Rules, Traditions, and Suppositions

One of the key factors that elevates a Dental Office to being truly exceptional and World Class is the ability of the people working in that office to *connect*, and connect well and connect quickly, with the clients and customers and patients that visit that office.

And connect appropriately.

And that goes for all businesses. Not just dental offices.

I am constantly reminding my team to never assume and never suppose when it comes to dealing and conversing with clients and customers at our dental office.

The best principle to follow to uphold this mantra is to always be asking questions and never to be offering statements or opinions.

In so doing, by asking questions, it allows the question asker to control the direction of the conversation.

For example, on occasions, a valued patient may arrive late for their scheduled appointment.

When they do, we tend to guide them to a comfortable chair to rest a short while, and offer them a cold drink.

And we greet them with a pleasant enquiry, such as:

“Oh Mrs. Smith, we were starting to worry about you…is everything OK?”

Now we don’t know whether Mrs. Smith has been delayed in arriving to her appointment with us because of traffic jams, or traffic accidents?

We don’t know whether she’s had work issues that have held her up, or whether there’s a family or personal matter that’s been occupying her time?

We just don’t know….

Yet I’ve heard of team members who have greeted their late arriving patients with a short:

“You know you’re late”.

Which is just so wrong.

Because we sometimes have no idea whatsoever about what has been going on in Mrs. Smith’s world, and how much of an effort she’s made to get to our office at all….

So we should never suppose, nor assume.

It’s interesting, because this week I’m on an organised tour, in Southern USA to play some golf and watch some golf.

There are over one hundred and twenty people on this tour, which involves various levels of accommodation and various modes of transport.

And there’s one couple who have taken a VIP package, which includes their own private transportation as opposed to group bus or coach transport.

Well yesterday, I walked around with a friend of mine while he played golf, and that couple were in the group. She watching, with an injured foot, and him playing.

Me, I’m not playing due to my shoulder.

Anyway, it’s apparent that there are no airs and graces to her. And he’s a little on the quiet side.

Long story short, I’m chatting with him on about hole number five, and he tells me that he was a train driver….

And then he tells me the worst.

That he’s not worked for two years since someone jumped in front of his train….

And another two incidences in quick succession…

And my heart just sank.

Because there’s no way I could imagine living in his head, and how bad that could be.

Except to know that what ever I imagine it’s like, it’s got to be several orders of magnitude worse.

And I’d never ever want to be there….

But you never know.

And you should never assume.

On a lighter note, in a second story, last night I was booked to dine at a fine dining restaurant. And I was told that this restaurant had dress regulations. And I had enquired at my hotel, and been told, that jeans were OK as long as they were not torn.

Well upon my arrival at the restaurant, despite the fact that I was wearing a jacket, I was asked to return to my hotel room and change my jeans.

Which I did.

I changed out of a $150.00 pair of jeans into a $40.00 pair of golf slacks.

Which were deemed more suitable.

Now, except for the time that I visited the men’s room, my trousers were out of sight and under my table the whole evening.

So I really could have worn the jeans….

Now I tell this story because at no time was I ever asked about the watch that I wore nor the credit card that I carried.

And really, my greenbacks are the same as everyone else’s, and in reality, the food all ends up in the same place in twenty-four hours no matter who eats it…

And that’s my point.

The chap at the restaurant, with the rigid dress rules, had no idea who his customer was, from one day to another.

Because of his rigid adherence to antiquated dress regulations.

And in so doing, he missed a whole opportunity to connect, connect well and connect quickly, with his customer.

Who knows how many customers he offends with this policy?

The shuttle driver, who transported me from the restaurant back to my hotel room, and back, told me that he had stopped counting at one hundred, the number of people who shared my experience.

And he only worked driving the shuttle on weekends!!

When I compare this maître de’s behaviour with the relationships that my wife and I have with the wait staff and owners where we dine out in Sydney, here in rural North Carolina policy has certainly created opportunity lost?

And at what future cost?

Because it really doesn’t take much extra thought to get it right…

But it does take the right thought.

And that’s what makes some places World Class, and others not.


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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