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Is a smiling friendly person enough to answer your phone?

Who should be answering your phone in your Dental Practice?

Who should we be hiring?

Is a friendly, smiling and kind person who has worked the front office in another Dental Practice previously, enough?

Well I would have to say it’s a good start. But not enough!


Yes the personable, social and likeable person is a definite plus when it comes to answering your phone and being the first point of contact with your business. However, it’s not the be all and end all. You need to make sure there are definite systems in place for answering the phone effectively.

You need to have control over what the front office is saying to the New Patient Enquiry and your existing patients. If you don’t then you will not know why your business is not growing.

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a few days since going to have my back scanned.

It was the type of Imaging place where you can arrive with no appointment.

And to me that’s trouble. To me that says you’ll be waiting a while.

So here’s what happened.

On arrival at the Imaging Centre my first task was to get the attention of the front office girl who was hidden behind a shield/desk (not too sure what they are hiding? Maybe her desk was super messy?) I could see the tips of their heads as I walked in but NO smiles.

She finally looked up. No smile (at this point I realized maybe hiring the smiling friendly person was a good move).

Imagine if she had stood up from her desk to greet and acknowledge me?

I handed her my referral. Even though it had my name on it, she never said “Hello Jayne”.

She then asked my date of birth and do I have my Medicare Card? Then next thing she said was “Take a seat”. I asked if it would be very long to wait and she said no. That was my interaction with her!

During the forty five minute wait …….I sat and sat and listened and listened.

I listened to the phone ringing quite a number of times before it was picked up.

I listened to the five girls coming and going on the front desk who actually believed the shield/desk was actually sound proof!

I listened to a brief telephone answering script. The first question was Date of Birth and Medicare Number then Surname. Finally she asked the caller’s first name.

Wow, imagine if she had started with what people like to hear the most…their first name.

I listened to:

  • • “When would you like to come in?”
  • • “Do you want to come in today?”
  • • “Do you want 11.30am? or earlier or later?”

These are wrong. So wrong.

Asking the caller whether they would like morning or afternoon gives you more control. It lets you make an appointment for the patient that suits your appointment book while still giving the caller choices.

Remember, all interaction with people in your business, especially when on the phone, should be to increase future business and revenue.

I watched people arriving at this office for images. Many times there was more interaction amongst the staff than between the staff and the patients.

Sadly, in many places of business the client is often seen to be a one off visitor. They don’t consider them to be clients of any value.

What if the patient has to have another scan or x-ray in the future and remembers the interaction they received?

What if they actually refer their friends and family to your business?

Could that be good for your business?


This blog will feature 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 three 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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