Is Your Reception Desk Killing Your Customer Service?

Say there were a large number of people who need transporting across a river.

Every day.

In both directions.

And all you have is a rowboat.

How long do you think you’ll stay in business for?

Before someone comes along with a more efficient means of transport.

Or someone comes along with a more comfortable form of transport.

Or someone builds a jetty on both sides of the river to allow easier more comfortable egress of travellers onto and off of the river transportation.

Based upon this you certainly would not stay in the river transportation business for very long with just a piddly old rowboat.

And it’s the same in dentistry.

When I consult and lecture, I’m constantly telling my clients and attendees that for the most efficient and most comfortable check in and check out of customers and clients and patients, the Dental Office needs to excise itself from the age old paradigm of an upstand reception area surrounded by seated, waiting patients.

The way I see it, most Dental Offices have the Dental equivalent of the Barbershop scene from the Movie “Coming To America”.

There’s no privacy!

Patients are checking in, and announcing who they are and what they are there for in front of an open audience of nobody knows whos.

And the same goes for the checkout process.

Are your team members trying to have delicate conversations with your valued clients while they *STAND* at an upstand with a bevy of future clients sitting only centimetres away behind them?


Who wants to do business in that sort of environment?

It’s kind of like the mobile barrier that can be raised and lowered between business class passengers on a Qantas flight. If you get to your seat on the plane and the barrier has already been put up by your fellow traveller, well it’s kind of a conversation killer right from the get-go…

The dental upstand was invented back in the olden days to stop extraction patients from dribbling blood across the paperwork.

And in those days they also left with an account for treatment being posted at a later date!

To be settled at their leisure!

What century was that?

Why are we still installing those sorts of “Reception” areas?

There is nothing receptive about them!

They should be called “Non-Receptions”!

The Upstand creates a physical barrier of Us and Them between the Receptionist and the waiting clients!

And for what?

What indeed!

Who wants to start a conversation with the top two centimetres of a receptionist’s head?

And what on earth happens in this sort of layout when an appointment is rescheduled or cancelled over the phone?

Firstly, the receptionist has an audience. [There’s that barbershop scene again!]

Who wants to be watched by an audience while receiving a cancellation call?

I sure as heck know that I don’t!

Then, the receptionist needs to miraculously conjure up a patient out of thin air to fill this now vacant time.

The receptionist now has to start calling people from a list to see whether they can come in sooner…. in front of the barbershop audience!

And of course, what happens when the receptionist starts making calls where people cannot come forward?

How do you think she’s going to start feeling, with her audience waiting on her every baited breath?

It’s not a very pleasant environment.

And yet the solution is not rocket science…

What’s to stop the practice from creating a separate room where these sorts of calls can be taken in private?

A room where treated patients leaving the practice can be processed individually, in private, in a seated environment?

With no upstand barrier!

And with no unasked for audience!

At my practice, when we started processing treated patients across a level table, with both people seated, in private with no audience, our collections, our treatment acceptance and our appointment rates went through the roof!

We also decided that arriving clients at the practice could easily manage in a private lounge away from the phone, on their own!

Without requiring the presence of a magazine centurion to stand guard!

And because of the privacy created in the check out rooms, there was also a creation of understanding in those patients’ minds of what the Clear Next Step needed to be with regards to their oral health and future appointments.

And so the result was an immediate reduction in cancellation and reschedule numbers. Because patients had time, and privacy, to go over and gather the information required to ensure they understood the importance of their next Dental Visit.

So if you keep on wondering why you’re numbers are diminishing, then take a chainsaw to your upstand, and dismember the barrier.

Stop living in the past, and embrace the future of reception.

Take a chainsaw to your upstand.

After all, we’ve come a long way from the sliding little window of the past….

But we still have some ways to go to get to the future…


My Two-Day Workshop in Las Vegas September 25 and 26 will explain to you the COMPLETE  Ultimate Patient Experience process in detail. cover in greater depth how to address simple changes that create BIG RESULTS.
For all the details about Las Vegas, CLICK HERE.


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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