You know sometimes I tell you that you can’t make some of this stuff up…

Well, it’s happened again.

Just when you think that dental practices are getting the message about delivering Five Star Customer Service and an Ultimate Patient Experience, you find out that there are some practices out there that are implementing the most RUTHLESS short cuts in their practices to save pennies, that are causing their practices to BLEED tens of thousands of dollars from their top line….

And maybe that could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Per year.

Every year.

Let me explain…

It’s a well known fact that nobody really likes going to the dentist.

And even the toughest and strongest people are apprehensive when it comes to simple things like walking in the dental practice front door, and then sitting calmly and patiently waiting for the dentist to see them.

It’s certainly not a TOP TEN way that I’d choose to pass the time of day and relax…

Yet some dental practices forget this mental discomfort and anguish that their patients may be feeling, each and every time they have a dental appointment scheduled…

What doesn’t help…

I know of dental practices that prefer their front office team members to be transactional cashiers rather than receptionists.

These dental practices employ someone to process payments and to schedule appointments for patients, but if there are no patients leaving the practice, these receptionists are expected to leave the front desk un-manned and are required to go down the back and assist with instrument sterilisation and other clinical duties.

And while the front desk is unattended, often a small bell is deemed by the practice owner as being the most perfectly adequate way of greeting an arriving patient.

You have to be kidding me?

What sort of a message does that send to the arriving patient?


Imagine you are arriving at the dental practice to spend a few thousand dollars right there and then on your dental health, and there’s not a soul around to greet you because they’re down the back scrubbing blood and debris off dental scalers?

I know if I was that patient I wouldn’t be enamoured by this display of apathy from the dental practice…

It gets worse…

Did you ever hear the story about the restaurant where the phone rang, and the caller asked if they could order their meal to be delivered…

The restaurant wrote down the food order, and when they asked for the delivery address, the caller said they were sitting in the restaurant by the window… they just hadn’t seen a waiter for a while to take their order.

As you know we listen to recordings of incoming phone calls at our clients’ dental practices.

And recently we heard a patient phone the practice to let them know that they [the patient] had arrived at the practice for their appointment and they had been sitting in the dental practice waiting room for the past five minutes …. obviously the front desk at this dental practice had been left unattended for that amount of time …

You would think…

You would think that the staff at that dental practice would have had a schedule of patients for that day, along with a list of times those patients were due to arrive.

And as a result of having that information, these staff would have been able to have liaised with each other to ensure that no patient ever arrived to a dental front desk situation that was not guaranteed to be manned for the arriving patient.

Not having a receptionist there at your front desk to greet arriving patients and to keep them at ease while they wait for their appointment represents a metaphorical slap in the face for all those clients of the dental practice who would be arriving at that practice and would be expecting some degree of human interaction and human service.

Dentistry and the provision of dental services is a very personal process. All dental services and patient interactions need to be delivered as personally and as personably as possible.“

And that’s best done by a human being.

And not by a sign. Or by a bell.

An unattended front desk at a dental office says this to arriving patients:

“We take you for granted.”

No patient arriving at a dental practice should ever have to feel so abandoned that they need to phone in their arrival to the practice….

Remember, the number one reason that patients leave their [previous] dental practice and go elsewhere for their dental treatment is because of APATHY and the feeling of PERCEIVED APATHY that the patient receives at their [previous] dental practice.

Don’t allow perceived apathy to be the reason that your patients start marching out your doors…


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