Customer Service, the "Ritz-Carlton" Way
There have been countless articles written about customer service and creating the “Ritz Carlton Experience” of attention to quality and service. Dental practices have added beverage bars, lemon scented towels, fresh flowers, team pictures, fresh baked cookies, popcorn machines, aromatherapy, water fountains, soothing music, Wi-Fi services, massage chairs and other spa services to make sure patients are happy and want to return. But sometimes these services, though thoughtful, are like putting a new coat of paint on a car without an engine.
Just what is the Ritz-Carlton Experience? The Ritz-Carlton has a 100 year history of an “unshakeable credo and corporate philosophy of unwavering commitment to service, both in their hotels and in their communities.” Their Vision Statement is to “Inspire life’s most meaningful journeys.” Their Mission Statement is to “Provide genuine care and exceptional products and services resulting in profit leadership.” They are considered the gold standard of customer service worldwide.
How do they do it? The hotel business is a tough one, with enormous competition. As one who has stayed in countless hotels for both business and vacation travel, I can say from experience that there are places I would never go back to again. The main reason for this is often the obvious lack of training that hotel staff have received, resulting in poor service reflecting in a declining, decaying hotel.
The Ritz-Carlton leaders figured out a long time ago that you cannot maintain the most luxurious hotels and services without highly trained and committed employees. The reason for their gold standard is their “Succeed through Service” skills-based mentoring program and their award winning employee training and developing programs. Some of the training to be an employee at the Ritz-Carlton includes the following modules: Social Skills and Etiquette, Successful Presentation Skills, Power of Teamwork, and Application and Interview Skills.
From the Social Skills & Etiquette module: “It’s all about First Impressions = Provide a Warm Welcome = Eye Contact, Facial Expressions (smile), Energy in your voice and a Polite Greeting.” It takes 43 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile, yet there is far too much frowning in a dental practice. It isn’t necessarily the fault of who is at the desk, it’s more a question of was the person at the desk trained in customer service and telephone skills?
I have asked patients many times: What is the first thing you notice about the dental office when you go in? Nine times out of 10 it is the greeting or lack of greeting by the front office or dental assistant. “I am not noticed until I am there about five minutes; both of them are looking down at their computers.”
As a business that is all about creating beautiful smiles, it would seem obvious that patients could at least get one when entering the practice. I have observed many offices that give away clinical services instead of providing great service. Small things do count, but discounts, free services and other giveaways do not offset bad customer service. I was once offered a free night at a hotel to make up for the poor customer service I had received. I wasn’t interested, as I wanted to leave at that point.
Long-term, committed patients are what dental practices should strive for, yet there isn’t a lot of time spent on establishing relationships to create loyal patients. Often it is these patients who are taken for granted in favor of the troublesome and problematic patients who zap energy and enthusiasm from the practice. Work on retaining the patients that you want by showing them you care. Listen to their concerns and move toward making corrections in your practice to suit them. Learn to create your own comprehensive marketing and professional relations department, or consult with McKenzie Management to learn how to attract and keep patients in your practice. You can take a complimentary assessment on our website HERE to evaluate how effective your current marketing efforts are.
Surveying your active patient base through online reviews and making changes in the practice to improve overall patient satisfaction will show that you truly care about what matters to your patients. To improve customer service, treatment acceptance and advance your dental business skills, call us at 877-777-6151 today and get started. We will provide you with a customized road map to success.Forward this article to a friend
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