When I teach dentists and dental teams about customer service and business success, I often hear them say:
“But my patients wouldn’t do that.
“Our patients would never do that.”
To which I say:
“You’re focusing on the wrong customers.”
It’s the old 80:20 rule.
Eighty percent of your customers will create twenty percent of your income, and create one hundred percent of your grief.
And twenty percent of your patients will contribute eighty percent of your income and will create little or no grief.
And it is your decision as to which type of patients you want to attract to your business.
Because the percentages are the same out there in the community.
Twenty to twenty-five percent of the population out there will be happy to pay your fees and will not care what your competitors are charging so long as you give great service to them.
I remember visiting a client and the office received a call from a patient who had recently been in for a hygiene visit and check-up.
This patient had rung to say that she felt that the fee she had paid was a little high.
The receptionist who took the call was confused as to what to do.
So we looked at the patient’s history at this dental office.
[And yes, this office was a high-end office with high fees]
So this was a newish patient to the dental office, and it turned out to be the second time that this patient had had a hygiene visit and a check-up. This patient had indeed been in six months earlier for an initial comprehensive examination, which had been billed at a higher fee [and been paid for]. The patient had also been back for some restorative work back then.
So here’s the heads up….
This time the patient had seen a different hygienist in the practice, and not the hygienist that she saw first time around.
So with this in mind, it was obvious that the recent hygiene visit had not been as much of an exceptional or ultimate patient experience for this patient as it should have been, for whatever reason.
So how do you make amends?
For whatever reason, we have to rectify and remove the disappointment for the patient as quickly as possible.
Because the patient had not called with any demands about this visit.
And if the patient had been truly dissatisfied, they’d have probably just gone elsewhere next time in six months’ time, without any fanfare or hoo-ha.
No this was a definite call by the patient for some rectification, because she really liked the dental practice and probably wanted to stay there as a patient.
If in this case the more recent visit had been such a disappointment, here is what I suggested:
I believe that we needed to offer the patient an immediate visit as soon as possible, with the hygienist that she had seen on her initial visit six months prior.
And that this visit, which we would try to organise as soon as possible, was of course going to be at no charge to the patient.
It is apparent, that in large multi-hygienist dental offices, that we still do need to maintain a relationship between each dental patient and one specific hygienist.
So many times I see larger dental offices where the regular patients are seeing any old dental hygienist, rather than one hygienist in that office who is specific to them.
In the same way that they see one dentist only in that office who is specific to them only, hygiene visits need to be arranged in the same manner.
Shuffling your golden patients from one hygienist to another is so impersonal and devalues the relationship that each hygienist can build with each and every patient.
I see dental offices where if one hygienist has an opening appear in their schedule, then the office “raids” the patients of another hygienist, simply to fill the current opening.
With little or no regard to relationship maintenance.
This subconscious devaluation of the personal relationship between the patient and a specific hygienist will be mirrored back by the patient at a later date when they devalue their hygiene visit as being
“just a clean”
Which is never ever what it is.
The stability of the hygiene visit and the relationship of one hygienist to each of their patients within a dental office is one of the primary core values that needs to be maintained at all times in the dental office to patient relationship.
Eroding this relationship, or worse still, ignoring its importance, is a recipe for failure.
Ignore my warning at your own peril.
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The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.
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