What does your receptionist say to your dental patients?
You know how being a dentist or being in the dental field can have this crazy curse – the curse of noticing people’s dental issues when out in public while “normal” people have no clue? Like that diner waitress with horrible gingivitis. Your kid’s teacher with a “bridge to nowhere.” The uncle of the bride with disgusting perio breath. And on and on and on and on…..
Well, it’s twice as bad when you’re a dental coach. My expectation of customer service is that if it is not spectacularly excellent every single time, that’s a fail. I often write about things like botched hotel check-ins, nasty appliance repairmen, physicians who don’t care, phone support from another planet (not a good planet) and on and on. Fortunately I write about great service too, though sadly not as often.
A few days ago, Dave (Dr. David Madow, co-founder of The Madow Center and my brother!) was texting me as he sat in the reception room of his new optometrist’s office. Each time a patient would approach the front desk, Dave would text me the first thing the receptionist said. It was actually pretty unbelievable.
Here are some of the greatest hits (with my snarky comebacks in parentheses):
“Do you have an appointment?” (“No, I come for the strudel. It’s great.”)
“Have you been helped yet?” (“Yes, I’m just coming back up here to gaze into your eyes.”)
“I’m sorry – I know it’s 9:30 but the doctor is still with his 8:30 patient.” (“Would he like a clock for Christmas?”)
“Could you repeat your name for me again?” (“Bob Smith, Bob Smith, Bob Smith, Bob Smith, Bob Smith…”)
“How will you be attempting to pay for your lenses?” (“I’ll be attempting to use this credit card I just stole. Let’s hope it works!”)
“When’s your birthday? WHAT?” (For some reason this one just cracked me up!)
Wow – and all of this in just fifteen minutes. That’s a gold medal performance – and too long to wait.
C’mon folks – we can do a lot better than this! If someone approaches the reception desk, chances are they have an appointment. All of these lines are inexcusable! Running late doesn’t help things. And maybe the worst part is that the “Do you have an appointment?” line was for Dave – a brand new patient who needed to be wowed.
Let’s remember to roll out the red carpet every single time we have a transaction with a patient. And for a new patient – do even better to make them feel welcome in your practice. By the way, when’s YOUR birthday?? WHAT????