I phone a lot of dental practices.

Week in and week out, I’m calling in to dental offices on their phones.

And you should hear some of the “poor form” that I have to experience.

The good thing for these practices where I hear performances that would make the owners cringe and would make regular patients’ and potential patients’ blood boil, is that I am not a patient or potential patient….

But, just because I am not a potential patient, doesn’t mean that the behaviour that I experience on these dental practice phones is acceptable.

The number of times that I say to myself on one of these calls:

“Imagine if I was a REAL PATIENT experiencing this behaviour?”

is staggering.

In fact, it’s past frightening…. it’s TERRIFYING!

And the poor old dentist owner has no idea that callers to his practice are being treated so poorly.

Because the dentist doesn’t record incoming phone calls.

And the dentist doesn’t employ a skilled coach to work with the team on the behaviours that they hear on these phone calls.

But that’s a whole OTHER matter.

When I receive these “I don’t give a rat’s” receptions on my phone calls to dental practices, I just think to myself, that they are so fortunate that I am not a new patient calling to enquire about veneers, or Invisalign, or implants.

Because the way that these people answering the dental phone behave, if I was thinking about spending any money at all at that office…. once I experienced their rudeness, their apathy, and their indifference, I’d be hanging up immediately and calling another dental practice.

And I’m sure that’s exactly what happens….

And sometimes it’s not the team member’s fault…

Sometimes the team member puts the caller on hold, and the on-hold recorded message says this:

“If you need to make an appointment, please go to our website and use our online booking facility.”

Yes really.

Well, knock me down with a feather.

The reason that patients and new patients have phoned your dental practice in the first place is because they ACTUALLY WANT TO talk to a real live person and discuss their dental concerns.

Otherwise they would have stayed on your website in the first instance and made the online booking.

So having this redundant dumb-arsed message on your on-hold recording is really delivering a virtual insult to those people who call your office who actually want to speak to someone while they discuss their dental concerns.

Thirty-eight percent of calls to a dental practice don’t get answered…

Staggeringly, about two out of every five telephone calls to a dental practice do not even get answered.

Most of those calls get dumped across into a phone answering service, and guess what happens there?

Yes, most of those callers do not leave a message.

Imagine losing 38% of your telephone enquiries, simply because your team don’t know what to do when they need to juggle an incoming phone call?

It’s pathetic really.

So many times I hear of dental offices where team members have no idea of how to manage multiple incoming phone calls…

Or team members have no idea of what to do and say when the phone rings, while they have a real live patient or person in front of them at the dental office.

This is when patients and new patients leak out of the dental practice.

In fact it’s more than leaking.

It’s actually more than bleeding…

It’s when patients and new patients haemorrhage out of a dental practice….

And the dentist owner has no idea because they don’t record incoming phone calls and they don’t have anybody coaching their team on what to do…

[And when I talk about PHONE COACHING, you’re going to want a coach who has actually been a dental front office employee, and done what they coach. What you don’t want is someone who has NEVER answered a dental office phone for a living, or someone who just lectures you on what they think you should be saying, because they heard about it in their wife’s practice or in a client’s practice.]

And if you think that callers to your dental practice are going to leave messages and are going to magically go and book online after being flick passed to your message service, then you probably believe in the tooth fairy too.

The fact is that a significant number of patients leak out of a dental practice due to apathy displayed towards them by the front office staff.

And that apathy begins before the caller has even been greeted initially on their first phone call to the dental practice.

And if you’re not recording, and you’re not listening to recordings or working with a coach who does listen to your recordings, you really are pushing the proverbial up a hill with a stick.

And so when a dentist in your town does start working with a qualified phone coach, that dental office does increase their NP numbers, because callers to that dental office do notice a considerable point of difference.

A point of difference in the way those callers are greeted and treated.

It’s a fairly simple choice.

Remember, you only get one chance to make a great first impression….

Is it time to rethink what your dental practice is doing on your phones?


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