It’s About Being Their Friend

I often say when discussing The Ultimate Patient Experience with clients and with prospective clients, the feeling we want to convey is that we are their friend, who happens to be their dental office, as opposed to their dental office trying to be their friends.

This statement really came home to hit hard this week at Active Dental. I’d like to share those stories with you.

I have several patients, many, who have been coming to Active Dental for longer than the twenty seven years that I have owned and then run the dental office.

One of those patients, Ellen*, is one of my favourites. And last week we seated five anterior porcelain veneers and crowns, which were an amazing improvement for her.

And will be life changing.

You see, Ellen comes four times a year for quarterly hygiene and check up visits. And being older than me, her teeth are discoloured with age.

They are also heavily restored, and there is one that sits right out…. but not any more!!

Last year, Ellen asked me if her teeth would be strong enough to accept some cosmetic improvement, like veneers.

And when she did ask, I was so happy to be able to offer her, and complete, this life changing improvement to her smile.

And I was so glad to.

You see, it had always irked me, that I had never suggested veneers to Ellen before. At all. Because Ellen was our friend, I’d always known that she was sensible with her money, and that there wasn’t much.

And so I’d never offered her any cosmetic options.

Well now, Ellen’s teeth and smile are magnificent. No real thanks to me, but thanks to Ellen. For trusting me, and our friendship, enough to ask.

My second story, and a sad one, is about Pete*.

Let me tell you about Pete. Top bloke. Absolutely top bloke. Been coming to see me for some time. Regular hygiene visits. Smile improvements. All good.

Pete, and his lovely wife Dorothy*, have been coming regularly for donkeys’ years. And they were originally referred to me by their now daughter in law Alison*, whose teeth I straightened prior to her wedding. Actually, the wedding date had to be pushed back because of the braces!

Anyway, Pete had a short appointment to see me last Wednesday. And a couple of hours before, he rang, alarm in his voice, saying he needed to cancel, something had come up, and he would call back later to reschedule.

Which is unlike Pete. Very unlike Pete.

All Pete would say was that it wasn’t about him or Dorothy, but there was a family issue, he said to Jayne, my wife, who took the call.

And that was all.

But we were alarmed….

Turn the clock forward a couple of days, and Pete calls back, and reschedules for Friday.

The reason that Pete had to change his appointment was this.

They’re adult married son Tim, who I’d treated many years ago as a teenager, had suffered an enormous loss.

Tim’s wife, had just gotten news that her full term first child, had died, and needed to be delivered…. stillborn.

My mother once said to me, that the thought and the grief of having to bury your own child was inconceivable and unfathomable to her.

As it’s not meant to be.

But it does happen.

And it’s happened to me and Jayne.

And because of this history, Jayne was able to reach out to Dorothy, and offer advice, and condolences.

And I was able to offer a hand to Tim, through Pete.

And it was Dorothy who said then, to Jayne:

“Oh my’re not our’re our friends.”

And that’s what it’s all about.

It’s about being a friend first…because everyone needs a friend.

We all need a friend…

On a sad note to finish, I woke on Sunday morning to the news via Facebook, that my friend and dental colleague from Mississippi Lisa Marie, had lost her adult daughter, killed in an automobile accident.

I have been amazed how the dental Facebook community, has offered so much love and friendship to Lisa Marie, at this sad time.

Life can change in an instant.


And when it does, for someone you know, it’s great to be a friend…


P.S. as a postscript, our patient Ellen, shares her birthday with our son James. And was a friend for us, at that time, all those years ago…and still is.

It was during Ellen’s appointment on Friday that Pete rang, with the sad news…


*Names have been changed, where appropriate, for privacy reasons


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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