Customer Service Principles Learned from a Dentist
Not many of us look forward to visiting the dentist, but it bears witness that those who ignore their teeth, eventually their teeth go away. Of course, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, dentists, along with their expertise to keep our smiles shining, should also prescribe to the ultimate quest of customer service no matter how advanced their dental education may have been.
So what qualities should a dental office present? Patients are customers and therefore should be appreciated and valued. During the last few weeks I’ve had some complicated dental work completed because of a bicycle accident some years back, and have had the perfect opportunity to assess what makes positive experiences. These customer service principles carry forward to all professions; going that extra mile to deliver that extra service makes all the difference to a customer or to a patient.
Aside from an attractive waiting room, which is the accepted standard of the dental trade, having a friendly staff is compulsory. Remember the days of the opaque windows when a receptionist would slide it open and read the clipboard after a patient checked in? That’s pretty much unacceptable today, although some offices still abide by that antiquated and perhaps rude introduction. From surgeons to CEOs, getting out from the exam room and being seen raises the bar of confidence with patients and customers alike. The open atmosphere gives the dentist the opportunity to see how patients are being treated and how employees are interacting.
The soft colors and the background music continue the gentle ambiance, but it becomes the employees and the talented staff who help to solve problems. Successful dentists count on their staff to listen to their patients. Staff who are empowered to solve problems and work closely with patients can make an unpleasant experience tolerable. Add that to a dentist who listens to his staff and takes feedback for future improvement, shows his commitment to providing an exceptional experience.
So what did I learn from my experience at Etheredge and Schry Dentistry in Palm Beach Gardens about customer service? I found out that calling the office and speaking to Jennifer because I was unhappy with my temporary crown did not resonate against deaf ears. Instead I was told to come right into the office, and she would make sure I saw Dr. Etheredge. I found out that a reliable dentist takes time, even with short notice to make adjustments because his patient was going out of town. I found out that exceptional customer service is done by those who genuinely love what they do, and engage their patients as well as their staff with a genuine concern in their voices.
And best of all I learned that reliable, consistent and competent professionals help to make smiles brighter.
(Customer service lessons / shutterstock)
Douglas Hanna is CEO of A Small Orange, a high-end web hosting company that prides itself on quality customer service and support. In addition to his role at A Small Orange, Douglas founded and writes for Service Untitled, a popular blog on customer service and the customer service experience.
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