All of the failures in customer service in dental practices stem from dental team members [including dentists and RDHs] failing to spend adequate time doing the thing that they need most to be doing for their patients.
Rushing and shortcutting are the fatal errors that are consistently made in dental practices.
The result of this rushing and failing to spend adequate time with patients is that eventually the patient comes to the realisation that they are being ignored, or their custom or patronage to the dental practice is being taken for granted by the practice, and its staff.
When the penny drops for these patients, its usually the last straw for them.
These patients don’t just experience one poor piece of customer service.
Moreover, these patients have been tolerating repeated instances of decline in service, hoping that what they are experiencing is only temporary.
Sadly, these occasional service defects continue to occur more and more frequently, until their occurrence becomes the expected new norm for these patients.
And that’s when these patients begin to look around for a new dental practice to call their home.
Here’s where things go pear-shaped:
An Ultimate Handover takes time.
And the time taken to ensure the success of the handover is inconsequential when compared to the amount of time the practice loses because the disgruntled patient cancels or delays their next visit.
A thorough handover leaves the patient with absolute certainty and clarity as to what they need to do next, and what will happen to them and their tooth if they choose not to comply with the dentist’s recommendations and expectations.
An abbreviated handover, or a non-existent handover, only result in patient confusion, or patient apathy.
Taking time with the handover reduces the confusion and apathy significantly.
The clarity that the patient receives as a result of an adequately timed handover reinforces to the patient that they are truly valued as a member of this practice’s family and community.
2- When the phone rings
When the phone rings at a dental practice, whether that incoming call is a new patient looking to schedule their first visit, or it is an existing patient of the practice looking for an appointment, the feeling that the caller must experience when their phone call is over is this:
The caller must end the call with the feeling that the receptionist who has taken the call has been waiting for and been looking forward to that actual phone call all day.
More often than not I’m hearing dental receptionists in a hurry on phone calls. [We listen to actual recordings of incoming calls to dental practices, so we know exactly what’s being asked by callers].
I’m regularly hearing dental receptionists unable to answer an inbound ringing phone if they are already on the phone, or if they are with a live patient in front of them in the front office area.
And when this happens, the inbound call goes through to a service….and at that service, the inbound caller rarely leaves a message, because the caller believes that the dental office team members should be trained to deliver a service when their inbound phone line rings…
Callers know when they are being rushed, or ignored, or dare I say it, belittled [yes, we do hear that too from time to time].
And whenever these emotions are felt be callers to a dental practice, be they new patients looking for a dental home, or existing loyal patients, some of these patients will draw the line and say:
“Enough is enough.”
How do children spell “love”?
Children spell love: T. I. M. E..
And patients at your practice will spell “love” exactly the same way.
Give your patients the time they deserve, and more.
Patients crave time.
When you deny them and disappoint them by short-shifting them, they remember, and remember, until finally, the last straw breaks the camel’s back.
And then they’re gone….
It’s easier to make first chances count than be hoping on getting a second chance.
Take the necessary time to cement your relationships.
It’s worth it….
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