Three Dental Office Policies That Are Sending Your Patients The Wrong Message

One of the things that comes up at my One Day Workshops is the questions from the audience that begin:

“What would you do when…..”

In fact, when I’m doing team calls with my private coaching clients, I have team members ask, from time to time, that exact same question:

“What would you do when…..”

It’s usually a very thought provoking question, and it creates some interesting discussion.

However, what we tend to find is that it’s a one in a hundred event that seems to “rattle” one team member.

It’s an event that might occur once every three months, or not that often.

My mentor, John DiJulius III told me that it makes no sense to penalize the ninety eight percent for what the two percent are doing.

And that’s what we tend to do.

We tend to take these rare occasions and make rules out of them, and worse still, *Practice Policies*.


And how wrong is that?

Look around your office?

Is this what you’re doing?

Do you have signs up that penalise the majority for those rare occasions that someone errs, or tries to sneak an advantage?

My thoughts are that we certainly need protocols and need to know those protocols, and be able to use them, whenever the occasion arises.

But are we really penalising our good clients?

Are we sending our good clients a poor message?


Most patients are courteous and polite. They’ll realise that it’s not good manners to be on their phones, speaking, while sitting in the Dentist’s Client Lounge.

Especially if there are other guests and clients in the lounge.

There’s no need to hang an ugly sign about this.

Similarly, in the treatment room, when the doctor or the hygienist begin their treatment, it’s best if the patient puts their phone down and stops typing and texting.

No need for a sign here.

A simple statement of request from the Dental Assistant should sort this behaviour.

And a great Dental Assistant will be engaging their patient so well before the Dentist enters the room that the patient really feels no need at all to be looking at their device.


This is not what’s written on the back of most Dental appointment cards, but it’s what’s implied.

Usually what’s written is something that’s so benign and flowery and vanilla, that says the same message.

If you want to encourage people to mess up your schedule, then leave that message on the back of your appointment card.

Because that’s what your card is saying.

It’s saying:

It’s OK to cancel and change this appointment at short notice. Please give us 24 or 48 hours advance notice, so that we at least have some time to try and fill the space you have now created.”

Your message encourages appointment misdemeanors.

You need to remove it.

You want your patients to make and *KEEP* their appointments.

Only put this dribble on the appointment card if you like having your patients destroy your day, and you don’t mind paying one of your team members to be sitting on the phone all day trying to put the appointment schedule back together.


What this sign says is:

“We are really mean and tight here”

Just think about it.

You just charged your client $400.00 for a restorative procedure, and you then turn around and whack them an extra $6.00

Give me a break!

Firstly there are not that many Amex users.

So why look so mean fisted that you have to sting them “pocket change” on what is really a sizeable amount?

Why not just absorb the merchant fee?

Or simply raise all your fees across the board a small amount more, next time, to cover the Amex merchant fee and leave it as a hidden undisclosed cost?

Frankly, I’d be encouraging *MORE* Amex users.

This is because Amex is a charge card, as opposed to a credit card. This means Amex owners are usually more liquid, and tend to be better purchasers.

They tend to spend more….

Now sure, it’s not always smooth sailing in the Dental Office.

Things do tend to happen.

But it’s how we deal with these events, and how we frame them, and how we prioritise them, that really sorts the sheep from the goats.

I understand that awkward scenarios do arise.

But they are indeed quite rare.

Know your protocols for these times, but do not make the many suffer for the actions of the few.

In the same way that a professional golfer needs to become proficient at his “trouble shots”, we need to also be aware of what we need to do during these awkward moments.

But we need to focus on the positives, and the good people.


My One-Day Workshops in May cover in greater depth how to address simple changes that create BIG RESULTS.
For more details about my Australian workshops in Perth and Sydney in May, CLICK HERE.


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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