Dental Office Mystery Calls Really Suck!

The other day, when the phone rang at the office, I answered it the same way that I do every time that it rings. I had my cheerful voice on and my sunny disposition was glowing through the phone line. The caller on the other end was a potential new patient! My heart raced as I grabbed my pen and paper and asked “May I ask, to whom am I speaking with?”

The lady on the other end told me that she was new to our area and was looking for a dentist; she wanted to get her teeth whitened I told this nice lady about our Whitening program. I also told her how great our office was and all about our experienced staff. I  asked her to schedule, just like I had with the last two new patients who had just scheduled after calling with the same question. The call went great till the end when this woman with her strong voice, reeking of confidence, told me that she had to ask her husband and quickly said good-bye abruptly hanging up.

After sitting in stunned silence for a moment, I looked over at my co-worker and said “great I just received  a consultant mystery call”. Besides being bothered by  the fact that this call wasted ten minutes of  my time, I was annoyed  at the thought of the grade I would receive.  “How did you do?” my co-worker asked.  My reply of “she did not schedule” did not make my her feel at ease as we both knew what would happen next.

A few days passed and just as we thought, one day in the mail came the plain white envelope marked CONFIDENTIAL for the Doctor’s eyes only. With a quick glance over at my friend for her reassuring nod and a giggle, I ripped the envelope open and there it was, the dreaded CD. Attached to this CD was a letter addressed to my Doctor from the mighty and wise consultant who set up this charade.  The letter told my Doctor that the office was a BIG trouble; the front desk cannot schedule new patients! The front desk did not ask the nice lady as she quickly hung up with barely a good-bye for her phone number. The front desk has failed! The Doctor must take action or his business is sunk!

As I am sure you can guess, the letter went on to say there was an answer, the office can be saved! For and ungodly fee the Doctor can buy an audio phone system that the staff can do on their own to teach them how to answer the phone!  Seriously, who really thinks that listening to some audio CD program, on my own with no support from the Guru who made them, is going to make his fake new patient caller schedule? I answered three, count ‘em, three new patient calls today, I handled them all exactly the same. Out of the three calls, two of those callers scheduled, came and are now really great patients.  Moral of the story, be careful and wise before you buy into a program from an “expert” who sells his product by banking on your fear of loss.

With your success in mind, 




  1. TheDentalWarrior | | Reply

    I bet I know which company it was. Rhymes with Bay Meyer? Ugh… makes you wonder if such slimey sales tactics actually work.

    • Nomi Waters | | Reply

      They don’t call you the Dental Warrior for nothing! You are so super smart and awesome!

  2. Alan Mead | | Reply

    I <3 deceptive sales tactics! Someone must be paying for that information, though. Sad.

    Isn't it illegal to record someone without telling them?

  3. Ronald Powell, DDS | | Reply

    Your feelings and your comeback about myster calls are great. If your doctor doesn’t appreciate your efforts as well as having scheduled two new patients, I have room for a new staff member in our office. Keep up the great work.

  4. Paula Pruitt | | Reply

    This happened to me recently. I consider myself a loyal, honest, and dependable employee. How can someone jeopardize someone’s livelihood? I would like to know what your response was when your employee listened to the cd and confronted you on it? Thanks, Paula

    • Nomi Waters | | Reply

      Paula. I was the employee who answered the call. But to answer your question.. we do currently have a call tracking system that records our calls and our receptionist recently had a few “bad” calls. She just didn’t handle them as she was trained to do. We sat down and listened to them together and she was the first one to say “I stunk at those” we reviewed how to properly handle them together. She was not fired but trained and given a chance to improve. Mystery calls can be annoying if done for the purpose of selling a product but for training purposes they can be useful…. As for putting someone’s livehood on the line…. I would hope that one bad phone call would not make a doctor or office manager fire someone..if it did, i would wonder if there were other performance issuses and I would hope the employee wouldn’t be surprised because the management had communicated those concerns prior to the mystery call. Continued feedback..postive and negative…is so important for leaders to give to their teams.

      • Paula | | Reply

        No I wouldn’t think it would cost me my job. Have you ever seen people that don’t like to be wrong? ok that’s me! Our current Dentist is retiring and we have a younger Dentist that’s joined our practice and he’s been nothing but a snake in the grass! So we feel pretty sure this was his doings because our boss didn’t know anything about the package he received. So we’ll find out on Monday what was said.

        • Nomi Waters | | Reply

          I hope it all turned out OK Paula! Let me know.

          • Paula Pruitt | | Reply

            Hey Nomi, It turned out just fine. The mystery call was in reference to insurance our office accepted. They gave me a zero but our Dentist said there was no other way to handle the question. He thought it was just a money racket. Thanks again, Paula

            • Nomi Waters | | Reply

              I am happy it turned out well for you. That type of marketing is called “fear of loss” the marketer puts fear into the doctor to make him think that if he doesn’t hire this company, he will lose out on new patients. It’s not illegal but IMO it’s not fair and honest marketing. I have been nailed with mystery calls by a marketing/scheduling company and failed them myself and I KNOW I can get new patients into the schedule but not when I am set up to fail to sell a service, no one can with that type of marketing. Smart doctor to be able to see that! My best advice for any dental team member is to keep the lines of communication open with your doctor and/or office manager, if you feel you’re in the hot seat, ask! Most of the time it turns out just fine. 🙂 Nomi

  5. Elise | | Reply

    I just had the same thing happen to me. I didn’t hear the CD because my doctor threw it away. He said I handled the call just fine. (The person had asked if we took their insurance. I had told them we were PPO providers, but not HMO. She said she wasn’t sure which she had and would call back). Apparently they keep sending brochures etc to my doctor. It is a really sleazy way to try to get business. I wonder how many doctors fall for it.

    • Nomi Waters | | Reply

      No one ever passes those mystery calls. I am happy your doctor didn’t get sucked in. Marketing by agitating someone’s fear is not cool in my book!

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