8.10.07 - Issue # 283 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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Making Customer Service Your Daily Goal

“Service is just a day-in, day-out, ongoing and never ending, unremitting, persevering, compassionate type of activity.”  Leon Gorman or L.L.Bean

Service to our patients, friends and family has become a dying art in an ever-increasing impersonal world.  E-mail, text messaging and cell phones are all forms of instant communication that keep us abreast of the comings and goings of friends, patients, co-workers and loved ones to the point where privacy is at a premium yet intimacy is rare. These types of communications have replaced the face-to-face communication so important to building real relationships.  E-mail can never replace a warm handshake or a comforting hug.

The environment of a dental office can be friendly and inviting with smiles, hellos and a “how can I serve you” attitude.  Or it can be as impersonal and cold as a text message.  Providing excellent customer service is about serving others beyond expectations.  In the Advanced Business Course offered at McKenzie Management we focus on developing systems that will give the patient the excellent service that they deserve.  Providing excellent attention is setting aside the “office politics” to look at the reason we are in dentistry, to serve our patients.

Poor customer or patient services can convince a potential patient or a patient of record not to have treatment in your office.  Is the initial phone call of the new patient given undivided attention?  Or is the caller placed on hold repeatedly or for long periods of time giving the impression that you are “too busy” to see him/her.  If you are doing any of the following you could be promoting the decline of your practice instead of the growth:

  • Having restrictive appointment hours making it difficult to schedule a time
  • Being booked out for more than two weeks
  • Over zealous about full mouth treatment plans on the patients first visit
  • Making scheduled patients wait more than 10 minutes for their appointment
  • Not explaining before the appointment how insurance benefits are accepted in your practice
  • Not presenting written treatment options
  • Not presenting written financial options
  • Not offering out of office funding services such as CareCredit
  • Not giving the patient pre-op instructions or post-op instructions
  • Not having inviting and clean restroom facilities for patients to prepare for the appointment and to freshen up afterward
  • Not giving the patient information on services or products that may improve their dental health
  • Not having a marketing plan to retain existing patients and to attract new patients
  • Not offering special services to promote patient comfort such as CD players, personal movie players, warm neck towels, booties or blankets etc.

The patient will need to know your policy for cancellations and the consequences of failing an appointment before it happens.  Communication of policies in the beginning is the key to prevent breakdowns in communication in the future.

In some areas of the country, there are shortages of dentists causing some offices to be busy in spite of their bad service.  This could change if a new dentist moves into the area offering better hours, services and attention to patient concerns.

To provide an excellent service experience you must be constantly alert to how you can meet the needs and wants of the patient.  Good service is a team effort and part of the office culture of exceptional care. The team needs to be supportive of each other and leave egos and personal problems on the doorstep.  Healthy relationships develop out of concern for fulfilling a common goal of commitment to the patient’s comfort and overall experience in the office.  For example, Mrs. Henrietta Jones was having new bridgework and crowns done that required several visits.  She had to bring her husband, Fred, with her because his health issues forbade that he be left alone for long periods of time.  Fred Jones loved coffee, so, Jane, the Scheduling Coordinator, made sure that Fred had that cup of coffee at each visit.  She also checked on him to make sure he was doing all right and reported to Henrietta in the dental chair so she wouldn’t worry.  It is that special “service” that is above the normal that makes patients talk about your office to friends, family and co-workers. 

Your office will stand apart from the crowd when you develop your own exceptional dental office experience.  If you want to start developing that “wow” experience now then give us a call and schedule the Advanced Business Training course today.

For more information on McKenzie's Advanced Training Programs for Office Managers and Front Office, email training@mckenziemgmt.com, call 1-877-777-6151 or visit our web-site at www.mckenziemgmt.com.

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