A recent online discussion about Dental Customer Service asked the question as to when exactly does the Customer Service actually begin?
For some dental offices, they believe that customer service begins and ends solely with the patient interaction with the dentist only.
Those offices will say, that it’s because of him, the dentist, that patients return, so it is his responsibility and only his to be nice to the patients. Or nicest!
Others chatting online suggested that the customer service begins the moment the patient enters the dental office and ends when they leave the dental office. They say it is how we make them feel when they are with us, visiting our office, and having our treatment.
Another person said that customer service actually begins when the patient rings the dental office, and that all dental offices need to lift their game and be on the ball when the phone rings. This person emphasised the importance of that first telephone contact in setting up the patient experience with a positive expectation.
I will contend that it goes back even further than this. Customer service is not a starting point and an end point.
Customer service is a culture. It’s a total culture. It’s a way of life.
If you’re practicing and exercising customer service at some points, and not all points, of your client interactions with your office, then you are falling down in your delivery of World Class Customer Service.
Because rest assured, for every touch point that you try to improve, unless you’ve covered every touch point, there will be a chink, there will be an Achilles Heal that will work to bring undone the other good work that you are doing.
Many years ago, in my dental office, we couldn’t figure out why our patients were cancelling and not returning, after leaving our treatment rooms with such positive comments and experiences.
We found, and found out quickly, that the verbiage being used at the front desk during patient check out, was undoing all and every piece of great work that the team in the operatories was creating.
So back to my initial question: Where does Customer Service Actually begin?
I contend, in the complete lifecycle of a dental customer or patient, your Customer Service begins with each and every lead generation piece that creates an interest in your Dental Practice out there in the community.
That means every advertisement you create, every direct mail piece, every radio ad every TV segment, every freestanding insert. Even every business card you share and give out. ALL lead generation pieces must exude the fact that your dental office cares, and cares more than any other dental office in town. Otherwise all you’ve really got is just another advert.
Similarly too, when your lead generation piece drives traffic to your website and landing pages, your patients and prospective patients must feel warmth, care, comfort and professionalism exuding from your online presence.
Because this is how your prospective customers make their decision to choose your dental office. They buy emotionally, then justify with reason. It’s not the other way round.
These are also the resources where your valued customers and patients will refer their nearest and dearest to, to make that important decision to recommend your dental office. So make them emotionally impactful, and consistent with your Customer Service Culture.
Finally, when your patients and prospective customers call your office, make sure that the service and greeting that they receive is consistent with the material they have read and with the treatment experience that your office is delivering.
Consistency. Complete Consistency. Culture. Way of Life.
There are no shortcuts in Customer Service. No skipping steps. Half-heartedness won’t work.
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