Five Things You Never Want To Hear At A Dental Handover

In the Best Dental Offices, the Handovers are the most critical events in the day.

A great handover is like a perfect 4x100m track relay baton change.

It is seamless and graceful with maximum efficiency.

There is no slow down, no stop, no restart and no re-go.

It’s all one efficient, fluid event.

And it’s meant to be exactly the same in the Dental Office.

The most crucial Handover in the Dental Office is the Handover of the patient following treatment once they have been brought out to the Front Office.

This Handover is best done by the assisting Dental Assistant, rather than by the Dentist. When the Dental Assistant is doing the Handover, the instructions and explanations that she will be re-telling to the Front Office Person will have been told to her, in front of that patient, by the Dentist down in the operatory a few minutes earlier.

The patient then gets to hear these messages an extra time in the process of their Treatment Cycle, and by so doing, this adds to the patient’s process of assimilation so that they understand more fully what treatment they have had and what treatment they still need to complete.

There is no downside from having the patient hear this information more than once.

None at all.

Where there is downside is when there are incorrect and inappropriate phrases used at the Front Office Handover.

Probably the major purpose of a great Front office Handover is to create sufficient concern for the patient so that their attendance at their next dental appointment becomes of vital importance to them.

And not “just another visit”.

Softening words and flowery terminology should never be used at the Handover.

Sadly, Dental Hygienists can be our worst culprits sometimes when it comes to doing Handovers.

Everything’s wonderful.

A dental hygienist who exclaims this phrase to the Front Office Person at the post–treatment Handover is not doing anybody any favours at all.

You see, the last I looked, the mouth was a hostile environment!

A very hostile environment.

There’s bugs and debris in there.

Acids and all sorts of bad stuff.

And forces? Forces being applied in there that can tear flesh from bone and open plastic bags, and bottles….

So it’s not wonderful.

It’s a time bomb waiting to explode.

There is always at least one are of concern that needs to be mentioned to the patient as a reason for them to return.

At least one.

That requires our expert opinion and treatment.

So no.

Everything is NOT wonderful…

She’s All Good to go!

Here’s another softening statement that does absolutely nothing to add value to today’s appointment and creates a lower urgency for re-booking and maintaining that next appointment.

Sure, the appointment for today is over.

But the handover needs to be the place where the patient hears exactly what and everything that was done for them today.


Not some flowery summary.

The only thing good to go about someone using the phrase “Good to Go” is that that person using the phrase is identifying themselves as maybe they are ready to go…and work somewhere else…

The second thing about this phrase that is so grating is the use of the pronoun “she” in front of the patient.

All of a sudden our client has become a nameless “she”, rather than being “Mrs. Jones”.

If you want to drive your customers away with insensitivities, then refer to them by “he” or “she” in front of them.

It’s just so wrong.

“SHE, is the cat’s mother”, my own mother used to say.

There is no place for pronouns at an Ultimate Patient Experience Handover.

Not a problem and No worries

These are two phrases from the vernacular that should be eliminated from use.

By firing squad if necessary.

What do they actually mean?

They have no true purpose.

Why not substitute “You’re very welcome” or “It’s been my pleasure”

These two phrases instead have a meaning and a purpose, reflecting to the customer that you have enjoyed being of service to them.

Whereas the other two phrases, by mentioning negative words like “problem” and “worries”, through implication, infer that the patient has been an interruption to us.

“not a problem” and “no worries” have absolutely no place in a World Class Dental Office.

The Usual

I once heard a dental hygienist tell a front office person to book the patient in for “the usual”.

What on earth is that?

If that sort of instruction is being given at a handover, it’s no wonder indeed that Dental Offices are having difficulties with cancellations and reschedules and no-shows.

A directive like this gives no compelling reason to return for the Front Office Person to emphasise and cement in the patient’s mind.

There is absolutely no “Usual” when it comes to Dental treatment.

And that thought or message should never be conveyed.

There are a lot of things being said and done in the Dental Office that undo some of the great Customer Service being performed by other team members.

Either deliberately or by accident.

Nonetheless, eliminating these phrases mentioned above from your team’s vocabulary will go a long long way towards raising the bar in your Dental Office when it comes to creating a better experience for your Customers.

An Ultimate Patient Experience….

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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