is totally wrong.

And the words that make up that phrase are totally wrong as well.


Dr. David Moffet BDS FPFA CSP is a certified CX Experience coach. David works with his wife Jayne Bandy to help SME businesses improve their Customer Service Systems to create memorable World Class experiences for their valued clients and customers. Click here to find out how David and Jayne can help your business