Hiring The Best People To Provide The Ultimate Patient Experience

Hiring The Best People To Provide The Ultimate Patient Experience

Who are the best people to have on board as your team members and co-workers in your Dental Office?

What sort of person is the “right fit” for an office providing the Ultimate Patient Experience for its clients and customers?

The simple answer to this question is that it’s an employee for whom nothing is ever too much of a bother for them.



You know the kind?

An employee who is always looking to make others happy.

An employee whose sole purpose in life is that they have *a need to please*.

They have a need to please their employer.

They have a need to please their co-workers.

And they have a need to please their customers.

They’re the kind of employee who does things without ever having to be asked.

They’re on top of their game.

They’re always busy.

They’ve always got something happening.

When they’re not with a patient, then they’re with the office.

And by that, they’re busy.

They’re busy restocking. They’re busy cleaning and polishing. They’re busy preparing. They’re busy getting ready for whatever’s coming up either in the short term or the long term.

They’re always looking after their boss and their co-workers.

If they’re going out, they’re asking all the team if any of them need anything?

And that includes checking with the dentist as well, just in case?

I guess it’s a case of the employee doing *Offer The Offer* with her co-workers, isn’t it?


She’s the kind of employee who brings the dentist a cup of tea without asking, or better still, has a hot cup of tea ready and waiting for the dentist the moment he arrives at the Dental Office in the morning.

She’s the kind of employee you need to force to take her lunch break, who without asking, is always back before she’s needed and who makes sure that if she’s not going to be able to, then she has everything ready, and I mean everything ready, so that nobody is let down by her absence.

And she knows that down the back in the Dental Office, there’s always, always something to do.

With patients, she’s not a Dental Assistant, she’s a carer.

She’s an attendee.

She’s a companion.

She’s a true friend.

She’s their friend first and their Dental Assistant secondly.

At the front desk, she’s so customer centric, it’s just amazing to behold.

She’s a concierge.

She’s a companion.

She’s a hostess.

She’s greeting the patients like they’re her long lost friends.

Or better still, like they’re her sister, her aunty, her niece, or her Nan.

Or her Pop.

There’s a genuine love and respect that she gives out to her clients, that they can only reciprocate, because anything less from them would be an insult.

And yet she gives out this warmth unconditionally.

When she’s on the phone, or making appointments, she’s committed to making sure that it’s an “experience” for the customer, and the action of making the booking is purely secondary to the duty of displaying genuine care and love and respect for that patient, first and foremost.

And yet, through all this, she has an underlying concern and care for the Dental Office that it’s needs are being met.

Because a busy office is a happy office.

But not just a busy office. A productive office.

She knows that it’s important for the patient that all their dental work that gets diagnosed gets scheduled and completed.

Because what’s best for the patient is a healthy mouth, not incomplete work and active disease.

And nothing is ever too much for her.

It’s no trouble for her to get the door for the elderly. In fact, it’s no trouble for her to sometimes go and get the elderly and drive them to your office.

Because that’s the kind of person she is.

She’s completing her bookwork, she’s completing her paperwork, and she’s up to date with her domain.

And all that’s in it.

Without being asked.

And nothing is ever a bother, or too much trouble.

If she’s part of the clinical team, she knows its bad form to be walking out the front door while the patient she just finished treating is still being served at the front office.

Not so much for the patient, but for the front office team mates.

And in the mornings, if she’s a later starter, she walks around the office and greets every employee and every patient by name.


And sometimes, out of the blue, she’ll bring hot bread and pastries for her patients and co-workers.

Because she has a need to please.

Finally, if she’s a doctor, or a hygienist, she greets each team member as if they are her superior, because she knows, that without their help, her role in the office is so much more difficult.

She’s full of praise for her customers and clients.

And for her co-workers.

For her co-workers, she’s full of gratitude.

When she arrives, she greets everybody by name, and when she leaves, at the end of the day, it’s exactly the same.

But with sincere thanks and appreciation for the contributions of her co-workers.

And again, when she’s not with patients, she’s with the practice.

Going over files, and checking on patients who require follow on care.

Because dentistry is about care.

You’ll know when you have the services of a great team member working with you.

Just like you’ll know when you have not.

You’ll know that a great team member, as I’ve described, is, as they say in the ad, priceless….

Worth their weight in gold…

The Ultimate Patient Experience is 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: david@theUPE.com

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The Roles of An Employer. When Is Enough Finally Enough?

The Roles of An Employer. When Is Enough Finally Enough?

This has been a very interesting week.

It’s been a time where discussion has turned to the “value” of an employee to an organisation.

How much is someone “worth” as an employee to your business, and where do you draw the line in terms of their pay, or their behaviours?

There’s always the consideration of pay.

Because, despite the fact that we think that an employee is on a good rate of pay, they will always believe that they should be being paid more.

I’ve seen an employee dentist earning 44% of close to a million dollars of billings, go leave that job to buy their own business, so that they could own all that little bit extra that the principal dentist was getting for being a practice owner….

But along with all ownership comes all the other headaches and tribulations of HR, bill paying, rent and marketing….

And of course, the new practice, in this case, was not nearly as productive as the employed dentist role she had had…

So instead of having a walk-in walk-out employed dentist role, she now had a whole pile more headaches of being a business owner, and a lot less income….but at least she owns it, right?

And of course there’s team members.

How much is a team member worth to a dental practice, and when is enough enough?

There’s the point of salaries.

Sometimes it’s easier to just keep increasing team member salaries, to keep them happy, but when is the time to draw the line?

Because, we all know, it’s easier to just give that team member that little bit extra, because, in the back of our mind,  we can make that extra one dollar an hour pay rise back just by doing more dentistry.

And even when you annualize it and add super, it’s really only an extra $2277.60 worth of expense to the business, and we can make that up in just two new patients really, can’t we?

But what if it’s not just only one staff member?

And what if it’s every year that they come around with their hand out?

What if it’s five team members?

Or more?

And although cost of living adds to inflationary forces on their day to day living, we know that economic forces can make business incomes and collections cyclical, can’t it?

So where do we draw the line in terms of pay rates?

One of my clients said to me that there comes a point where the salary of two new staff soon starts to compare favourably with the cost of keeping on one staff who is very highly paid, and he raises a good point.

I was talking with another colleague who just recently parted ways with a very long-term office manager who was on a very high salary.

And the feeling for my colleague was liberating, he said.

Because he said there came a point that, despite the opinion of his peers in the profession about her value, or perceived value; he said there came a point where enough was enough.

And funnily, just over a year on from that departure, the team has rallied, and the office has “magically” gotten by without her.

And that sure happens too.

Because really, no matter how great we think someone is as an employee, there’ll be a time when we have to make that decision to replace them.

And it may not be over pay demands.

We may have to replace that irreplaceable employee because they leave to start a family, or their partner’s work relocates their partner out of town, and we know that that can happen and it’s really nobody’s fault, but the good old practice and practice owner just has to wear it, and soldier on….

What should be done there, then?

As a business owner, as a team, we have to learn to role with the punches….

Despite the fact, through no fault of our own, that it’s been our fault or that we’ve contributed towards that event.

Which brings me to my third consideration.


As a business owner, how many tolerations of the “bending of the rules” should we be bearing?

When is enough truly enough?

And if we allow tolerations, how can we once, after a couple, after several, after many repeat incidences, how can we really just say, “THAT’S IT!”?

After all, one or two were OK, weren’t they?

A couple of years ago I met a dentist whose long term hygienist was being paid in excess of $75.00 per hour, plus benefits, but had also pushed the envelope, or stretched the rubber band to beyond breaking point.

So much so, that there was no alternative for this dentist, because of this Mexican Stand Off, there was no other alternative for him than to call in an industrial relations expert to solve his problem, with an extrication that needed to be performed as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

And despite the cost of calling in the expert, long term, the result of the cleansing process and its cost pales into insignificance compared to the pain and the anguish that the whole office endured because of this hygienist’s behaviours.

The same thing has happened to another dentist I know.

A “valued” employee has racked up in just a short time an inordinate amount of days off due to sickness.

Now, there’s only the first small amount that are paid sick leave, but one more unpaid day off due to illness is OK, isn’t it?

Or two?

Or three?

What about five extra days off, unpaid, due to illness?

Or ten?

Or twenty?

Or more than twenty?

In less than twelve months…

Yes, in hindsight, when should the line have been drawn?

Finally, I ‘ve had a story come across my desk this week about a dental office where about $5000.00 worth of laboratory work has been accidentally sent to the trash..


Five. Thousand. Dollars.

And the dentist has wondered whether he should withhold or reduce the team’s bonus for this month?

Now the dentist in question is a friend of mine.

And he’s posted this tale on an online forum, so there’s been plenty of opinion.

And I’m not sure as to what the correct answer is.

It seems that the lab work for patient A has arrived back at the practice but been accidentally placed in with the tray of patient B, who has just received a similar treatment. And with that, it’s been accidentally all tossed out in the clean up.

Some opinions on the forum have been that the staff should still get their monthly bonus.

Because it appears, that despite the act of carelessness, it was still a true accident, and as such, nobody really should be punished…

But interestingly, although it could really have only been one of two staff members, nobody on the team has come forward and admitted to “chopping down the apple tree”.

Should that lack of closure go unpunished?

Should the team still be rewarded?

On the other hand, discussion online considered that this was not really a $5000.00 piece of equipment, that could be replaced in twenty-four hours, and the world moved on.

This was part of a $20+K case, and there was time factors involved in retaking records and impressions.

Along with patient and customer expectations.

I ask you, at what fee should your patient believe that they will receive a red carpet world class experience?

And would this extra four hours of their time, and the additional trauma to their hard and soft tissues, create a raving fan experience for this customer?

Probably not?

So now the dental office has bought some unwanted negative publicity…

Should that be rewarded with a bonus?

All I can say is that I’m kind of glad I’m not in my friend’s shoes at this point of time, because there’s always going to be a loser in this situation, despite the fact that it was not collectively, everybody’s fault.

But dentistry is a team sport.

If a player misses a tackle that costs his team and it’s owners a premiership, then everybody has to wear the results of one person’s error.

Despite the fact that only one player missed the tackle…

So should my friend, the boss, just cop it sweet as being a part of business?

After all, it’s only really, like a pair of forceps, or a handpiece has gone out in the trash, isn’t it?

Not much different?

Or is it?

Where in this case, would you draw the line?

Is it the employee who is at fault?

Or is it the systems, that allow new lab work to be placed in a position where it can get mixed up and thrown out?

Was the system not adhered to?

Was there even a system?

And who takes ownership of the breakdown of process here then?

Being a business owner is certainly a minefield of possibilities and responsibilities.

There are, as I’ve just laid out, a myriad of possibilities of things that can happen that can take us off our charted course.

You’d have to wonder whether sometimes it might just be much simpler to be the employed dentist who hangs up his drill at the end of the day, and so too, hangs up his responsibilities…

Until he sees that first patient tomorrow…

Is his life sometimes easier?


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 david@theupe.com

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Are you a Day-Maker?

Are you a Day-Maker?

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of hearing a true sales professional in action.

Well, not so much a sales professional. Moreover, she was a true customer service professional.

Let me introduce you to Maria.

Maria was the flight attendant who looked after my cabin on my return trip to Sydney from Adelaide last Sunday afternoon.


From the moment I boarded the aircraft I knew I was in for a treat.

Have you ever had that experience?

There was just something about her. Like she was born to serve….

Interestingly, nobody is born to serve. Just like nobody is born to shoot hoops, or climb mountains.

Shooting hoops well, and climbing mountains persistently, are desires that we acquire. After being born.

And they become burning goals that we seek to be the best at.

And I guess service, and providing World Class Service, is exactly the same.

Maria was, as I said, a treat to observe.

I listened as she greeted every passenger warmly and sincerely with a question of interest so different from those used by most flight crews I’ve travelled with before.

Because firstly of all, she was actually taking the time and asking a question of each passenger.

And that in itself is quite rare.

But the question she would ask would be slightly different for each and every boarding passenger.

And that in itself was engaging. Very engaging.

Once our flight was in the air, I listened to Maria as she offered refreshments to the passengers in our cabin.

When she came to me and described the three snacks available she described them in such a way that she made each one of them seem so appetizing that it really was a very difficult task to choose just one.

How many times have you been out for dinner and the waiter has just prattled off a list of food without “spicing up” the dishes?

Isn’t that most of the time?

Wouldn’t it be nice if when the dishes are announced at your restaurant you found yourself saying:

“I’ll have that one…and *that* one…and *THAT ONE*!!

Well, that’s how it was with Maria!

And we’re talking airline food here!

You see, as I said, Maria is a true professional.

Dedicated to her craft.

And that craft is client satisfaction.

I listened as Maria served beverages during the flight.

Her language and enthusiasm were nothing short of exemplary.

Every drink was delivered with the sincerest message of enjoyment attached.

And nothing was ever, ever, a trouble to her.

It was breathtakingly different to watch her and listen to her attend to her passengers.

At the end of the flight, she had my suit bag out of the hanger and waiting for me at the front door of the plane.

Without me having to ask for it.

And just as impressively, she had spotted and asked me whether she could take that same bag from me the very moment I boarded the aircraft, firstly and foremost, before even viewing my boarding pass.

I don’t travel so much internally in Australia, but I do hope that I have the pleasure of Maria’s World Class Service again.

At Active Dental, it’s always been our aim to make our clients and customers feel exactly the same way about their Dental Visit as I felt about my flight on Sunday.

We aim to make sure that new clients, and existing patients as well, experience genuine exemplary World Class Service and attention from the moment that they enter our front door.

And even before that!

From the moment they make contact with our office, and all interactions in between that time and the time they arrive for their appointment as well.

Because nobody likes going to the dentist.

And their fear of the dentist may be greater than their fear of flying…

It’s always our aim to have our patients talking about the way they were treated at our office in the same way that I’ve described my flight with Maria on Sunday.

Is your team making each patient’s visit a truly memorable “best ever” experience?

We often have new patients tell us, before even meeting the dentist, that our Dental Office is like “no other business” they’ve ever been to. Ever.

Let alone another dentist.

And that’s all about us having the goal making their day…each and every time we see them.

And that’s important.

So ask yourself this question, then.

Are you a Day-Maker?


The Ultimate Patient Experience is 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: david@theUPE.com

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A Camel Is A Horse Designed By A Committee

A Camel Is A Horse Designed By A Committee

I’ve got a bone to pick about treatment room design or layout.

A big bone.

There’s a treatment room design out there that is absolutely killing, or destroying, all our efforts of customer service.

And I’ve discovered this revelation quite by accident.

Let me explain.

At Active Dental, I’ve always had treatment rooms designed fairly simply.

The dental chair is in the middle of the room, and the dental assistant works on one side of the chair and the dentist works on the other side of the chair. On the assistant’s side is her trolley and sink. On the dentist’s side is his computer terminal.

And behind the chair is not much at all.

Now here’s the kicker….

At the start of this year, my corporate owners decided to revamp one of my treatment rooms.

A team of experts, or so-called experts, came in and did a treatment room makeover, and you guessed it, in so doing, they’ve now put everything on the wall of the treatment room directly *behind* the dental chair.

Sink, x-ray, cupboards, computers.

All behind.

Now, sad to say, I’ve never really noticed how functionless this sort of design is.

And seeing these people were the “chosen ones”, I only had to believe that there was going to be a morsel of substance to their enlightening design decision.

And interestingly, I have to admit, I’ve done some work in an office where every treatment room was laid out this way….and I’d never really noticed what a conversation killer this layout truly is.

And I’m happy to take advisement on this, but like I’ve said, I’ve only really just realised how incredibly stupid and brain dead this room design really is when it comes to the all important differentiator of dental offices….

The differentiator of providing World Class Customer Service.

You see, just recently, my new hygienist has commandeered this new room, just for the time being.


And I’ve let him, because it does have a fancy new chair in that room.

But to me, what I’ve found, is that the room is killing customer service.

You see, every time I walk by that room and look in, I see only one of either two things happening.

I see the patient receiving treatment, or I see the patient not in treatment.

And when the patient is receiving treatment the room could be of any design, because the hygienist and the patient are engaged.

But when the patient is not receiving treatment, well in this room, all I see when I walk by, is a massive disconnect happening.

Firstly, the patient is sitting up and looking forward in the room.

At absolutely nothing!!

And the hygienist is behind the patient, right behind the patient, working on the computer, and they’re looking in totally opposite directions.

Now call me silly, but if the computer were beside the patient, this disconnect in communication would never be happening.

So here’s where I need someone to tell me the advantage of having a treatment room laid out in such a manner.

Because the way that I see it, the way this new treatment room is, it’s sending a really strong message to the patient that “you just sit over there and I’m going behind your back and doing something over here”.

“And when I’ve finished doing what I need to do behind your back, I’ll come and get you!”

And every time I see this, when I walk by, it rips my heart out to observe my valued patients sitting looking into space while the hygienist is working on the computer in a part of the room that *disconnects* the patient from the hygienist.

The way I see it, treatment rooms need to be laid out and arranged to foster communication and connection between the practitioners, and the patients at every opportunity, and that means having the practitioners in front of and beside the patients for as long as is possible, to build that trust and rapport.

Hiding the practitioners behind the patient’s back does not in any way at all build rapport.

In fact it destroys it.

I believe that for every minute you are behind the patient you are undoing five minutes of rapport built while being in front of them.

Fortunately for me, the experts that did this makeover have been moved on, ad I’ve been given permission to redesign this room back to a more functional lay out.

And for that I’m truly grateful.

Because not a day goes by that I don’t want to take an axe to this moronic design.


You’ve heard the phrase:

“A camel is a horse designed by a committee”

Well, maybe if you like to hide away from your patients and kill rapport, then a treatment room with all amenities on the wall behind the patient is the one for you.

But for me, that sort of treatment room is the dental camel.

It’s not been designed with one skerrick of a thought of relation building with the patient.

At the end of the appointment, it doesn’t matter how good your margins are, or how good your SOPs are, the one thing the patient’s going to remember is how well they were looked after and how special they were made to feel.

And sitting in a room looking out into space while people shuffled around right behind them?

To me, that’s not a warm fuzzy….

Think I’m over reacting?

Put ten people a day in this situation of twiddling their thumbs and looking forward into space while someone’s doing “something” behind their back, and tell me not one in ten is thinking, there’s got to be a better way of doing this?

How about three in ten?

Or five in ten?

Or more?

Why put any of our valued patients in this position if we don’t need to?

Why not be building rapport and connection one hundred percent of the time?

Patients spell connection T.I.M.E.

When you’re with your patients, be *with* your patients.

Get in front of your patients. Not behind them.

And if you’ve got treatment rooms that are designed by a committee, I hope that like me, you can look forward to the day in the near future that you can take an axe to them.

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 david@theupe.com

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