Customer Service? How Are YOUR Systems Really?

So you think your office does pretty good customer service?

After all, you’ve worked out your systems, and nobody is complaining?

Or are they?

Are your customers complaining “on the inside”?

Are your customers simply just putting up with what you dish up as being the industry norm?

Because if the industry norm is not so good, then helping your office to become better than the norm will make your office look like Customer Service Superstars.


So let me explain.

Today I had an appointment at a Specialist Radiology Practice for a cortisone injection for my replaced shoulder.

The cortisone is to reduce the inflammation in the bursa.

So here’s my journey for the morning….
When I rang the other day to schedule the appointment I was asked to come at 9:20am for a 9:30am appointment.

Now that makes sense.

And if you tell me to come early, I figure it’s so if I’m there early, and the doctor is running early, I’m in and prepped and ready for my shot well ahead of time.

And just like in an efficient Dental Office, the Radiology Practice has multiple rooms so that the assistants can have me in, shirt off, disinfected and lying on the table so that the doc only has to come in and make small talk and shoot me up and then disappear….

Rather than the Doc sitting in one room only all day waiting for that room to be turned over continuously before the next patients can be brought in.

Anyway, back to my arrival.

I worked out that the reason they ask you to arrive ten minutes early is so you can wait in line for ten minutes.

To check in.

Before you even get to the counter to answer the questions.

“Yes, I’ve been here before”

“Yes, here is my birthdate”

“Yes, Here is my address”

“Yes, Here is my Mobile Phone Number”

And yes, I’ve been there many many times before.

And today these questions were asked of me while another woman [who was waiting in line behind me] was brought forwards to pay for treatment she must have obviously just received.

So the receptionist checking me in started to multitask.

It became very confusing for me.

Because I wasn’t quite sure whether she was speaking to me or to the woman?

[Because she was looking at her paperwork while asking]

But I should be grateful to witness and experience this wonderful exhibition of multitasking, shouldn’t I?

The truth is that sufficient staff would allow for the easy processing of inbound patients as well as the efficient egress of those patients needing to settle their accounts, without the need for creating an unnecessary logjam.

Watch your language

While waiting in line for one of the three receptionists checking people in [there was also a fourth woman processing payments], I also overheard one of the ladies talking on the phone to someone making an appointment.

Interestingly, this very busy office had receptionists taking phone calls [via headsets] at the same time that they were meant to be dealing with live present, visible customers waiting to be served.

Anyway, she said, on the phone:

“So your appointment will be at 2:45 on Wednesday. If you could come in about ten minutes earlier at 2:35 so we can get you checked in that would be good…”


The use of the word “about” creates a vagary that allows the patient to arrive five, seven, three, two or eight minutes prior to the appointment time.

Or any time they want…

My thought is that if you want them there for their allotted time then you need to be specific.

I would have said:

“So your appointment will be at 2:45 on Wednesday and we need you here at 2:35 so we can…”

Clear and precise.

Crystal clear.

So then, after the mandatory

“Take a seat. You’ll be called shortly”

I’m soon called and brought down into the treatment room by the doctor’s assistant, where I’m prepped and made ready for the doctor.

And she’s telling me that there are two patients lined up before me before the doctor sees me.

We joke about his workload, and she tells me that the doctor usually can do up to forty injections per day.

So my rudimentary math works out that forty lots of five minutes [and I’m being generous] is 200 minutes so that’s a fairly healthy morning’s work?

And at $300.00 a pop that makes $12K for less than three and a half hours of work.

Now, that’s probably not the kind of information that needed to be shared with a patient.

And especially a patient like me who is disappointed when I can’t use my Amex card to acquire more points every time I get zapped or shot there.

And I know the ROI is not as good as the ophthalmic surgeon who billed me $1100.00 for a five-minute retinal zapping with a laser.

But not all patients are stupid.

So talking out of school, in your office is not wise.

It’s called *oversharing*.

Oversharing is when we offer up sensitive information that really has no purpose or benefit to the receiver of the information other than to diminish the respect for the doctor or the office…

Or in a social setting it’s simply just called gossip.

And it has no benefit.

You certainly do not need to overshare in a dental office.

If you are oversharing you need to work out how to eliminate it.

Finally, after my short, and very painless injection, I’m re-dressed and out on my way to settle my account.

Out the front.

Where again, there is a short delay.

Despite the fact that there is no one else there seeing the lady handling the payments.

She’s being distracted by another office employee in their area working out who is at morning tea and who is going next.


Can’t this be worked out ahead of time, and not in front of paying customers?

Can’t the schedule for breaks be planned in advance, without the need for a “break supervisor” to oversee operations?

In front of paying customers?

Again, they have a system.

But it’s an inefficient and very public system.

That could be much better.

How are the systems in your dental office?

Are they in need of review or vision?

Is your performance better than average, but still very average.

Is your office performance reflective of the fees that you charge?

Because there will always be people wanting to pay for an “experience”.

But it needs to be something Above and Beyond.

By a long shot.


Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order


The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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