There is such a focus on what to say on the phone with your patients but are you thinking about what you should not be saying to your patients?

Here are a few phrases that are being said on the phone calls and should NOT.

  1. “That is OK.”

If patients call to cancel their appointment, we often say it is OK.

Our patient hears, “It’s alright to cancel an appointment.”

We know it is never a good thing when your patient calls to cancel or change their appointment.

I know there are times when patients have a valid reason why they need to cancel.

It is much better to say:

“Is everything OK?” (Now it’s OK to say OK!)

Once you get to the bottom of it and ask the patient the reason for the cancellation, you can now see if you can offer a solution and try to keep the patient coming in for their appointment.

You can ask these questions:

“Is there anything I can do to help you keep your appointment.”

“Is there any way you can change a few things so you can still keep your appointment?”

“Your treatment for__________________is very important.” (build urgency for the type of treatment and care they need.)

Take control of the call and help your patient keep the appointment or make another appointment immediately.

Always avoid your patient cancelling with no next step and no appointment.


  1. Would you like to make an appointment?”

So why do we ask if they would like an appointment. The patient now has a choice and can say no!

It is much better to say:

“Let me make you an appointment for_____________. Would you prefer morning or afternoon?”


  1. Answer the caller’s first question.

 The first question is important but is it usually not the only important thing a caller wants to know.

Find out what else is important to the caller.

Start asking questions.

You are now helping the caller to stay more focused on their dental problem and concern.

You can then come back to the original question and answer it. You are now more likely to make and confirm an appointment at the end of the call.


  1. “No, I do not have that time available.”

Always let the caller know what appointment times you do have, not what you do not have.

This maintains a positive call, guiding the patient to the available appointment that suits them and your appointment book.

Often a caller will ask for a specific time but never ever presume this is the only time they can come in.


  1. “We have no parking available.”

This is another “NO” response we should avoid saying.

Why not let the caller know what you do have available rather than what you do not.

After working in a city practice with little on site-parking, I soon discovered that the city had plenty of parking.

Let the caller know where other patients find parking and even send a parking map to make it easy for them.

See how much better this is than saying “NO”.


  1. “Dr Jones is away for two weeks.”

Make the appointment for two weeks-time.

No patient likes to hear their dentist is away on holiday.

All the patient needs to know is that Dr Jones has an appointment available for them in two weeks-time.

If it is an emergency and treatment cannot be delayed, then have a contingency plan to see a trusted colleague.


  1. “We are not a preferred provider.”

Always ask other questions first and then once you have built some rapport and found out what their dental problem and concern is, then you can address the preferred provider question.

If you are not a preferred provider then why not let the caller know that many of your patients are with their same insurer and choose to come to your practice for the very best care and advice you offer. After all there must have been something else that attracted them to you!


  1. “There is a cancellation fee.”

This is the best way to turn a patient off.

The message you send is I know you will cancel and so to stop you I will threaten you with an extra charge and scare you into not cancelling.

Your patient then cancels their appointment, never pays the fee and goes to another dentist.

Set up the appointment on the phone so the caller is committed and serious about the appointment that has been reserved and confirmed at the time they made the appointment.


Can you see how important it is to carefully choose your words, when you speak to your patients?

Have a think about what you say to your patients. It might be time to change a few phrases.



Call Tracking Excellence

With Call Tracking Excellence your team will learn the SAME exact processes Jayne used to:  

1. Dramatically improve new patient call-in conversions to booked appointments..

2. Retain existing patient appointments and

3. Prevent ongoing losses from appointment cancellations.


Click this link to find out how to get started. It’s that easy!


Watch this space. There is something very EXCITING coming your way for 2021. I have been wanting to give this to you for quite a while now and it is all happening VERY SOON!


If you want to know about the Dental Phone Excellence System I developed over many years working in my own Dental Practice and the same System I now share with many Dental Teams, then give me a call or send me a quick email.

The teams I have worked with all say how much easier it is using the Dental Phone Excellence System, when they answer calls and how many more kept appointments they make and confirm for their patients.

1300 378 044 or


Dental Phone Excellence is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system I developed that helped me to build an extraordinary dental practice in the heart of working class western Sydney.

If you’d like to know more, download my sixteen page FREE special report “How I Quickly and Easily Went From 35% to 77% New Patient Telephone Conversions, and Doubled The Size of my Dental Practice Along the Way” and discover some of the many costly mistakes being made on your phone…..


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