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Monday, April 9, 2012

Customer Service By Lenora Milligan

Salt Dental Consultant
Part 1 of 2

. This article will help you understand what your patients really want from you and your team.

Lets start with your business or place of employment. Who is your boss? Who pays your paycheck? Its not the dentist you work for and, if you are the dentist, its not you. Its your patients. They are the boss. They pay your wage and have expectations of how they wish to be treated

If I were to ask, could you and your team meet my dental expectations right now, what would you say? Most answer quickly with a resounding YES! But how do you know? Do you even know what my expectations are? Have you asked me? How can you possibly meet anyone's expectations if you dont know what they are?

Now that I have your attention, lets talk about expectations.

When dealing with expectations there are three possibilities. 1. Meet. 2. Exceed. 3. Fail. Obviously we do not want to fail. But is meeting someone's expectations good enough? Or do you consistently strive to exceed them? Take for instance a plumber. Most of us have had to bring a plumber into our home or work space for an installation or repair of some sort. Let's say the plumber shows up promptly, quickly and efficiently fixes the problem and takes his/her leave. Were expectations met? Yes, in a very basic way. However, the bathroom has muddy boot prints, the sink is dirty, and water has been dripped or sprayed in multiple locations. You talk to a friend about the experience and they tell a completely different story. They hired a plumber who showed up promptly, placed booties on their feet, quickly and efficiently fixed the problem, cleaned the sink and mopped the floor before leaving, all for the same price. Another bonus? He/she smelled nice, dressed nice, and had excellent manners. Were expectations exceeded? Yes! Who do you think will receive a call the next time a plumber is required?

In the dental office every patient is unique and yet many share common expectations. One may want to turn the visit into a social event, while another may want to get in and out quickly without a lot of small talk. Treating both patients the same will leave one of them with failed expectations. That is a 50% fail rate. If you are the type of person who consistently reads people well, or if you have been well-trained, you will recognize certain signals emanating from the patient and act accordingly. Otherwise you may need to ask more questions and clarify your patient's expectations.

However, we can make certain assumptions about the average patients expectations. Such as: A phone will be promptly answered by someone with a smile that can help. Your patients probably expect a clean, uncluttered office that smells nice and is comfortable. Maybe they also expect a well-trained team of friendly people, who greet them with a smile, a handshake, eye contact, and a warm, caring demeanor. Providing quality care means being present in the moment, instead of on autopilot.

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

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This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin

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