Tues Tip

Tuesday Tip from Pride Institute: Your customer service is the key to success

Jan. 7, 2014
Patients will return if they like you and feel comfortable

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

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

The truth is there will always be dental patients who will 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 makes their treatment affordable

Focusing first on enhanced customer service will create stronger relationships and increased commitment, 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 scarcity. 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, forgetting 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 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 as a core service strategy the 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 economic twists than to enhance your customer service. My challenge to you is, what are you going to do in 2014 to serve your patients in new and unique ways?

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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 prideinstitute.com, and like them on Facebook!