The Six Sad Truths About Dental Practice Phone Answering…

The COVID-19 pandemic has really EXPOSED several home truths about what goes on at the front desk of dental practices…

Here are some of them:

1. No matter how bad you think your phones are being answered, it’s always worse than you think…

Putting it simply, unless you are listening to all of the calls being made into and out of your dental practice, you have absolutely NO IDEA about the truth of what really is being said on your dental office phones.

Walking by your dental receptionist “occasionally” during the day while the receptionist is on the phone will only give you PART OF one side of her conversation.

The response you are hearing on your end of the phone in your office may not be a true reflection of the real enquiry being asked by the caller.

And because you have no idea what the caller is asking, you trying to “educate” your employees on THE CORRECT THINGS TO SAY ON THE PHONE is really like you throwing darts blindfolded.

After being spun around three times and not knowing which direction you are facing…

2. Some dental front office staff don’t follow instructions given by their dentist on how they should answer the phone

Some dental office staff simply answer the phone the way THEY THINK THEY NEED TO. These team members either don’t understand why things need to be done in a certain way.

Or they don’t care to want to understand why a better way is needed.

The purpose of answering the phone in a dental practice is to find a solution for the problem that the caller has phoned about.

More often than not, the solution needed is a scheduled appointment in your dental practice.

And it is an appointment scheduled, and confirmed, with an iron-clad commitment.

But, if the dentist doesn’t know the exact processes required to secure commitment from the caller, and if the dentist has never actually ever answered a dental practice phone, and the dentist doesn’t know how to teach what he actually doesn’t even know, there’s a reasonable chance that the front office team won’t take the dentist seriously.

“How would he know? He’s never answered a practice phone? Why should I listen to him?”

3. Some dental front office staff don’t follow instructions given by their dentist on the type and purpose of outbound calls they need to be making on the phone

I even heard about a dentist who was having difficulty getting his staff to do TLC calls to patients the day after the patient had been in [and spent a fair bit of money too].

I don’t understand how these dental practice staff could even consider NOT DOING TLCs to be an option?

Isn’t the role of the employee to do what their employer asks, in exchange for wages and benefits? [so long as the requests are fair, reasonable, and not illegal].

4. Those dental practices that have consistently attended a regular phone training programme are “STREETS AHEAD” of other dental practices.

It’s like going to the gym and getting into shape.

Some people think they’ll end up with a trim, taught and terrific body, just by joining a gym.

Others think they can read a book on fitness, or watch a video, and magically, they will become and stay fit.

There are some who think that going to the gym for a month and then stopping will give them that great physique permanently.

Truth be told, fitness comes from consistent and regular and continued training.

And the best fitness results come when you engage a personal trainer.

During COVID-19, we saw some dental practices close their doors and put their phone training on hold during these times, while other practices continued with their training.

And after all, the phones rang anyway, despite the fact less actual dentistry was being done.

What we saw categorically across the board was that those practices that “took a break” from phone coaching slipped significantly in their skill levels compared to the practices that continued with their trainings.

And the significant amount of “slippage” then needed to be remedied.

5. Some dental practices decided that the high demand for dentistry when lockdown was lifted meant that they were busy enough and didn’t need any phone training

Have you ever heard the analogy:

“It’s like drinking from a fire hose.”

This phrase simply conjures up the image that the capacity and the ability to be capturing water from the hose is less than the output from that fire hose.

And therefore there is spillage.

And wastage.

In dentistry, every incoming telephone enquiry on your phone comes as a result of either money spent on external forms of marketing, or time spent in your practice doing things that generate referrals, and other forms of internal marketing.

And to me, failure to capture every one of those enquiries and turn them into a valued and kept appointment at your practice is an opportunity lost.

6. “We’re doing fine. We don’t need help at the moment. We’ll call you when we do.”

Sadly, this attitude is very prevalent.

And it is akin to trying to catch a falling knife.

Or trying to sell shares in a bear market.

Mystery shopper phone calls to practices with this “belief” always uncover a very different story.

The fact is that nobody out there in the general public ever calls a dental practice because they have spare time.

Every time the phone rings at your practice it is someone who already has decided that they want YOU to be their dentist and solve their problem.

It is THE DUTY of whoever is answering your dental practice phone to ensure that each and every phone enquiry is turned into a valued and kept dental appointment.

It is your duty, as the dental practice owner, to be mindful of the economic climate, and to capitalise and benefit from opportunity, rather than just cruise or coast along with the current…


Online Workshop: Dr David Moffet and Jayne Bandy:

“How To Easily Run, Maintain And Grow The Ultimate Dental Practice In 2021”

If you’re sick and tired of drilling all day long, and not having anything close to what you deserve, to show for it… or if you’ve ever wondered, “What can successful dentists POSSIBLY know, that I don’t?”… then register for this unique online ZOOM workshop Saturday November 21, 2020

Click here for more details.


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:

Call Jayne on 1300 378 044 or email  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.

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