“Pass Me My Shovel. While I Continue Digging Myself A Hole…”

Have you ever come across a situation where someone you know, or meet, is so single-minded about doing something their way, that they won’t listen to advice that might give them a better result, or get them to the result they are seeking in a shorter amount of time?

And no matter how much logic and reasoning and even emotion that you use to try and persuade them that there is a better way, they keep going on belligerently in the direction they have chosen?

Because that’s the decision that they have made…

And whether they are sticking to this choice of decision they have made because of pride, or because of blind arrogance, or because of stupidity, you soon realise that there’s nothing in the world that’s going to change their mind.

No matter how simple or how logical that change or need to change may be?

About twelve months ago….

About twelve months ago, Jayne and I were engaged to coach a dental practice in suburban Sydney.

At this practice, one of the issues they were having was that they were experiencing a high number of patients [both new and existing] who were cancelling appointments or failing to attend [FTA] their scheduled appointments.

And here’s what the owners of this practice had decided to do…

At this practice they started asking all patients for a $100.00 deposit for their next appointment at the time of scheduling.

An interesting decision?

We asked the owner how this new “policy” was working in the practice…

I listened to a [recorded] phone call where the receptionist helped a new patient to make an appointment, and triaged them beautifully into that the appointment, only for this to happen at the end of the call, when the receptionist asked:

“Now I just need to take a $100.00 deposit to secure this appointment.”

And the caller said:

“Oh get stuffed!”

[or something stronger]

And hung up the phone then and there.

[for millennials, that means the caller ended the call].

How’s this working for you?

We asked the owners how this was working for them.

The owners said that it was working well, but I know that this so called “solution” was probably driving away a lot of patients who now were being made to feel that they weren’t being trusted.

Can you imagine how many people that this new patient in the call just mentioned went off and told, about the dental practice she called that had a problem with cancellations that was so bad, that the practice needed to charge every patient a deposit?

Because that’s what they just did…

This dental practice may as well have run a billboard advert saying:

“We have a problem with patients cancelling and not showing up for their appointments”.

You see, the problem isn’t the patients….

The problem is THE WAY the appointments are being made in the first place.

The problem is what’s being said on the phone, or at the front office, at the time of scheduling.

Or it’s what’s not being said…

Or it’s how it’s being said…

When a dental team member is unskilled, or untrained, or not motivated to do their BEST POSSIBLE job in scheduling appointments, then the patients and callers making those appointments will feel undervalued and taken for granted….

And when that happens, these patients will simply just go elsewhere for their dentistry, to another practice where the staff take the time, and make those patients feel welcome.

Every caller and every patient making an appointment at a dental practice should feel so excited about that upcoming appointment that they actually want to come in sooner if possible for that treatment.

And that’s the feeling that patients need to be feeling.

The thing is…

The thing was, that at this practice, these owners were so single-minded about the decision they had made that charging a deposit for appointments was THE BEST WAY of solving their high cancellation and no-show rates, that they wouldn’t listen to rhyme or reason that possibly the cause of their problem was a few steps back in their processes.

Have you ever seen or known someone who is travelling or driving, and is lost and in need of directions to find their way to their destination, but because of pride, or arrogance, or stupidity, this person chooses not to ask for directions, or look at a map [or at Google Maps], and continues on blindly, HOPING that they will magically end up where they are wanting to go?

The problem is….

The problem is, for this traveller, that one incorrect decision, or one uninformed choice, can result in that traveller becoming a few degrees of course at the time of making that decision, but as they continue on their journey, that small error ends up taking them further and further away from their intended destination?

When just a simple question early, or a simple piece of advice early, could have averted this disastrous result, of travelling blindly further and further down the wrong road.

Like I said, sometimes it’s just pride, or arrogance, or stupidity…

In business…

In business, collecting an extra $500 in takings per day, can make a significant difference to the results of a lifetime of work.

Because $500 per day is $3000 per week.

Which is an extra $150K of takings in one year.

Which is an extra $3M of takings collected over a twenty year period.

Who wouldn’t like that as a better result?

At the end of twenty years in business, who wouldn’t like an extra $3M in your bank account?

And all it takes is being one dollar per minute more productive….

Little hinges swing big doors

Small changes implemented now can have dramatic changes over time.

But sometimes the people who need the changes aren’t open to making changes.

They really need to stop and look at the hole they are digging for themselves and ask themselves:

“Is there a better way?”


“Should I be doing things better?”


“What will be the result for me when I make that change?”

Oh, by the way….

That client with the $100 deposit policy, decided not to engage us as his coach.

At the same time, another client that we started working with around that time added $500K to her annual collections in a twelve month period, simply by asking questions and acting on the advice suggested…

You do the math…

Who made the wiser decision?


Need your phones monitored?

Are you concerned about the number of calls that are not being answered as best they can be?

You need Call Tracking Excellence.

For the cost of a less than one cleaning per week, you could have your phones being answered much much better….

Convert more calls into appointments…Click the link: http://www.calltrackingexcellence.com

Call Jayne on 1300 378 044 or email Jayne@theDPE.com  for more details.


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.

Email me at david@theupe.com