Who Needs Customer Service Anyway?

“I’m not so convinced this Customer Service thing is necessary in dentistry. After all, we’re dentists”

“Our job is to fill teeth”

“We are health care practitioners. We don’t need to be bothered with this Customer Service stuff”

These are some of the comments I hear from time to time as I travel around the globe attending meetings and talking to other dentists.

And it’s sad.

It really is sad that this opinion still exists out there in the profession.

But it does.

And I’m not sure if it’s because of naivety, or arrogance, or obstinance or ignorance?

Or maybe it’s all four.

Or a combination of some of them.

The thing is, all dentists are technically the same. Their skills are equal. Or should I say, our skills. After all, I am a dentist.

The profession would like us to believe that Mr. and Mrs. Public should be happy to attend any dentist because all dentists have the same level of technical competency.

And that’s why you don’t see dentists advertising their technical points of difference.

You won’t see an ad saying, “Our margins are 43 microns!”

Or “Our porcelain has the highest tensile strength available!”

No, it goes without saying, the public expect all dentists to be of equal competence.

So how do you compete in the marketplace for patients?

Well maybe you don’t have to. Maybe you’re in a town or city overrun with people and undersupplied with dentists.

A town where the public are beating a path to your door, because there’s just not enough dentists around to treat all the people.

But that’s not the case, I’m sure.

I know down here in Australia, we’re about to see a glut of dentists. We’re importing overseas trained dentists, and granting licenses to them to practice in significant numbers.

And for some reason we’ve got a large number of newly formed dental schools across the universities of the country churning out new graduates from their newly formed dental faculties.

I think down here the public has a one in four chance of their dentist being either overseas trained or newly trained.

And I know in the USA there’s virtually a dentist on every street corner of every town…

So the best way of competing in a market of oversupply is on price, right?

Whether we’re talking dentistry or any other commodity, people will always take the cheaper or cheapest alternative, right?

That’s why Wal-Mart, Target, and Aldi are so successful…

A dentist friend of mine espoused that in life, as consumers, we make our choices based upon a triangle of three components.

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Service

And our choice is made upon a balance, that we choose, of those three things.

His belief is that in delivering a product or a service, the supplier cannot be a three times winner.

His contention is that at best, a supplier can only deliver on two fronts.

To have the lowest price, you have to be compromising on quality or service.
And I agree.

And on the flip side, to provide the best quality or service, you have to spend a dollar, meaning that the prices of your goods cannot be the lowest.

Which brings us to service….

The level of service that you provide is the only differentiator, or point of difference, that your clients will use to choose you and your dental office, all things being equal.

Because quality, from one dental office to another, is the same.

And patients in general don’t know the difference between a new laser and an old laser? Or a good crown margin and an OK margin?

But patients will know and notice the difference between a dental office providing World Class Customer Service and one that’s just simply going through the motions.

And it will only be so long that they’ll put up with poor service and low levels of care before they start to look around for a cheaper dentist who treats them in the same poor way.

And that’s my point.

If you do not have a strong and compelling service differential, then the public, your clients and patients, will just move on looking for the only other differential they know….price!

And low price does not breed customer loyalty, in dentistry.

Only the provision of impeccable world class service breeds customer loyalty.

And loyal raving fans are what sustains a great business.

And there’s your differential…your point of difference.


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.

Email me at david@theupe.com

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