To Be Better, You Need To Become An Active Listener

One of the things that I see more and more of these days in dental practices is that the person who answers the phone is not one hundred percent committed to their duty of answering the phone.

They are not getting IN THE MOMENT with the caller on the phone.

It’s as if they’re mind is wandering to someplace else, when their mind should be one hundred percent committed to the call and helping the caller.

What is distracting them?

There could be a number of reasons why the dental receptionist is not one hundred percent committed to listening attentively to their incoming phone caller:

Is the receptionist attending to a live patient in front of them at that moment when the phone rings in the dental office?

Has the receptionist been on another phone call that they just now had to put on hold?

Has the receptionist been drawn away from a serious meeting with their boss by this ringing phone?

Was the receptionist otherwise involved in a private conversation with another office team member when the phone rang?

Were they being distracted by trying to multi-task and attend to something else on their computer at the same time that the phone rang?

Here’s what needs to happen:

The dental practice team need to understand that the ringing telephone in the dental practice represents an opportunity to serve someone.

And that someone is usually an existing patient, or someone who has decided to call our practice because they have a dental problem and they have decided that they WANT YOUR PRACTICE to solve their problem.

[Yes, in this day and age, there is the opportunity for any dental practice to put sufficient information out there on the internet for anybody without a dentist to be able to decide whether they want to be your patient, or not.]

The ringing phone is NOT an interruption.

How we perform on the phone will determine whether the caller will become [or remain] a patient of the dental practice.

Or not.

Here are some tips to ensure that you are indeed an active listener.

The person calling the dental practice on the phone must feel that the dental receptionist has been waiting and looking forward all day to them calling in.

If your front office people can convey this feeling on the phone to every caller to your dental practice then you will go a long way to securing a heck of a lot more business.

Sadly, the converse is the reality.

Most dental receptionists feel that the ringing phone is an interuption to their day, rather than being an opportunity to help someone and solve their dental problem.

The caller must feel that your receptionist is truly invested in the outcome that will solve their dental issue, and at that time on the phone, nothing else AT ALL matters [to the receptionist].

The receptionist must operate with a checklist and also make written notes of everything said by the caller, as a reference and as a cross reference point as well.

Nothing infuriates a caller more than being asked questions about things they have already provided information about, that was clearly ignored by the phone answerer.

At the end of the call, the caller must be so looking forward to coming to the dental practice with such anticipation, that they seriously HOPE WITH ALL THEIR MIGHT that a change in the practice schedule does arise and the receptionist phones them to bring their appointment forwards.

Ultimately, the caller should feel that they have now discovered a brand-new friend, and that they are looking forward to meeting them [the receptionist] in person.


Pay attention to what the caller says.

Pay attention to the outcome that the caller is hoping to achieve.

Pay attention to the tales of discomfort and pain that the caller is enduring.

Pay attention to the caller’s name and whether or not they have been to your practice before….


Get feedback from the caller that your dental office has been able to be of great assistance to them.

Unless you receive accurate feedback from your callers you will only be guessing as to how well things are really going on your dental office phone.


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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