Customer Service Eyes. Can You Grow Them Or Are You Born With Them?

Customer Service Eyes. Can You Grow Them Or Are You Born With Them?

We all want and need employees with Customer Service Eyes. And Customer Service DNA.

Speaking personally, I don’t believe that I was born with Customer Service Eyes. Or Customer Service DNA either, for that matter.

Nobody is.

I believe that Customer Service Eyes and Customer Service DNA are acquired or learned skills. And as such, since I’ve learned them, anyone else can learn these skills. It really is that simple.

Let me explain.

Last night, and also last month, as a customer, I experienced two very similar examples of businesses *NOT* operating with their Customer Service Radars up and fully operational.

Simple problems easily solved, but not thought through at all. Let me share….

Last month, as some of you may be aware, I had the pleasure of entertaining some American friends who had made the journey to the glorious Land Down Under that I call home.

On one expedition out, my friends and my wife and I called in for a late lunch at a small restaurant we know and enjoy.

Now we know the owner. A lovely man. But sometimes his Customer Service Radar is just not up. Sadly here’s what happened.

With our meal, my thirsty American friend and I ordered a couple of Crownies. Two Crown Lagers*. Australian beer. Premium beer. Good premium beer.

“Sorry sir, we’re out of Crownies.”



“OK. We’ll have two Peronis.”

Now I know the restaurant is closed after Sunday lunch through until Friday lunchtime. So I know it runs on a part time basis… But I thought it odd to run out of local premium beer. Considering bottled beer keeps and doesn’t perish…at least not in a week…

As we finished those, during our short lunch, we asked the waitress for two more. Peronis. Two more Peronis.

“Sorry sir, we’re out of Peronis.”



“What other full strength beer do you have?”

“None sir. Sorry.”


My second story, about lack of Customer Service DNA occurred last night at the Sydney annual Night Noodle Markets being held this week in beautiful Hyde Park in Sydney. These markets are a week long event, held every October, where many Sydney Asian-style restaurants have stalls set up selling food samplings, in small serves, to be eaten and consumed at casual outdoor table and chair settings.

After walking around, and studying the various stands, we made our various food purchases, and proceeded to a separated area to sit down and eat.

Now this separated area was provided for customers of a certain sponsor of the event. I liked the area, as the tables and chairs were nicer, the area had a level flooring, and the area was also offering for staff to go out to two associated stalls and collect food for patrons if need be. There was also a private bar and drink facility in this area. So, it was a reasonable deal for this sponsor.

Now silly me.

I’d bought two laksas. About as far away from this area as you could. So by the time I got back to this private area, sat down and started eating, my wife pointed out to me that I’d been given forks by the laksa vendor [plastic forks], instead of noodle spoons [plastic noodle spoons] with the chopsticks and napkins.

Silly me.

Now if you know laksas, then a fork is next to useless.

I suppose if you can’t use chopsticks then the fork does has have a purpose, I guess?

But no spoon? How the heck do you get to the liquid? It’s impossible to use the fork!

[Although, as plastic forks, these were shaped more like a splade*, but not much, because they only lifted about one or two milliltres of laksa juice at a time.]

So we soldiered on.

[By the way, we knew that spoons were available, because my teenage son, who had bought a soup from another vendor, was consuming his meal, albeit now painstakingly rather slowly, with one of these said spoons….]

Anyway, so we soldiered on

Now this area, because of its restricted nature, was less than full. Well almost empty…

Now this was because of two reasons. Firstly, it was a colder than it should be night, by Sydney springtime standards, due to an unusual cold snap.

And also, surprise surprise, we were dining late….

As we do….

Anyway, the restricted area was well attended by staff, all regaled in shirts bearing the sponsoring company’s colour and logo.

So, after struggling with the fork, my wife asks one of these staff members, who was very pleasant, if they had any plastic noodle spoons available.

“I don’t think so. I know we’ve got plenty of chopsticks. Let me go and check.”

She goes. And she returns.

“Sorry, we have no spoons.”


Now in both these cases, the opportunity was there for both employees to go *Above and Beyond* and really create a *WOW* experience for us, their customers. An experience or story that we’d have been happy to share, and share, and share…

You see, at the restaurant, there’s a pub across the road. And pubs sell beer.

SO wouldn’t it just have been great if the waitress had returned, and said:

“I’m sorry for the delay sir. You wouldn’t have believed it, but last night we were so busy our patrons drank us right out of all full strength beer.

“Anyway, fortunately, I’ve been able to run across the road to the pub and get you your beers…”

Nice cold beers….

Now, wouldn’t that have been great? And would that have really been so difficult to do?

Similarly, too, at the noodle market, what if that staff person had returned, and said:

“Sir, sorry for the delays. Here are your spoons. You know, for some reason we didn’t have any, but I was able to run over to XYZ vendor who gladly gave me some for you to use…”

In both these instances, there was great opportunity for both employees to activate some *Service Recovery* by going, and then sharing, how they went *Above and Beyond* to rectify these service defects.

But they didn’t.

And the opportunities were lost.

The opportunities to star.

The opportunities to make my day.

To be Day-makers….

The opportunities for service recovery are there in every business. But the team needs to have their radars on.

And sadly, in most cases, they don’t.

And I don’t know whether it’s because they just don’t have the Radar? Or the Customer Service Eyes. Or the DNA needed.

Or that they’re just not allowed to.

To have it. And to use it.

In any case, it’s sad when Service Recovery Opportunities are missed.

Sad for all.

Sad for the business.

Sad for the staff and team members.

And sad for the customer.

Because it’s opportunity lost…


* Crown Lager and Peroni are both bottled beer. In this case. Not “tap” beer.

*A splade is an eating implement invented some time back now to be a three-in-one spoon, fork and knife. I never owned one. Or used one for that matter…

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Developing Customer Service Eyes, and Customer Service DNA, is  just one of the  many benefits of using the straight forward and easy to implement  modules  that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple to build 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.

Email me at

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Customer Service Eyes. Can You Grow Them Or Are You Born With Them?

The Power of Masterminding…and What You May Never Know…

One of the great things about being a thought leader in your chosen career is the ability or permission or invitations extended to you to Mastermind with fellow like minded people in a conducive think tank environment.

These mastermind sessions are invaluable in business as a relevant event because they act as an incubator for wonderful ideas that can be used and developed in relation to your business.

Mastermind groups serve as closed-door open forums, if that’s at all possible, to provide an environment for new ideas to be postulated and for successful ideas to be shared. The closed-door nature means that what gets said in the room stays in the room. So Mastermind participants are free to share ideas and results openly.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending an annual Mastermind meeting of Exceptional Australian Dentists. This group has been meeting annually now for some eleven years, or twelve meetings.

While it has sometimes been a chore for some members to drag themselves away from the daily minutia that engrosses their lives, for others of us, Mastermind meetings are like a breath of fresh air, providing a well-needed shot in the arm of ideas, methods and new technologies. It’s really a great feeling leaving a masterminding session knowing that you’re carrying a rucksack of immediately useful and relevant ideas and information that you can put into action the very next day to impact immediately in a positive way on improving your sales, your processes and ultimately the bottom line of your business as well.

This dental Mastermind meeting held last weekend was no exception. Two invited speakers from outside of the dental industry enlightened the masterminders on the whole big difference between Social Media, Facebook, and Social Media. And I repeated that term for a reason.

I think that for there were some dentists present who had been rejecting Facebook as being just a fad, or worse still, an annoying fad. At the end of the meeting these guys were simply left gob smacked as to how big an ocean Social Media actually really is. Even the dentists who were up with things Social were just amazed as to the extent of how many mini and major tidal waves there are that are occurring within that very ocean.

I know that I left the meeting with an enormous list of tools and apps and sites that I can use at Active Dental as well as use within my running of and in its communications as well.

I also learned that in terms of Social Media marketing my businesses, there’s way more available and working out there than just plain old SEO and PPC.

Prior to this meeting, I’d been wondering what the next big marketing opportunity for dental practices and offices was…I think I’ve found it…more on this soon.

In dental practice, through time, I’ve been fortunate to have ridden the waves of Yellow pages, Internet and Google, local newspapers and SEO and PPC. While some of these media are now less effective than they used to be, others of them have become so flooded that future opportunities are appearing limited.

The thing is, if I’d have adopted the attitude that I knew it all and there was little for me to learn at a Mastermind meeting, then I’d have missed the opportunity of hearing of these great new avenues and tools that are out there on the cutting edge that very few dental offices are aware of.

Sometimes our own intelligence can hinder our progress.

I’m glad that on this weekend, that was not the case for me at all.

I’m glad that I’m of the belief, that I should never miss the opportunity to learn more.

I hope you too, will learn and use and benefit from the power of Masterminding with like-minded people.


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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Answering the Dental Office Phone 101. Three Sure Ways To Stop Offending Your Clients and Customers

Answering the Dental Office Phone 101. Three Sure Ways To Stop Offending Your Clients and Customers

Over the last month I’ve been performing some Mystery Shopper Calls to Dental Offices around Australia.

Not only have I been phoning general dentists, but I’ve also been phoning some of the better Dental Offices around Australia. Some of the top producers and high-end offices.


Although the courtesies and friendliness are more apparent and forthcoming at the top end offices, as you would expect, I found three glaring commonalities that I bet the owners of all those Dental Offices don’t even know are occurring. Mistakes and errors that are basically rubbing patient enquiries up the wrong way.

These are three things being done or asked that could easily be changed for greater and immediate benefit to the Dental Practice.

Three simple things that you probably don’t even know or consider are abrasive, or offending…

Let me explain.

Firstly, I gave up counting the number of times I was asked this question:

“Have you been here before?”

Every time I was asked this, and it was rarely, if at all that I was *not* asked; every time I was asked this it showed me there existed a complete lack of thought process into making the appointment-making-experience a true *Ultimate Patient Experience*.

Because if this question had been really thought through, it would have been asked in a completely different way.

It would have been asked in a completely inoffensive manner, instead of this potentially offensive phraseology.

So let’s look at this scenario:

“Hello, I’d like to make an appointment.”

Receptionist says, “Have you been here before?”

This is wrong. Wrong. Very wrong.

What if the person calling then replied:

“Have I been there before? I’ve been there so often that I’ve paid for his new beach house/ last overseas trip/ his children’s private schooling/ his new 7 Series!!”

See what I mean?

What if it’s an existing long-term patient on the phone, who get’s upset that their voice has not been recognised?

What if it’s last week’s fourteen unit case calling to come in for a review?

So what other words would be better?

Why not try this?

“Hello, I’d like to make an appointment.”

Receptionist says, “When were you last in to see Dr Moffet?”


Caller says: “I’ve not been to your office before.”

Or, caller says: “I was there last week/ last month/ last June….”

You see, the question really being asked is whether or not you are an existing patient or a new patient calling.

And as you can see, the verbiage used in trying to gain this answer can be polite, or unintentionally offensive.

And most times we don’t even know we’re doing it….

Secondly, in Mystery Shopping and making appointments, I was asked on numerous occasions, on the phone, for my date of birth.

When making an appointment?


What has my age got to do with my new patient appointment?

Do they have a special old folks afternoon?

Or a Gen Y day?

Excuse me, but I really felt this was a question that didn’t need to be asked at this point in time on the phone. It could easily have been left until the new patient information was gathered, either via pre appointment email or mail, or collected on the day of the appointment.

Is that right?

Because, while this question is being asked on the phone, and the answer given, all that means is that another more relevant question is not being asked.

And that’s valuable time wasted. Both for the Dental Office, and the Patient.

Now, I’ve been told, that some dental software doesn’t allow an appointment to be made without a DOB being entered.

So who invented this software and this step?

A government official?

If this is the software you use, you need to call the company and tell them to amend this step.

It’s pointless!

Having to ask for DOB at this point is a complete waste of everybody’s time.

Thirdly, but not finally, all Dental Offices need to make sure that the person answering the phone is in command of the appointment book. And its template. And that the template is being followed.

Because, at each office that I called, I was given too many options for making an appointment.

And as a New Patient calling, I shouldn’t be given that much control or information.

As a New Patient, I should only be given alternate choices.

“What works better for you Mr. Smith, morning or afternoon appointments?”
A: “Mornings.”

“I’ve got an appointment available on Friday this week at 8:00am, or Thursday next week at 1:000am. Which of those would suit you better?”

Now I may have a whole book of empty appointments free and available for Mr. Smith, but if I let him know that he can choose his own time, guess what will happen when he comes to make his next time and his next time and the time after that too?

Yes, he’ll want to choose his own time. That suits him. And may not be best for us.

And that’s not good.

You see phone answering is an art.

And it’s a skill that can be learned.

And is taught.

An important skill.

You see, having your Dental Office phone answered incorrectly is costing you money.

And that’s *Free Money*!!

Because we’re talking about customers and clients that you’ve already paid for.

Through existing advertising and marketing. And existing patients.

They only need to be handled and appointed and converted correctly. Or better. Or both.

To convert more calls into appointments, you need to be taught properly.

And learn it.

And have this new skill monitored and maintained.

Otherwise it will relapse.

Like a diet. Like an exercise programme. Like palatal expansion.

Like most things.

And that, in dentistry and the Business of Dentistry, will be very expensive….


Answering the phone, in the best possible manner,  is just one of the  many straight forward and easy to implement  modules  that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple to build 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.

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!!

People Are Strange Creatures…

People Are Strange Creatures…

People are strange creatures.

Today’s blog, as usual, being the second blog for the week, is on the business of dentistry.

And today I have a lesson. On people.

People are strange creatures.

This week, as those of you who are my Facebook friends will know, I have been entertaining visitors from overseas. It has been wonderful fun being their host, and playing tour guide in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and the Southern Highlands.


We’ve had a great time.

In between times I’ve been drilling teeth and doing what I always do with the Ultimate Patient Experience Programme.

One of my visitors asked if I could organise a meeting for the dental profession, at short notice, on his field of expertise, Dental Embezzlement.

No problem. Done deal. A topic of interest to all dentists, globally.

So I put together a meeting, emailed a few chat groups, and went about filling the room for him.

The Australian Dental Association sent someone out to record an interview with my friend.

Apparently the ADA has not been able to find an expert in this field in the land Down Under.

Anyway, a small crowd enjoyed a very informative two-hour presentation, and time just flew.

It was a great night for those who attended, as was evident from the feedback. It was a shame the meeting was called on such short notice, and so many could not attend. As one attendee wrote to me in an email, “so many missed out. Bad luck to them.”

In the wash up, I received an interesting “group email” sent to my Dental School Class of 1982, about using the email list for “promoting private business”.

It was an indirect, on purpose, go at me for sending details out to that list about the Embezzlement Information night.

This dig back at me reminded me, that people are people. And, too, that even in my dental office, you think you know people, but you don’t know people.

At my dental office we email information and newsletters to our patient database. Regularly.

However, every time we send out an email broadcast, our list self selects, as there are always subscribers who will opt out and decide that they don’t want to be bothered with our dental information for them.

What surprises me, is that sometimes these opter outers are regular good attendees of the dental office.

And that’s the bit that I find strange.

And I live with it.

These opter outers are committed to their teeth, and dental health, as is evident by their actions and attendances at the dental office.

But for some reason, they choose not to receive our information and newsletters about dentistry, and also choose to let us know this.

And that’s what I find odd, because to me, it’s really making a statement, about nothing really.

It’s only email. It’s not letterbox clogging forest destroying physical mail?

As Ray Hadley says about his radio show, there’s an off button and a dial. Listeners are free to use both whenever they want.

And it’s the same with email. There’s a junk folder, and a delete button. For everyone to use, at their own discretion, and nobody is the wiser.

And nobody gets offended.

Sometimes with the email broadcasts, we will receive an occasional strong email back asking to be removed from the list. Usually from a new addition to the list.

But sometimes I feel it would be better for them to just click the Unsubscribe button.

So here’s my point. Or points.

Firstly, you can’t be everything to everybody. It’s impossible. People are people and people are different. From each other. And from themselves at different times. Get used to it and deal with it accordingly.

But don’t try to accommodate everyone. If you do, you’ll just give yourself an ulcer on the way to the poor house.

There will always be people, who despite your best intentions and your courtesies, will not be receptive to you, to your thoughts, to your words, and to your actions.

Despite how nice and polite you are.

Secondly, know that it’s a statistic. Accept that this statistic exists, and move on quickly.

Focus on your successes, and your wins and your winners. |

Not on your whiners.

They will only hold you back, from your mission, from your destiny.

History is littered with stories of people who have failed to act, to their own detriment, and missed out on great successes, because they listened to a few negative comments and let those comments get in the way of their mission.

Don’t allow the minds of the mediocre to deter you from your destiny.

Not just in email, but in business, and in life.

I feel so sad when I hear people say, “my staff would never let me do that” or “my spouse doesn’t want me to…[blank]”

There will always be whiners and excuse makers. Always.

Accept that people are strange creatures.

And know it.

And act accordingly, with that knowledge.


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!!

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