Service Is Not An Option

In the movie Apollo 13, Flight Director Gene Kranz, the character played by Ed Harris, says:

“Failure is not an option”.

It’s probably the line of the film, and to me it’s also one of the lines of the century.

Here’s the scene:

Mission control in Houston, is confronted with an air problem in the Apollo 13 spacecraft somewhere up there between the Earth and the Moon, and urgently has to come up with a solution to help the astronauts not only solve their problem, but also help them return safely to Earth.

For those on the ground in Houston, trying to work out how to help their astronauts, they were threatened with the command that to fail was to lose.

To fail was to concede defeat.

And America was not going to concede defeat here.

In Dentistry, in delivering Customer Service, there is no option to fail.

Customer Service, great customer service, needs to be a non-negotiable item, as part of your office protocols.

Providing zero service or weak service is a dis-service to your customers, to your co-workers and to your business and its owners.

Any display of arrogance, apathy, or arrogant apathy amongst employees is now unacceptable behaviour, and is not welcome in the successful Dental Office of 2018 and beyond.

Recently Australian retail giant Myer addressed a similar problem in their retail department stores.

In a leaked letter to staff, Myer stores general manger Tony Sutton said:

“An ‘I don’t work for Myer’ attitude, where brand partner team members refuse to assist customers in Myer stores is unacceptable. [Brand partners are people who work in Myer stores but are officially employees of other companies, such as Marcs, Cue, Dyson, Nespresso, Industrie or Royal Doulton.] We expect Myer and brand partner team members to work in partnership in store, operating as one team”, the memo said..

Similarly, in a dental office, the line that you never want to hear is:

“That’s not my role here…”

When there is a concern or a problem in a dental office, it is the duty of ALL employees to see if they can help to solve and rectify the problem as quickly as possible.

You cannot put your head in the sand and hope the problem fixes itself.

My hairdresser used to have a problem in his salon when a customer would enter the shop, and a hairdresser would look up from the head they were cutting, look at the customer, then turn back and continue cutting, without even acknowledging the entering customer.

When he asked his cutters why they acted in this manner the answer was:

“Wasn’t my next customer.”

This was a system FAIL in his salon, and as we said, failure is not an option.

After brainstorming, his team came up with the logical response that it would be better for the first person who saw the entering customer to excuse themselves from their immediate client and walk over to the counter and greet and engage with the entering customer.

In your dental office do you have “system fail” moments?

Are there times where staff walk past patients and clients, and other staff, and fail to acknowledge them?

Are there times where staff are “too busy” doing something that a client is left feeling annoyed?

These are system failures, and failure is not an option.

Take a good look at the things that go on in your dental office from the customers’ points of view, and see whether you are inadvertently missing some serious system failures?

Remember, the provision of World Class Customer Service in your Dental Office is a continual work in progress.

There can be no easing up.


My next public speaking presentation showing Dentists how to grow their Dental practices will be in London England on Saturday 4 August 2018 with Jayne Bandy.

For more information and to secure your seat click this link 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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