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97% of Dentists I have spoken to have no idea why so many calls comes into their office and still do not make an appointment.

Calls and NO appointments seem to be happening a lot.

And why?

Surely if the caller has researched you and then chosen to call your Dental Office, they must be ready to make an appointment?

Well it is not happening!

When a call comes in to our Dental Office, are we really finding out what we need to know to be able to help the caller then say YES and make their appointment?

Most of the time we are not.

We think we are because after all we do ask them:

  • “When was the last time you visited the dentist?”
  • “How long has it been since you had your teeth cleaned?”
  • “What is the problem?”
  • “What sort of appointment do you need?”
  • “Is it painful?”
  • “How long have you been in pain?”

Do the generic questions we ask really find out what the person’s dental problem is?


Asking a few questions so we can then make the caller an appointment is fabulous, but does the caller always make an appointment?

I started to think about this…

Why do some callers make appointments and some don’t?

I then worked it out.

When a caller rings our office, they do have a dental problem, issue or question they need addressed and we all know the best way to help them is to get them in to see the dentist.

What we forget is that each caller is thinking about their problem differently before they call us.

Is the caller ready before they call us to make an appointment or do they need help when they call with their decision making?

Do we find this out first?

This is so hard to determine when we have never spoken to them before and know nothing about what they have been thinking about before we speak to them.

There are two types of callers:

  1. The caller who was ready to make an appointment before they actually call
  2. The caller who is unsure about making an appointment before they call

One caller is ready because they have enough urgency and concern to take action and get moving and the other caller does not have urgency and concern and is unsure.

Part of our job when a person calls our Dental Office is to determine their level of readiness, find out why they are unsure about and build the urgency and concern so they say yes and go ahead and make an appointment.

If the urgency and concern are not there then no appointment will be made and most of the time this is why people call your office and the front office taking the call does not make the appointment for them.

Is it worth developing the skills to:

  • Determine the level of urgency and concern of the caller
  • Build urgency and concern in the caller
  • Increase the number of appointments made over the phone

I am sure your answer is YES!

Once you know how to find out what the real problem and pain for the patient is, then you will have so much more success in making appointments and knowing how to help the caller when they actually come in.

Knowing what to ask people on the phone to find out their problem and pain will greatly improve your conversion of calls to appointments.

What you find out over the phone now becomes a vital part of the patient’s ongoing treatment and care and not just a series of generic questions every Dental Office asks.

When I train Dental Offices I teach their front office people the right questions to ask when on the phone.


This blog features simple practical ideas that are easy to implement tomorrow in your Dental Office, impacting immediately on your Patients’ Dental  Phone Experiences, and ultimately, improving your practice profitability.

At present I have availability for two new private clients. For more information on how I can improve your Dental Office’s Phone Numbers contact me, Jayne Bandy at  jayne@theDPE.com

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