"Make Me Feel Important!" – Are You Making Your Clients and Patients Feel Important?

Mary Kay Ash said it perfectly when she said:

“It’s so simple, yet makes such a difference.  Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important’.”

I’ve got to say, in this day and age, it’s rare, very rarely indeed that we ever feel that experience of being made to feel important.

Recognition. It’s all really about that. Babies cry for it. Grown men die for it. Recognition.

We all love to be recognised, don’t we? Recognised either for who we are or for something that we’ve done? Sure we do…

Are you doing that in your dental office? Are you recognizing and remembering things about your clients and patients in such a way that secretly surprises them, in an exceptional way and makes them say to themselves, “How did they know that?” “How did they remember that?” And of course, they say to themselves about you, “Wow! These people are different. These people are exceptional. These people are taking an interest in me. These people care, they really care about me.”

Are you providing this sort of care and interest for your clients and customers at your dental office? Are you making them feel important? Are you making your customers feel special?

I’d like to share with you a story about how only just this weekend I was made to feel important, in the most surprisingly ordinary of circumstances.

As I write this blog, I’m just now on my way home from Denver Colorado where I spent four days, and nights, attending an annual convention for dental speakers and consultants.

The convention, held yearly, is relocated each year to a different town or city in the USA.

Exceptional World Class Customer Service, sadly, is unfortunately a one in ten thousand experience, in this day and age. Sadly the ratio *is* that high, because based on my experiences, it is very, very, rare indeed, to experience or find an exponent of, that “knock your socks off” customer service that literally stops you in your tracks, and makes you say…. *WOW!!!*

As I share, I’d like you to ask yourself whether you and your team have your customer service radar up, and are duplicating, or even trying to emulate, an experience for your customers equivalent or equal to this experience that I had over the past three days.

So here’s the story.

The hotel where I stayed has a complimentary breakfast service, served 6.00am to 9.00am Monday through Friday and 7.00am through 10.30am Saturdays and Sundays.

Along with the complimentary buffet of hot food and cold servings and coffee, there is a chef station serving and creating made to order omelets for the breakfast patrons.

Now I love eggs for breakfast. Gosh, do I? Those who know me know I’m partial to eggs benedict from time to time, on occasions.


When “Benny” is not available, I’m always open to being served a well prepared simple omelet. Mushrooms, tomato and cheese.

Now, as an Australian, I’m sometimes embarrassingly unfamiliar with the tipping protocols in the USA. And I get caught out. You see down under, with employee salaries so high, we rarely tip except for taxis and after dinner. So sometimes in my travels I get caught out unawares without cash.

So the first two mornings, Thursday and Friday, I’ve eaten breakfast early. Really early. Straight after attending the fitness centre.  And of course, I’ve forgotten to take my cash for tipping with me. Cash needed for tipping at the chef’s station. I’ve left it up in my room. Red faced me! Two days in a row! Now fortunately for me, I have a different chef each day! Phew!

Day three is Saturday, and I’m up and exercising even earlier and breakfast is served later as I’ve said, so with one thing and another, I get caught up in my room, on my computer, ironing (yes, ironing!!), and time gets away from me. So I head straight for the meeting room, without breakfast. However, at first break, there’s the opportunity to head back for a late breakfast, and an omelet.

So here I am, at 10.20am, dressed in my suit and tie, standing at the chef’s workstation looking at the ingredients list, and I’m asked, what would you like?

I start to say “Can I please have an omelet with….[and I pause]….

And the chef, who was there and served me yesterday, says “With tomato, mushroom and cheese?”

And I’m thinking, “Wow!” I’m thinking recognition. I’m thinking, different time of day, different attire, different grooming. I’m thinking Great. Customer. Service!

And I say, with surprised amazement, “Yes please!” And two minutes later, when my omelet is ready, I tip, and I add in some tip for the previous day as well.

So the next day Sunday, for breakfast, I’m there on time, along with every other hotel guest, well before the meeting begins. And I’m suited up for the day, like yesterday, and the same chef from the previous two days says to me, “Good morning, would you like your usual?”

Wow! Double Wow!!

When I collected my plate two minutes later, she asked, knowing the answer full well obviously, whether I was heading home today. Of course, she’s been pre-prepared; she’s knowing that our convection was on its final day.

Make me feel important? In unexpected circumstances? She sure did!!

So how can we as a dental office take this tale and use it in our day at the practice? How can we make our clients and customers feel important?

One thing we’ve done at Active Dental and which I emphasise in the Ultimate Patient Experience is the secret accumulation, or collection of “Secret Service” Information about each customer. The acquisition of “Customer Intelligence”.

Customer Intelligence is any information collected by our team members without the obvious notice of our valued customers and clients, so that when this information is shared back with our customers it leaves them amazed and pleasantly surprised and saying to themselves, “How did they remember that?”

The best time to plan our Secret Service and our sharing of secretly acquired Customer Intelligence is at our daily morning huddle. Now I know a lot of dental offices do a daily huddle. But often their huddle discussions are limited to only discussing information about the specific treatment being performed that day for each patient. Nothing else.

In the Ultimate Patient Experience Dental Office huddle, as we go through the appointment book schedule for the day and discuss each patient and their treatment, team members have the opportunity to share with the other team members any Secret Service Information and Customer Intelligence that they may have gathered about each patient.

This Customer Intelligence could be little things, such as

  • A recent or upcoming birthday
  • A recent or upcoming trip, or holiday
  • A recent or upcoming new family addition
  • A recent loss
  • A recent sighting of the patient
  • A recent event that we may have in common with the patient.

Unprompted recollections of Secret Service Information and Customer Intelligence by you and your Dental Team are the easiest ways of telling your customers that you hear them, that they are Important!

This is so easy to do, and so easy to systemize into your daily office procedures and protocols.

Establish a culture within your dental office of collecting and sharing Secret Service Information and Customer Intelligence gathered about each Client or Customer.

Set out each day to collect and acquire a certain specific amount of Customer Intelligence about each patient.

Plan the delivery and the sharing and the feeding back of this information.

Adding these simple steps to your dental day will set your dental office well and truly apart from all other dental offices in your area, because nobody else is doing this!!

Make this collection of Secret Service Information and Customer Intelligence a part of your culture, and you’ll have your clients raving about you and your office to all their friends and family.

Sadly, with dentistry being so, well let’s say, “clinical”, that clinical nature often transfers from what we do to how we treat people.

Don’t be clinical in the way you deal with your clients and customers.

Pay attention to your Customer Intelligence, the secretly collected information. Feed it back to your clients unexpectedly.

Make them feel important!!


There are many straight forward and easy to implement  protocols and procedures that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple to build system 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 david@theupe.com

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