There are a number of questions not to ask your patient but my all time least favourite is…..

“Have you been here before?”

Why is this such a bad question to ask?

Because you might as well say…..

““Who are you?”

“I don’t remember who you are?”

And what your patient hears is……

“You are not important to me.”

“I have never seen you before.”

“You are not special.”

If you want to send your patient the message that you don’t really care and you don’t acknowledge them then keep asking your patients this question, “have you been here before?”

Look I do know why this question is asked and it does sort of make sense.

When a person calls your dental office you want to know if they are a New Patient or Existing Patient. This is great but have a good look at how you find this out.

So what do you say when a caller rings and you want to find out if they are an existing patient or a new patient without actually offending them?

I did work with a dental office where the front office coordinator appeared to know nearly every one of her existing patients when they called the office but let’s get real, most of us are not this gifted in identifying our patients by their voice.

You want to find out the name of the caller first.

“Hi Jenny when was your last appointment with Dr Brown/ at Brown Dental?”

This identifies the caller immediately as an Existing or New Patient.

If they are an Existing Patient, you want to look up their patient file.

You can now go to their appointment and will be able to see their first and last name.

You can also ask Jenny for her surname. If you feel the patient would expect you know who they are then always be polite and say, “ I thought it was you Jenny!”

No one is perfect, except the front office coordinator I spoke about previously but she was especially talented in the memory department!

Can you see how this is so much better than, “have you been here before”, especially if this patient has been coming to your practice for the last 10 years?

You want to speak to your patients at all times in a way that eliminates or reduces any awkwardness, embarrassment or perceived rudeness.

We all know that some of our patients are more memorable than others for a number of reasons, both positive and negative.

I know they are just words but they are words that can help you avoid a sticky situation where a patient is hurt that you don’t remember them.

Keep in mind we all love to be acknowledged and noticed. Don’t you?


If you are interested in a Call Tracking Service or have any questions please call 1300 387 044 or email


How To Turn Every Dental Phone Call Into A Valued and Kept Appointment- “Dental Phone Excellence is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system that works.”

Melbourne Master Class- Friday 1st March 2019

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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…..

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


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