Recently, our All-Star Dental Academy team had the pleasure of visiting Orlando, Florida for a dental marketing conference. Alex and I stayed near the convention center at a hotel that was reasonably priced, very nicely appointed, and threw in a free breakfast.

Upon check-in, we asked (our usual M.O.) if they had any room upgrades available, to which the girl at the front desk replied, “No, I’m sorry we are fully booked tonight. If anything becomes available tomorrow night I will let you know.” We thanked her and she said, “No problem.” She handed us our key and we headed up to the room.

When we got upstairs, we noticed immediately that it was an American’s with Disabilities’ Act -compliant room. We had no issue staying in that type of room, we just didn’t want it to take away from someone who really needed it.
I went down to the lobby to discuss this with the same lady at the front desk I had spoken with previously. I asked her about the room…

Heather: Do you have any other rooms available that aren’t ADA accessible?

Front Desk Girl: No

Heather: Oh, ok…. as long as it’s not going to affect anyone else who needs it.

Front Desk Girl: No, it won’t.

I realized I needed to take a medication that was in a powdered form and there were no glasses in our room to mix it in beside a very small, flimsy plastic cup that wouldn’t suffice. So I asked the lady if I could have a glass to bring to the room. Once again, her answer was…

Front Desk Girl: No, I’m sorry, we don’t have any glasses.

Heather: No glasses?

Front Desk Girl: Do you mean like a wine glass?

Heather: No, just a regular glass.

Front Desk Girl: No, we don’t.

Heather: Do you have a wine glass then?

Front Desk Girl: No, we don’t have that either.

Heather: (Smh…)

Alex went down later to ask about a few things. I told him to keep on the look-out for the girl at the front desk that we started referring to as “the NO-girl.”

Alex: Hi, excuse me. I was wondering if there is something wrong with your Wi-Fi. I am not getting the best connection on my laptop. Is there anything you can do to make it faster?

Front Desk Girl: No, I’m sorry… that’s the fastest it goes.

Alex: Ok. I wanted to watch a movie with my wife. Do you have a movie rental feature on the TV? I didn’t see anything listed.

Front Desk Girl: No. We used to have movies but the company got rid of them.

I wish these exchanges with the girl at the front desk were made up, but unfortunately, they are not. The lesson to be learned here is that ONE person representing your company can significantly impact (for better or worse) your reputation.

One of the things we teach at All-Star Dental Academy is the art of having a “Can-Do” attitude. It uses what we call Positive Language. Instead of saying what you can’t do for the customer, you shift and tell them what you CAN do for them. Give them other options so they feel like you are doing your best and going above and beyond to accommodate their needs.

Let’s use your dental office as an example. If a patient asks if you have an appointment tomorrow to get in right away, but your schedule is full, what would you say? If you say, “No, we don’t have any appointments tomorrow,” you may have just broken rapport with them. They will only hear no and probably stop listening to everything you will say after that. However, if you change the verbiage and adjust the conversation, you will have a more positive result.
For example, try this, “Mrs. Smith, I understand that you are interested in coming for an appointment tomorrow, but unfortunately, we are booked up. What I can do for you is put you on the schedule for our very next opening, and I will put you on our VIP call list so that if a sooner appointment becomes available, you will be first in line. How does that sound?”

Or let’s say your office doesn’t do cleanings on the first visit. If a new patient calls and asks, “Can I schedule a cleaning?” are you going to say, “No, I’m sorry. We don’t offer cleanings for a first appointment?” Instead, adjust your verbiage and say, “You are interested in a cleaning during your first visit, correct? In our office, since it’s critically important for our dentist to spend quality time with you for your exam and get your new patient history established, we schedule your cleaning for a second appointment. How does that sound?”

You will soon understand the power of a positive approach to patient interaction. When you work hard to accommodate your patients, in contrast to shutting them down with NO, they will appreciate and value your extra effort and reward you by showing up for their appointments, accepting treatment recommendations, and refer their friends.

For more details on our programs, please register for our free educational webinar Dental Practice Excellence: 3 Steps to an All-Star Practice, or call our office at (844) 631.7575.

Heather Nottingham

Heather is a former retail sales specialist and department trainer for Bloomingdale’s, where she had a million dollar clientele. She also took that luxury retail mentality and brought it into the dental world, where she leveraged her training and was able to make an extra million dollars for her dental office in less than 18 months. With over 16 years of retail sales & management experience, 7+ years as a phone skills coach & trainer, and thousands of hours in perfecting the art of rapport with dental patients, Heather helps improve dental practices’ profitability through phone skills success, promoting patient experience, and implementation of systems.

Heather is also an accomplished writer in the world of dentistry, having her articles, press releases, and blogs featured in various publications including Dental Practice Management, Dentistry Today, The Progressive Dentist Magazine, Dentistry IQ, and more.