Blow Your Dental Patient Socks Off
Think about your favourite shop, restaurant or hotel you know the one you love going back to time after time. Then think about why you like to go there – is it the products the layout, the food, the comfortable beds or location or is it because the people there have a way of making you feel special, welcome and important.
Do you really go back for those things or is it more the service and the way you are cared for that has you go back?
Now think about a time where you went for a meal and the food was incredible but the service was lousy – the wait staff were rude or aloof and unfriendly or they made you wait for ages, forgot your order or didn’t smile, say please or thank you or use your name even though they had it down on your reservation.
How did that make you feel??? – yep that’s right you didn’t want to go back again!!!
How Do Your Patients Feel?
So now put yourself in your patients’ shoes – they are often feeling nervous and anxious and going to be in some level of discomfort and very vulnerable.
How you and your team are with them and how you make them feel will determine whether they keep coming back to you or not.
Now you may be great at rapport and be an excellent clinician but if your front desk team is abrupt and rude then that patient is never coming back and you will have no idea why. If your service is unpredictable and chaotic that also puts people off.
So what can you do to ensure your patients are getting excellent customer service from every member of your team, every time?
Are You Giving Poor Customer Service?
Are you concerned that your patient numbers are dropping are you frustrated that patients are not returning for treatment? Are you anxious that you’re not getting enough the new patients coming to the practice and are you troubled by patient complaints?
If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions then I can help you to resolve these issues now.
Stop Thinking Dentistry and Start Think Customer Service
Customer service in your office is actually the majority of what you do. The whole team from our receptionists, dental assistants, the hygienist and dentists spend the majority of our time on customer service and a much smaller proportion of that time delivering dentistry.
When things go well a happy patient may tell one or two people…
But if things haven’t gone well and our patients have had a poor customer experience they’re likely to tell many more and with the internet, social media and online review sites they can tell the whole world very quickly and in a devastating way.
Poor customer service can completely undermine and destroy your business; even if the rest of the team is exceptional it only takes one person who is consistently rude and thoughtless to spoil the patient experience.
Tips For Exceptional Customer Service in Dentistry
Here are some of my simple tips that you can use in your office to improve your customer service, wow your patients and turn them into raving fans.
Step 1 make outstanding customer your goal from the first point of contact with the receptionist on the phone and at the patients arrival all the way through with the assistants, hygienists and dentist.
Exceptional customer service is what you’re after so I’d like you to get together as a team to agree on your customer service standards where you discuss and decide what is acceptable and what is not.
Step 2 find out what your patients think and want. I’d like you to start reviewing your customer service to find out where you are hitting the mark and where you can improve this can be done in a number of ways you can use patient questionnaires and surveys or mystery shoppers to find out exactly what’s going on at each point of contact with your team.
Step 3 Look for opportunities to go above and beyond, think outside the box, what can you do to wow you patient and show how much you care for them as a person. For example if they like cooking why not send them latest best selling recipe book.
Step 4 Make it your mantra that good is not good enough – your goal is to be exceptional every time so have it systemised and scripted, think about every interaction and touch point and how you can stand out, be different and make a difference in that persons life. Customer service has to become your way.
Step 5 Observe other industries like restaurants and hotels and see if you can apply their exceptional customer service to your office.
Step 6 Recover and Grow from a poor customer service event – seek to make restitution and learn from when things don’t go well. Have a policy in place that allows your team to independently take action to right a customer service wrong.
Set The Customer Service Bar
To be great at customer service you need to set the bar and the standard for how you want your patients to be treated and spoken to and then set systems in place to ensure this happens. You must also employ people with a customer service and people focused mindset – otherwise you can train them all you want but it will be felt when and if they aren’t being sincere or genuine.
Treat people as you want to be treated rings very true, make them feel welcome and special and make sure you use their name as much as possible. Find out information about them and note it down for reference for future conversations, show them you care about them as people and not just sets of teeth that you are fixing to pay your bills.
It’s not enough anymore to only be good at dentistry you need to be good at people too.
Did you know most patients leave because of apathy, your apathy – the fact that they think you don’t care about them means they decide to go elsewhere and you are loosing patients out the back door?
By offering incredible customer service not only will you create loyal and long-term patients but also you will increase your word of mouth referrals, grow your business and really enjoy taking care of the people who choose and trust you with their dental health.