The Customer Pays The Employees’ Wages

I’m writing this article while on a return flight from Queensland to NSW, having worked in Brisbane earlier this week presenting to a group of savvy dentists about the importance of providing great customer service in their dental business.

You see, it doesn’t matter how good your dentistry is, how narrow your crown margins are, and what tensile strength your composite bond has…. if your patients perceive you as being arrogant, rude, obnoxious, and not caring, they will gladly take their business to another dentist who doesn’t take them for granted.

Interestingly, this theory applies to all businesses… the airline we are flying with on this flight has taken an eon to start serving an afternoon snack and beverages, such that thirty minutes following take-off one of the passengers in business class had to ding the attendant’s bell to ask for a beverage, worried that the crew may not get to serving him before the plane was due to land.

When the flight crew finally got their trolleys out of the galley, the head steward remarked that two of the ovens in the galley were not working and this had delayed the meal service…

I’m really not sure what the ovens on this airline have to do with serving the passengers a drink BEFORE the food service comes around…. on other airlines they have no difficulty serving their business and first class passengers ONE OR TWO  beverages before the flight has pushed back from the gate, as well as once the plane is in the air. Sadly this airline, Qantas, seems to happily engage in service stalling tactics as a diversion to serving a handful of pointy-end customers the drinks service that their expensive ticket should be receiving.

To me it’s pretty obvious that Qantas’s policies regarding the service of alcohol is a PENNY PINCHING directive from above…. a POLICY  of sorts… Qantas don’t serve alcohol in their lounges before midday, and they seriously delay serving alcohol to their business and first class customers for as long as possible on their flights.

And when you fly internally on other overseas airlines, you really see that Qantas is “fisting” its customers with regards to premium service as much as it possibly can…

It’s pretty obvious that the “leaders” at Qantas don’t seem to care that they are starving their customers of amenities and services, and that the employees of Qantas are also of the opinion that their salaries come from Qantas, and not from the fares paid by customers.

In dentistry there’s a similar naivety….

In dentistry there’s a failure from the top to educate the team about who the employer is, and who is actually paying the team wages.

A lot of dental staff believe that they work for the dentist, or the practice owner.

When in reality, it is the patients of the practice who invariably are the ones who pay the wages of the team.

Because without an income from paying patients, it doesn’t matter how great your margins are, how clean your instruments are and how good the dentist is at giving needles…. no patients means no practice income.

When the team realise that acquiring patients, and KEEPING patients is the name of the game, then and only then does the penny truly drop.

Because, for the disgruntled patient who wants to change dentists, there’s literally a dental practice on every street corner these days.

And if dentists and dental teams take their patients for granted and don’t make them feel welcomed, valued and understood, those patients will simply leave the dental practice and take their business to the next dentist down the street.

Just as disgruntled flyers will switch airlines…


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