Don’t Make These Mistakes… Make Sure That You Listen and Learn From The Right People….

Don’t Make These Mistakes… Make Sure That You Listen and Learn From The Right People….

Early on in my career as a business-owning dentist I learned a great lesson.

This lesson, although not unique to dentistry, was a light bulb moment for me. One of many light bulb moments I would have in my career as a dental practice owner.

This first light bulb moment was simple: I realized that I did not know everything that I needed to know to run a successful business. In fact, I really didn’t know anything at all about how to run a successful business. I didn’t even know how to run a less than successful business.

Frankly speaking, I had graduated, and then worked in other dental offices, and I had no idea at all about running any sort of business.

You see, dental degrees are taught with very little tuition in business. Well I remember not much at all, if any, was taught to me, as an undergraduate.

So as a new to business dental business owner, I knew naught about business. I tried to learn from my accountant, but he only taught me what I think was what he needed from me to make his life easier, rather than really what I needed to do to make my efforts more profitable and more productive.

I tried to learn from my previous employers. They seemed to know what they were doing?  However, they were more, and I mean far far more, secretive, about what they did and why they did it. I guess to them, knowledge was power, so they were clandestine with their secrecy as to what they did and why they did it the way that they did.

So, I sought out knowledge. I had to. I needed to seek advice. By the truckload. I listened to gurus. I listened to people loved in their field, who knew their craft backwards, who knew their craft inside out.

Or so it seemed.

Because what I found was this…..

I found there was indeed, experts out there. Experts willing to teach, and share their knowledge and experiences.

There was too, unfortunately, teachers out there with little or no background in what they taught.

Sadly, very sadly, there were also people out there teaching in my profession, without runs on the board. With little or no experience whatsoever, sadly.

Call me naïve, but I now understand that this happens in other professions too.

You see, I once thought that barristers were skilled people who had moved on, so to speak, as lawyers, and had sought out higher ground.

My little brother, a barrister now himself, however, let me know in no uncertain terms that there are a lot of people at the bar who couldn’t cut it as lawyers, and who weren’t really cutting it as barristers either.

But little was Joe Public to know about this either…

Did you know this? I certainly didn’t, and I was horrified!!

And apparently, it’s the same in other fields.

Whether we’re talking dental education, or were talking business education, I hazard a guess that it could well be the same in these professions as it is at the bar.

And that is, there are some who teach who have made it, and want to give back, and there are some who teach, because they haven’t made it, can’t make it, or worse still, prey on dentists as vulnerable sheep being led by the pied piper blindly looking for a better way.

So, it’s a tough call. Tough for you as the dental consumer to choose who out there is best for you…

You need education. You seek it, you want it. But you want someone who has walked the walk, talked the talk. You don’t want someone teaching you who is a theorist, who has never had to survive, someone who has never had to or needed to put food on their own table, based upon the philosophies they preach.

And that can be a big concern. Who *DO* you choose?

Who do you choose indeed?

You need to make sure, when you choose someone to show you the way, that they have indeed “walked the walk” so they can “talk the talk”.

I remember an old philosophy that I heard, and remembered, from my undergraduate days:

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”

My advice to you seeking advice is to do your research. Do your homework on those you wish to follow. Make sure you are comfortable with their track record.

Now, having said all this, some of the best advice that I ever received for my dental practice came from non-dentists.

And some of the worst advice I ever received, actually came from dentists…. who were poor teachers.

So, it’s horses for courses…. you just need to make sure you have the right horse.

However, in saying that, success does leave a trail. Success leaves clues. So look for it. Look for the successes….

Your future, your destiny, depends upon it.

You do need a teacher. But you need the right teacher…so remember… Remember this lesson:

“Before following a teacher, any teacher, make sure that they are indeed headed in the right direction…”


The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me:

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Don’t Make These Mistakes… Make Sure That You Listen and Learn From The Right People….

I Had A Dream… “What Would A Dentist Know About Customer Service?”

The night before last I had a dream.

Now this is weird, as I rarely do dream.

And if I do, I rarely remember my dreams….but last night was different…

I was applying for an old job that I had. Not a job as a dentist, but a job I had while a dental student, where I worked in an RSL Club [for my non-Australian readers an RSL club is a licensed club in honour of returned soldiers].

The job that I was applying for was a job that I had performed admirably during my final two years as a dental student…the job of barman and table serving tray steward.

In this dream I was being interviewed by an employee of the Club, but a third party, I think a friend, was also present.  It was suggested by the third party, that I was looking for this work for the money. To which I replied “I’m actually not doing this for the money, I don’t need the money. I’m doing this because I want to.”

In my dream, this shocked both my third party person and the interviewer. They were aghast! They could not believe my reply.

Almost in stunned amazement, the interviewer, in my dream, replied, in astonishment:

“Well what would a dentist know about customer service?”

And this is something I hear all the time. Well, maybe not *ALL* the time, but certainly quite a reasonable amount of the time.

I hear it from people outside of the dental industry.

And I hear it from dentists and people inside the dental industry as well.

I hear them say “Why does a dentist need to bother with customer service?”

Now that makes life tough.

Because life is about customer service. Yes it is.

“In the movie “Remains of the Day”, the character James Stevens, played by Anthony Hopkins says:

“I don’t believe a man can consider himself fully content until he has done all he can to be of service to his employer.”

And in life, to me that means, as a dentist, my sole purpose in life is to be of service to my clients, my customers, my patients.

Ask yourself, as a dentist, are you doing *ALL* you can to be of service to your clients?

Because, if you aren’t looking after your customers, if you aren’t giving them outstanding world class customer service, then they’ll leave your business, and seek out somewhere else that does give a damn, that does care about them as a customer and not just as a number….

The reason it’s easy to provide world-class customer service in dentistry is simple. Because most dental offices out there *DO NOT*. They don’t know how to, they don’t want to. They don’t care.

If they are the least bit customer service focused, which the majority are not, then they think that a please and thank you is going to do their business wonders.

Please and thank you are window dressings. In the whole scheme of customer service they are only lip service. If you think please and thank you are “cutting edge”, well you’re in for a rude shock…they are not!

In the general population we have four types of people. According to Wikipedia, the DISC profiles are defined at the end of this blog.

With high D and high I people being outnumbered by high S and even more high C people, the demands for better customer service are less because the high S and high C people are less likely to ever want to “rock the boat”…

That’s not to say that high S and high C people don’t want and long for the first class and fine dining cuisine options that are out there on offer…’s just that they are a lot less likely to speak up and ask and demand the world class service…..

Also, for some crazy reason, the noble profession of dentistry is weighted heavily with C type people, meaning dentists, a s a whole are more likely to be procedure focused, which of course is a good thing but are less likely to stray or diversify into a world of customer service, let alone a culture of world class customer service.

And I guess this is where that comment in my dream comes from then…. “Well what would a dentist know about customer service?” Sadly, it’s a generalized public perception, and expectation….

What this means is that there is great opportunity for any dental office out there that stretches itself to provide a culture of world class customer service to its clients, customers and patients; an opportunity to differentiate itself from all other dental offices in its neighbourhood, vicinity or town.

Providing world-class customer service differentiates your dental office. It creates a “bond” between your clients and your office, so much so that the service you provide them is so “world class” it allows you to raise your prices way above those of your competitors, making price irrelevant.

I know, because I was able to create such a dental office in an average area of Sydney, with average patients on average incomes.

And I can teach you how to do the same in your dental office…

The DISC categories, as explained in Wikipedia, are reproduced below.

  • Drive
    People who score high in the intensity of the “D” styles factor are very active in dealing with problems and challenges, while low “D” scores are people who want to do more research before committing to a decision. High “D” people are described as demanding, forceful, egocentric, strong willed, driving, determined, ambitious, aggressive, and pioneering. Low D scores describe those who are conservative, low-keyed, cooperative, calculating, undemanding, cautious, mild, agreeable, modest and peaceful.
  • Influence
    People with high “I” scores influence others through talking and activity and tend to be emotional. They are described as convincing, magnetic, political, enthusiastic, persuasive, warm, demonstrative, trusting, and optimistic. Those with low “I” scores influence more by data and facts, and not with feelings. They are described as reflective, factual, calculating, skeptical, logical, suspicious, matter of fact, pessimistic, and critical.
  • Steadiness
    People with high “S” styles scores want a steady pace, security, and do not like sudden change. High “S” individuals are calm, relaxed, patient, possessive, predictable, deliberate, stable, consistent, and tend to be unemotional and poker faced. Low “S” intensity scores are those who like change and variety. People with low “S” scores are described as restless, demonstrative, impatient, eager, or even impulsive.
  • Compliance
    People with high “C” styles adhere to rules, regulations, and structure. They like to do quality work and do it right the first time. High “C” people are careful, cautious, exacting, neat, systematic, diplomatic, accurate, and tactful. Those with low “C” scores challenge the rules and want independence and are described as self-willed, stubborn, opinionated, unsystematic, arbitrary, and unconcerned with details.

 PS. Last night I had another dream. I dreamt I was on a driving golf holiday, in Australia, with left handed golfers. In my dream, my beaten up old Ford Falcon XD wagon was stolen, with my clubs in it. Stolen outside the golf club on the first day of the trip….
[Sad face]





There are many straight forward and easy to implement  protocols and procedures that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple to build system 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.

Email me at

Did you like this blog article? If you did then hit the share buttons below and share it with your friends and colleagues. Share it via email, Facebook and twitter!!

Don’t Make These Mistakes… Make Sure That You Listen and Learn From The Right People….


One of the most important marketing ideas in dentistry is the ability to attract an endless supply of new patients to your dental office.

With the increasing number of dental offices and dental practices appearing as a result of dental schools producing more graduates coupled with the registration of overseas trained dentists, today it is more imperative than ever before to be able to make your dental office stand out among all the others in your town as being *THE ONLY* Dental Office to choose when it comes to the provision of World Class Dentistry.

Historically, great street presence or exposure for your Dental Office will always create maximum visibility and therefore place your practice to “front of mind” for regular passers by.

If people know where you are, and pass you by on a regular basis, then it’s only logical that when it comes time for them to choose a Dental Office, or a new Dental Office, then chances are your office could well be the one they choose, as a result of the regular exposure.

Similarly, if you regularly promote your dental office in local media, such as local newspapers and local television and radio, the regular exposure of your dental office will put your office to front of mind.

My belief is that local media campaigns need to be of sufficient length of duration to allow for best results. Short-term campaigns in these forms of media usually tend to be less effective than prolonged long term exposure.

You’ll often hear dentists say “Oh I tried X medium and it didn’t work”. What they really are saying is that they tried X medium but not for sufficient duration to allow it to work.

The same can be said for direct response marketing. Letterbox drop campaigns, in the first instance, can be very effective in building name exposure, if used on a long-term basis.

It’s the exact same puts your brand, your dental office to front of mind, so that when it is time for Mrs. General Public to find a dentist, she immediately thinks of the dentist with the nice flyer that drops off in her mailbox.

An important key to great direct response letterbox dropping of flyers is the ability to test and measure and then slice and dice your data and list to work out exactly which demographics and psychographics are responding to your marketing.

Keeping good records of who responds to which delivery is imperative to maximising your advertising spend using this form of medium.

You can collect data on amount spent, male vs. female, young vs. old, as well as street address and even [using Google earth and Google maps] house size and type. You should be able to then narrow it down to your “ideal customer” who responds well to your best flyer and also spends well.

The beauty of using direct response marketing along with local media is that it provides a memory jog to the general public. As they sort through the contents of their letterbox, [usually over a bin], they see your flyer, consider it interesting, and put it aside for reference at a later date, in a similar way that they would a local restaurant take away menu… The same is true for newspaper advertising…they know they’ve seen your advert in the newspaper, and now it’s time to find a new dentist they head straight to the newspaper to source out your ad.

Even if, when it’s time for them to instantly find a dentist and they go online to search, you can certainly have a great advantage over your competitors that only use online if your potential customer recognises your name or brand online as the same brand or name that they have seen in their mail box or in their local newspaper.

I built a very successful and profitable dental office in an average suburb with average patients with average incomes. My dental office, Active Dental Parramatta, was located on the top floor of a four-story building with no street exposure whatsoever except for an illuminated light sign.

Over a period of twenty-six years, I was able to build my dental office by anticipating marketing trends and staying ahead of my competitors when it came to attracting quality new patients to my dental office.

Correctly marketing your dental office is not a separate process. How you market your office to both new patients and existing patients *is* an integral component of The Ultimate Patient Experience.


The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me:

Did you like this blog article? If you did then hit the share buttons below and share it with your friends and colleagues. Share it via email, Facebook and twitter!!

Don’t Make These Mistakes… Make Sure That You Listen and Learn From The Right People….

How To Avoid Making These Three Devastating Mistakes, Next Time You Make A TLC Call…

One of the best ways to connect with your customers and patients is to contact them post sale to see that everything is going well with their purchase.

In dentistry we call this the TLC call. TLC is short for Tender Loving Care.

The TLC call is not taught in dental school. Its something not unique to dentistry, but it is something very appropriate in dentistry. It is a great way of showing your patients and customers that you truly care for them and you value their custom.

There are various theories and versions of how and when to conduct your TLC calls.

In The Ultimate Patient experience, we’ve come to realize and rationalize what we believe to be the best and most efficient methods and reasons for making the TLC call.

I know there are many theories on the efficacy and necessities of the TLC call. In this blog I’ll explain what works best for me at Active Dental, and what works best for clients of The Ultimate Patient Experience.

Firstly, we don’t call every patient post operatively. Categorically! We only telephone call the following patients the next day after they have received these treatments:

  • Dental extractions
  • Implant fixture placement
  • Crown insertions
  • Denture issues
  • Pulpal extirpations
  • Braces fixed ortho placements

I know that some dental offices make it policy to call every patient who has received an injection. I’m sure there’s a good reason for this theory. I’m not quite sure what that reasoning is. To me it seems like a little bit of overkill.

Secondly, we advocate that the TLC call is made by either the dental assistant that works with the dentist on that appointment, or if she’s not able to then the front office person who checked out the patient.

The reason we disclude the dentist from making the calls is simple. Well, actually, there are two. Firstly, sometimes patients think that the dentist has maybe done something wrong, or made a mistake, if he’s making the call himself.  This chance thought seriously interrupts the simple process and efficacy of the well-constructed TLC call.

Secondly, if patients do indeed have a concern, they are less likely to tell the dentist (if he makes the TLC call) than they are to tell the dental assistant or the front office person.

You see, in the whole process of the Ultimate Patient Experience, the dentist only “touches” the patient three times in the treatment cycle, whereas front office and back office team members are responsible for something like fourteen or fifteen touches within the cycle. It only goes to reason then that these team members have far more connection with the patient already. It is important for them to use this connection “coin” when re-connecting on the TLC call.

When is the best time of day to make a TLC call? Remembering that the purpose of the TLC call is to determine that the patient is feeling OK and normal following treatment, then the call is meant to be a very brief check in rather than a long conversation.

The best time to make a TLC call is to call the patient at their work while they are at work, preferably in the morning.

“Hi Mr. Jones. It’s Jodie here from Active Dental. Have I caught you at a good time?”

“Dr Moffet’s just asked me to give you a quick call to check that everything is feeling OK after he’s placed that crown for you yesterday?”

“Just checking that the bite feels comfortable?”  Etc..

“That’s great, I’ll relay that information back to Dr Moffet. Thank you so much for taking my call. We’ll see you at your next appointment in July”

The call is brief, yet concerned. It’s interested and genuine.

The reason we call the office or workplace is simple. Our patient gets off the phone and says to their work colleague, “You’ll never believe who that was! That was my dentist calling to see how I was feeling after yesterday’s appointment!!”

And the work colleague says:

“Wow! That must be some dentist! My dentist never calls!”

This is why we call at work, never at home. It’s the chance to expose a non-patient nearby to a sample of the great Customer Service we provide at our dental office. There is rarely an audience like this listening in at home.

Another reason for calling at work, if possible, is that home, especially toward the end of the day, can be very variable or hit and miss with the patient. They may have had a hard day, there may be children to be fed and bathed.

A well-structured TLC call policy is essential in your Customer Service armamentarium. How good is your system?


There are many straight forward and easy to implement  protocols and procedures that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple to build system 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.

Email me at

Did you like this blog article? If you did then hit the share buttons below and share it with your friends and colleagues. Share it via email, Facebook and twitter!!

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