Dental Receptionist

Tuesday Tip from Pride Institute: Customer service trumps all

Sept. 30, 2014
People remember how  you make them feel. Offer top notch customer service, and your practice will thrive.

When the economy becomes a factor and people get nervous about investing in their health, it is customer service and relationships that will transcend the obstacles.

It’s understandable that a dentist and team may become panicked and experience a decrease in their number of patients when there is continuous bad news about the economy or health care, and insurance debates on the 24-hour news channels. What’s not so understandable is when the team tries to solve the decrease in patients with silver bullet solutions such as indiscriminate cutting of expenses, reducing production goals, or investing in “spray and pray” marketing.

The truth is there will always be dental patients who will continue to strive for ideal care, invest in their oral health, rise above insurance obstacles, and pay any fees, if 1) they like you, 2) they value their experience, 3) they are committed to a lifetime of health, and 4) the team can make their treatment affordable.

Focusing on enhanced customer service will create strong relationships and increased commitment from patients, which is the secret to maintaining viability in all circumstances. Unfortunately, providing patients with an experience that exceeds expectations may feel like “fiddling while Rome is burning” when there are feelings of fewer patients. We woefully undervalue what it means to provide an ever increasing level of service to our patients, because we assume that if we are good people and provide excellent dentistry, the rest will take care of itself. That is just not the case!

It’s easy to get stuck and focus on the clinical aspects of care, and forget the very important “human agenda” that goes with that care. Patients will judge your quality of care first and foremost by how they feel, not how long a restoration lasts or whether you use the latest technology. It is always appropriate to start any strategic plan with a long, hard look at your customer service. Customer service, in theory and in practice, is comprised of four basic elements:

1. Designing expectations for new levels of service and results
2. Working every day to exceed those expectations
3. Providing feedback/testimonial opportunities so that customers can focus on the positives of their experience, and
4. Never resting on your laurels

An ever evolving, continuously improving practice in the best and worst of times must always have a core service strategy plan to continuously surprise and delight customers. Patients who are raving fans get that way because of your care. There is no better secret to survive any and all economic twists than to enhance your customer service. My challenge to you is – what are you going to do in the coming months to serve your patients in new and unique ways? Figure it out, and go with it!

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Tuesday Tips from Pride Institute are provided weekly on their Facebook page as well as in this column in DentistryIQ. To ensure you don’t miss any of Pride Institute’s proven methods to take your practice to the next level, visit, and like them on Facebook!