How’s Your Phone? You Won’t Believe How Badly This Doctor’s Phone Was Answered…


“No one should ever treat customers as an interruption. On the contrary, customers should always feel welcomed and encouraged to interrupt us whenever they want to.” – Shep Hyken 




You can’t believe what goes on out there in telephone land behind your backs, Doctors.

The other day, my wife Jayne, who works in my Dental office with me, had a need to phone a dental colleague of mine.

Now, she called his office on a day when my colleague was not working, but other dentists were there treating patients that day.

Jayne wanted, or needed to know, about a particular dental supply that our office had been given by my friend, and where to order some more of that product from.

Here’s how the phone call went:

Ring. Ring.

Them: “Hello.”

Jayne: “Hello? Is that Dr Smith’s office?”

Them: “Yes, it is.”

Let’s just pause this right here.

Poor old Dr Smith. I bet he has no idea that this person who he had bestowed this honour of answering his incoming phone line is acting with such disrespect toward that duty that she has been chosen to perform.


Hello? You have got to be kidding me. I just couldn’t believe this story when Jayne retold it to me.


The young lady’s response was just like water off a duck’s back.

Jayne said that this young lady just didn’t respond as if she had done anything incorrectly….

However, the story gets worse…

When Jayne explained and asked about the product, which I think was a laboratory product that we use sporadically from time to time, but which comes only in industrial quantities, for some ridiculous reason, anyway, when Jayne started enquiring, the assistance and help from this young lady was definitely not provided with any form of enthusiasm.  Whatsoever. And sadly, I use the words “assistance” and “help”, in their most loose and relaxed definitions.

Jayne wanted to know where Dr Smith purchased this product, and who was the dental supply company that provided it.

The young lady replied, “Oh I wouldn’t know. Dr Smith does all the ordering here.”

Sadly, TMI. Too much information here.

If Dr Smith chooses to manage the stock control and levels and supply within his dental office rather than delegate that duty, then that’s his business.

Not our business.

I’m sure it’s not an industry norm. I’m sure he’s in the minority. But I’m positive that if that’s what he chooses to do, it’s probably *NOT* something that Dr Smith would like blurted around.

I’m glad Dr Smith has the time to look after his stock control and his dental supplies. Personally, I don’t. And I delegate.

And there are pitfalls and pros and cons with that delegation.

And that’s a topic for a whole other blog. On another day.

A business blog.

Anyway back to this call.

I think Jayne was able to persuade, or asked for the young lady to try and find something for her.

Because what happened next will shock you, I’m sure. Just as it shocked Jayne. And me.

While the young lady was on the phone to Jayne, searching, a second incoming phone line began to ring at Dr Smith’s office.

And it rang.

And it rang.

And it rang.

And it continued to ring.

And ring.

While the young lady ignored it.

Finally Jayne said, “Do you want to answer that other line?”

To which, the young lady replied to Jayne: “No.”

“No. It’s OK.”

Jayne said: “Kelly”. [I’ve forgotten the young lady’s name. Sorry, we’ll call her Kelly for the time being.][Not so important is her name. More important is her actions. Or lack of actions.]

Jayne said, “Kelly. It’s not OK. You need to answer that phone.”

Kelly [not her real name] said, “It’s OK. They’ll call back.”

Hello? What planet did Kelly come from?

Jayne said, “Kelly. You *need* to take that call.”

And so it went.

My point, and brief point, about this phone call from Jayne to Dr Smith’s office is this. Sadly, Dr Smith probably has no idea that his phone is being answered so poorly. And with such a lack of care.

And maybe Dr Smith does know that Kelly is not up to par, when it comes to answering his phone.

I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog article, about using B Grade players when A Graders are not available. Or you don’t have any A Graders.

This looks like one of those situations.

To follow up, on another day, Jayne called Dr Smith’s office and spoke with another lady. Who explained that Kelly was not their regular telephone person.

And that’s sad. Because the way that Kelly answered the phone call from Jayne, and the way that she ignored the second line ringing, is costing Dr Smith. Costing him *BIG TIME*!!

And he’s probably not aware how much it is costing him.

And that’s really sad.

Now we all know, that Dr Smith could well have been between a rock and a hard place. He may have had a team member leave, who has been difficult to replace, and Kelly is just filling in. Or he may have someone off sick.

But Kelly, by her actions, is not an A Grade player.

And that’s costing my friend money.

Answering the phone, in the best possible manner,  is just one of the  many straight forward and easy to implement  modules  that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple to build 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.

Email me at

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