#8 – Makes new client experience smooth and trouble-free

I can’t stress enough how important our clients are.  Existing clients choose to come to us primarily because of what we’ve meant to them in the past.  New clients “try us out” based on advise from their friends, business colleagues, or the effectiveness of our external marketing (newsletters, yellow pages, speaking engagements, etc.).

New clients have their “antennas” up.  They are looking at everything trying to decide if they made the right choice.  Each early positive contact a client has with us reinforces the feeling that we’re the right choice.  The front desk has several of these early contacts.  If you handle these contacts well the client will already believe we’re an efficient, organized, and caring place before the client sees one of us providers.  Think of this first office visit as a relay race.  You run the first lap, hand the client to the provider who runs the second lap and then returns the clients to you to complete the last lap, wrap up the appointment and let the client declare us the winner!

The words you use set the tone for all our client’s contacts.  See how you do with this list:


Don’t Say                                                       Do Say

When can you come in?                          Do you prefer mornings or afternoons?


We’re all booked up.                                  Doctor [name] is scheduled at that time, but we would be happy                                                                                     to see you at…

We can’t see you until…


Doctor is running late.                               Doctor [name] has an interrupted schedule.


Remind                                                             Confirm, Verify


Cancellation                                                    Change in schedule


Recall                                                               Maintenance visit, prevention program


Check-up                                                          Examination


Old patient                                                        Former patient, continuing or established patient


Convention                                                       Seminar, conference


You misunderstood                                       There was a misunderstanding.


Are you a patient here?                                 When did we last see you?


Are you on Welfare/Medicaid?                  What type of health insurance coverage will you be using?


What’s the problem?                                         Do you have a concern?


What can I do for you?                                     How may I help you?

I know                                                                      I understand


Client Cultures

Be sensitive to each client’s cultural background. Just as you learned in our Strength Inventory, different people see the world in different ways. That is particularly true for people from different parts of the world.

Chinese – honor the spoken word as though it was a written contact, won’t tell us “no”. This is impolite. They may not do what we suggest, they just won’t tell us.good health leads to long life, which is extraordinarily valued

Muslims – woman very modest, never touch a woman if not necessary(don’t shake hands, etc)

Hispanic –  can be very religious, traditionally, elder is head of the house and will usually be consulted on major decisions


Step one before the client’s appointment

Most clients will call for an appointment.  Be sure to fill out the top portion of the new patient exam sheet.  The more you write down to tell us about the needs wants, and fears of the client, the more “on target” the provider will be.  Get the necessary information before you hang up.  Full name, preferred name, address, home and business telephone numbers.  Do they have insurance?  This is a good way to find out if they are on assistance (without asking).  The doctor is most interested in the key reasons section of the NP form so they can customize their experience and meet their needs.

Once you’ve completed this conversation, put together a packet of information for the client (if appointment is within 4 days do not send packet, request patient to come in 15 min early to fill out paperwork.)  It should include:


Welcome letter – through Dentrix

Health questionnaire

Practice brochure


To print the welcome letter:

1.         Start in the family file

2.         Click on the Quick letter icon

3.         Choose New Patient Welcome letter or NP Welcome letter- John – click Print.


To print the health questionnaire (for adults only):

1.         Family file

2.         Quick letters icon

3.         Choose Adult Health Hx


When the client arrives:

Does the office smell fresh?

Is your appearance professional?

Is the reception area clean and organized?

Are all the conversations at the front desk professional?

Is our music appropriate?

Mark on your schedule when new clients are appointed.

Greet with good eye contact and a SMILE.

Stand, and confirm that the client is in fact the new client you are expecting.

Greet and say “Welcome to HealthPark Dentistry (name).”

Confirm that they received the packet of information you sent them.

Ask if they need any help completing the health questionnaire.

If it’s not filled out get the client started on a new one quickly!

Front side for doctors

Health history for hygienists

If it is filled out, thank the client for filling out and returning the material you sent.

Hand patient our Welcome Packet – Including – folder, news letter, and specialist brochure

“Since this is your first visit I would like to share with you who we are and what services have available that may interest you.” “If you have any questions or I can help you in any way my name is ____________ and I am one of the front staff coordinators and I’d be glad to be of any assistance.”

Avoid these client responses:

1.         I don’t know…

2.         We can’t do that.

3.         You’ll have to…

4.         Wait a minute. I’ll be right back.

5.         No (at the beginning of a sentence)


Ask the client to be seated and tell him/her about how soon the hygienist/doctor will be ready.

Step two – Hygienist/Dentist meets, greets, and treats the client. The provider returns the client to the front desk (hopefully back to you!)

Step three – Completing the great beginning

Now it’s time to greet this person by name.  Ask how the appointment went? Any questions? Now it is time to review the top part of the health form.

1.  Who pays for the dentistry?

2.  How does s/he want to handle their payment responsibility?

a. cash/credit card

b. insurance   pay the estimated non covered portion (make sure all billing information correct)

c. welfare, or other third party total coverages

d. client prefers to be billed   give it to them with a date that you could expect payment

3.  Do you have someone to thank for the referral?  Make sure it’s written down.

4.  Arrange the next appointment and say goodbye.



***Walk through an adult thorough exam with the client.  Make notes from when they walk into the door until they leave.  Then add your suggestions.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Patients Name __________________________________ Date ________________________________


Your Thoughts Comments Suggestions ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________