It’s About Being Their Friend

It’s About Being Their Friend

I often say when discussing The Ultimate Patient Experience with clients and with prospective clients, the feeling we want to convey is that we are their friend, who happens to be their dental office, as opposed to their dental office trying to be their friends.

This statement really came home to hit hard this week at Active Dental. I’d like to share those stories with you.

I have several patients, many, who have been coming to Active Dental for longer than the twenty seven years that I have owned and then run the dental office.

One of those patients, Ellen*, is one of my favourites. And last week we seated five anterior porcelain veneers and crowns, which were an amazing improvement for her.

And will be life changing.

You see, Ellen comes four times a year for quarterly hygiene and check up visits. And being older than me, her teeth are discoloured with age.

They are also heavily restored, and there is one that sits right out…. but not any more!!

Last year, Ellen asked me if her teeth would be strong enough to accept some cosmetic improvement, like veneers.

And when she did ask, I was so happy to be able to offer her, and complete, this life changing improvement to her smile.

And I was so glad to.

You see, it had always irked me, that I had never suggested veneers to Ellen before. At all. Because Ellen was our friend, I’d always known that she was sensible with her money, and that there wasn’t much.

And so I’d never offered her any cosmetic options.

Well now, Ellen’s teeth and smile are magnificent. No real thanks to me, but thanks to Ellen. For trusting me, and our friendship, enough to ask.

My second story, and a sad one, is about Pete*.

Let me tell you about Pete. Top bloke. Absolutely top bloke. Been coming to see me for some time. Regular hygiene visits. Smile improvements. All good.

Pete, and his lovely wife Dorothy*, have been coming regularly for donkeys’ years. And they were originally referred to me by their now daughter in law Alison*, whose teeth I straightened prior to her wedding. Actually, the wedding date had to be pushed back because of the braces!

Anyway, Pete had a short appointment to see me last Wednesday. And a couple of hours before, he rang, alarm in his voice, saying he needed to cancel, something had come up, and he would call back later to reschedule.

Which is unlike Pete. Very unlike Pete.

All Pete would say was that it wasn’t about him or Dorothy, but there was a family issue, he said to Jayne, my wife, who took the call.

And that was all.

But we were alarmed….

Turn the clock forward a couple of days, and Pete calls back, and reschedules for Friday.

The reason that Pete had to change his appointment was this.

They’re adult married son Tim, who I’d treated many years ago as a teenager, had suffered an enormous loss.

Tim’s wife, had just gotten news that her full term first child, had died, and needed to be delivered…. stillborn.

My mother once said to me, that the thought and the grief of having to bury your own child was inconceivable and unfathomable to her.

As it’s not meant to be.

But it does happen.

And it’s happened to me and Jayne.

And because of this history, Jayne was able to reach out to Dorothy, and offer advice, and condolences.

And I was able to offer a hand to Tim, through Pete.

And it was Dorothy who said then, to Jayne:

“Oh my’re not our’re our friends.”

And that’s what it’s all about.

It’s about being a friend first…because everyone needs a friend.

We all need a friend…

On a sad note to finish, I woke on Sunday morning to the news via Facebook, that my friend and dental colleague from Mississippi Lisa Marie, had lost her adult daughter, killed in an automobile accident.

I have been amazed how the dental Facebook community, has offered so much love and friendship to Lisa Marie, at this sad time.

Life can change in an instant.


And when it does, for someone you know, it’s great to be a friend…


P.S. as a postscript, our patient Ellen, shares her birthday with our son James. And was a friend for us, at that time, all those years ago…and still is.

It was during Ellen’s appointment on Friday that Pete rang, with the sad news…


*Names have been changed, where appropriate, for privacy reasons


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.

Email me at

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It’s About Being Their Friend

The New Employee Job Interview: What NOT to do….

I don’t know about you, but one of the few things I really *DO NOT* enjoy in being a business owner, or more specifically, a *Dental Practice Owner*, is interviewing for dental staff.

It’s such a rocky road!

Usually you’re in quick need of a replacement team member. So you’re intimidated by the clock running down.

You need to fill that vacancy quickly!

And for whatever reason you like, this is never a good scenario.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are the times when you interview for a new position yet to be created in your organisation.

And sometimes this is even more arduous.

Because you’re selling the invisible!!

You’re selling a position vacant of hope.

You hope there’ll be enough work to keep the new employee busy.

You hope the right applicant will buy into your plans of grandeur and expansion….

Whether it’s a new dental assistant role, a new dentist, or extra dentist being added to your office, or even a whole new start up office, you’re advertising a position of hope.

Same goes when advertising for a dental hygienist for the first time. As one of my clients is learning, that’s a real leap of faith. But that feeling, in itself, is a topic for another day.

What I really wanted to talk about today was the fantasy and the chores involved in interviewing, reading CVs, and checking references.

Years ago, I interviewed a lady for a front office position in my dental office. Let’s call her Karen.

Now Karen was working a few suburbs away, and actually for a friend or acquaintance of mine. [Let’s call him Bob]

This lady presented well, seemed qualified, and explained the reasons why she had frustrations with her current position at Bob’s. All valid reasons.

I agreed with her frustrations, and identified them as being caused by a cloudy or hazy “mixed” job description, and knew that that issue would not be a concern in my organisation.

Well turn the clock forward from that time about twelve months, and our front office lady Karen has just moved on, and I bump into my friend Bob, her previous employer, at a dental function.

When I mention to Bob that I we had had an employee, Karen, in common, he simply said to me words which ring in my head on a daily basis:

“Why didn’t you call?”

Why didn’t I indeed!!

Bob explained to me that had I have called him, he would have been able to share with me some relevant information that may have saved me some anguish.

And there in lies my point.

Usually CVs are a preparation of fantasy and embellishment.

And in this case I fell for the simple three-card trick….

But sadly, I’ve seen it happen in the reverse as well….

I’ve had prospective employers call me for references for past employees of mine who have overstated their roles that they had with me.

Yes! That’s right!!

And sadly, I’ve had other cases where friends have fallen for the same three-card trick that I had fallen for.

Where they’ve employed a former employee of mine without cross checking references back to me…

So what do you do? What can you do?

I’ve had two times in my career where I’ve employed  “golden” employees without success.

What’s a golden employee?

A golden employee is a candidate for a position, who has worked previously for a colleague, and whose references for the position have been verified by my colleague.

Glowing references.

Backed up.

Yet for one reason or another, the golden candidate has fallen short of the mark at my office.

Failed to deliver.


So it’s horses for courses.

And I really don’t know what the answer is.

Because often the answer is looking you back in the mirror.

Often it’s just you, too.

Like I said, often the employment environment or circumstances in your office are not ideal at the time you need to fill the position.

So you compromise.

You hire fast.

You dismiss valid points, that later shine back at you like brilliant warning lights…

That you ignored…

And you did.

And you shouldn’t have….

Gut feel can sometimes really be so right.

But it can really be so wrong too…

Unfortunately, I don’t have a golden pill for this.

But I sure know that I’ll never *NOT* call, where I can…


Correct interviewing techniques are part of  The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple easy to implement system that 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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It’s About Being Their Friend

The Ultimate In Advance Pre-Appointment Phone Call

One of the easiest ways of creating a point of difference between your Dental Office and every other Dental Office in your neighbourhood

is by using the Ultimate In Advance Pre-Appointment Phone Call.

The Ultimate In Advance Pre-Appointment Phone Call is so simple to perform, and takes little or no time. It really does create an immediate point of difference for your Dental Office.

Here’s how it works:

The Doctor’s appointment schedule, and the Hygienist’s appointment schedule are scoured in advance to determine who is coming in to see them, and whether those appointments are arranged correctly and of appropriate length.

That’s a given.

In so doing, the Appointment Schedule Co-coordinator is able to identify all New Patients to the Dental Practice that have upcoming first appointments with the Doctor and with the hygienists.

Now these patients, or should I say clients, are people who have never visited your office before, and also, should be people seeing that specific Doctor or that hygienist for the very first time.

Firstly, a new patient or client to your Dental Office will be just bowled over with awe and amazement when they receive a call to their phone, the day before their appointment, from the Doctor or hygienist that they will be seeing, welcoming them with an Ultimate In Advance Pre-Appointment Phone Call.

Imagine the New Customer’s excitement when they hang up the phone, and realise,  “Hey, that was my new *DENTIST* from tomorrow calling me personally to welcome me to the Dental Office and to ask me, in person, whether there is anything at all he can do for me to make my visit as pleasant as possible!!”

Or hygienist as well calling..

And the reason this simple thirty second phone call is so successful is because *NO OTHER* Dental Office around you does this.

And there’s your point of differentiation.

Imagine your New Patient’s Co-Workers’ reactions when your new patient puts down the phone and announces to those around her:

“You’ll never guess who that was who just called me!!”

Because no other Dental Office around ever does that!

Imagine the co-workers’ amazement when your New Patient tells them:

“That was the *Dentist* himself calling me personally to welcome me to their office for my appointment tomorrow!”

Your Dental Office will be the talk of their office because simply, no other Dentist around takes the time to welcome New Patients in this personalised way, to his office.

Imagine the power, or should I say, the coin the Dentist now has when he meets that patient the following day for the very first time.

Sure, the New Client has seen your photo on your Website, so they know what you look like, and they may have read the “About The Doctor” page on your website as well.

But to receive a personal call from the Doctor who will be treating them tomorrow…well that’s just something truly special….

The exact same protocol also applies if the New Patient is seeing the hygienist at the Dental Office as their first treatment appointment.

The hygienist calls the patient the day before and welcomes the New Patient personally to the Dental Office:

“Hi Mrs. Smith. It’s Sunny here. I’m the Dental Hygienist at Active Dental and I just wanted to call you [personally] and welcome you to our Dental Office, and to let you know I’m looking forward to meeting you tomorrow.”

“Now is there anything at all I can do for you tomorrow to make your visit more comfortable?”


Secondly, and just as importantly, is the need for a New Client or Customer being transferred within the Dental Office to be called in advance by the next practitioner with an Ultimate In Advance Pre-Appointment Phone Call.

Let me explain…

Mrs. Smith has become a new patient at Active Dental. She’s been there once, to see Dr Jones, who has repaired her chipped tooth. Dr Jones has recommended to Mrs. Smith that she see the Dental Hygienist, Sunny, at Active Dental, and Mrs. Smith has that appointment tomorrow.

Imagine Mrs. Smith’s surprise when she receives an Ultimate In Advance Pre-Appointment Phone Call the day before her hygiene appointment, from the hygienist she is about to meet for the first time tomorrow, calling to introduce herself!

“Hello Mrs. Smith. It’s Sunny here from Active Dental. I’m the Dental Hygienist there and I see that Dr Jones has asked you to make an appointment with me. I’m just calling to introduce myself personally to you and to let you know how delighted I am to be meeting you tomorrow.”

“Is there anything at all I can do for you tomorrow to make your visit more comfortable?”

Again, imagine Mrs. Smith’s amazement when she receives this call from your Dental Office. After all, she’s already been to your office and seen the Dentist. Imagine her surprise to receive the personal call from your Dental Hygienist, introducing herself!

Imagine Mrs. Smith telling her co-workers about who just called her!

Imagine creating that point of difference…

Imagine…the Ultimate In Advance Pre-Appointment Phone Call …


The Ultimate In Advance Pre-Appointment Phone Call is just one of the many protocols and procedures you will learn about in The Ultimate Patient Experience, 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.

Email me at

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