I’m up in Sydney to further my dental education by attending the FDI World Dental Congress. It’s an annual global event held over four days and this year, 2023, it is being held in Sydney.
So I’m here. In Sydney.
Check in time at my hotel is 3:00pm, so I time my drive to Sydney perfectly so that I arrive at my hotel just a couple of minutes before 3:00pm.
When I enter the hotel lobby to check in, there is a separated check in area with six computers, but only three of those computers are being attended to by hotel staff.
Which means that three computers are not being used. Three out of six.
At the time that guests are told to arrive. One of the busiest times of the day…
There is a line of people waiting to check in to the hotel. There may be four or five people or groups ahead of me, and after I join the line, there appear to be some four or five additional people and groups join the line after me.
During my wait, the number of people attending to guests wanting to check in drops from three to two, and then from two to one, and then rises to two, and then to three.
It felt as though I needed to wait some twenty five minutes before being attendee to, but eventually I was attended to, and my check in was completed without fuss, and I was on my way to my room. But I did wait for a very long time.
The staff processing the arriving guests were doing the best that they could….
But things could have been better…
But things could have been better.
For a start, the hotel could have employed or allocated more people to be processing check ins during the time that guests were being asked to arrive.
And if that didn’t work so well, the hotel could have organised more computers to be available to move arriving guests quickly from the hotel lobby and into the lifts and elevators and up to their rooms.
It really wasn’t a good look for the hotel to have their lobby full of frustrated arriving guests who just wanted to be acknowledged and processed and on their way.
And the process didn’t create any warm and fuzzy experiences for those waiting.
It’s the same in dental practices….
In dental practices, most patients want to arrive and not have to wait to check in. And at the completion of their visit, they all just want to settle their bill and organise their next appointment quickly, and then be on their way.
Nobody really wants to hang around for too long after treatment waiting to be attended to by a team of frustrated dental employees whose hands are tied by an inefficient check out protocol.
Years ago I was coaching a dental practice in the USA that had only recently renovated and relocated its whole practice into a purpose built facility…. the problem for them was, that this office had never thought to allow for the log jam that they had accidentally created at the front desk.
You see, this practice had six hygienists and two dentists working every day, but only had three front office team members available to process the eight departing clients along with the eight arriving patients, each and every hour.
The practice had created its own human logjam.
And there was no physical floorspace available for them to expand their reception area…
The only solution that this practice could offer was to install EFTPOS machines in each hygiene room and for the hygienists to become cashiers … definitely a less than ideal solution…. that frankly did not work for them because it dropped their post treatment Customer Experience to become a very haphazard and below average moment….
Definitely not the best solution by any means….
When people are paying good money for high ticket items, like hotel accommodation and dental services, they don’t expect to be waiting around like mustered cattle when it’s time for them to pay and to be cared for.
If this sort of thing is going on in your dental practice, it could be the “silent killer” that is causing patients to not come back to complete their treatment.
We’ve all been in lines at retail stores where only half the cash registers are manned, and we see customers who are obviously in a hurry just dump their goods and leave…
And maybe these customers will return and repurchase another day?
Or maybe they will never return, because this time for them is the last time they’re going to tolerate this waiting..
Who’s to know?
Except to know, that when we don’t make our patients have to wait to check out, then we’ve done our best and succeeded in making their visit to our office as comfortable as it should be….
Dr. David Moffet BDS FPFA CSP is a certified CX Experience coach. David works with his wife Jayne Bandy to help SME businesses improve their Customer Service Systems to create memorable World Class experiences for their valued clients and customers. Click here to find out how David and Jayne can help your business