Why We Must Always Be Valuing Our Customers’ Time.

One of the simplest ways of showing anyone that you care about them is by showing them that you value their time.

With children it’s simple. It’s done by spending time with them.

I remember being told as a young parent, that children spell love, T. – I. – M. – E..

With adults, it’s the same thing. When talking with someone, we need to *BE* with them, really be there for them. Not just be there, but be present. For them.

With customers, clients and patients its that, and one step more.

With customers, we need to be there with them, and be present for them, but we also need to be mindful of *NOT* wasting their time.

Because they’ll notice.

We all notice.

Don’t we?

Think about it…. as customers ourselves, in business, in retail, we dislike being kept waiting. We dislike being left unattended, when someone could be there serving us.

And it can be the same in dentistry.

This month, we’ve had a dental assistant sent to us from the agency, to fill a position we’ve had come up due to the recent departure of a team member.

She’s a good girl, works well, but she’s come from a job elsewhere where she worked full time for over four years.

What’s interesting about this is that though she’s proficient in a lot of aspects of dental assisting, we’ve had to talk a few times with her about time, timing and time management.

What surprises me about this, is that what it really means is that where she used to work, they must have had very little idea about the better use of everyone’s time, and the implications and consequences of not valuing and respecting the time of the patient and of the doctor.

Let me explain.

It’s my belief that in the modern day Dental Office there are three types of measurement of time.

  1. Doctor’s time.
  2. Patients’ time.
  3. Staff time.

And they must be valued in that specific order.

With only slight separation of #1 and #2.

With this hierarchy in mind, everything that is done in the dental office must be done with due consideration of these three types of time.

Here are a few examples.

End of treatment.

At the completion of a treatment appointment yesterday, our dental assistant left the operatory to return some product we had used to its refrigerator.

Unfortunately, although treatment had been completed, the doc and the patient were left stranded and left hanging for a short awkward moment.

You see, the DA was really required in the treatment room to assist with the post treatment restablisation: Warm towel, fresh water, bib removal, safety glasses removal, return to vertical familiarization, face and clothing correction and straightening etc.

Although the product did need to be returned to the fridge, it didn’t need to be done right at that instance. It could have been done after the patient had been escorted from the treatment room.

The same goes for other “putting away” activities during the appointment. These must only be performed after the patient has left the treatment room. Not while the patient is in the treatment room.

It is the dental assistants duty to *be there* for the doctor and the patient, and not to be putting stuff away.

Putting stuff away distracts us from serving our clients and from being *of* service to our clients.

Putting stuff away must always be done after.

At the start of treatment.

It’s very difficult to begin an appointment on time, or to catch up lost time, if the next patient to be treated is left waiting outside in the client lounge as opposed to being brought down into the next treatment room on time.

And once brought down, they need to be prepared, and be attended to by the dental assistant, who must stay with them.

On occasions this week, I’ve seen patients being left unattended in a treatment room, and we all know what that’s like…Time alone seems to take an eternity. The time spent alone, waiting, is heightened.

As mentioned in previous blogs, this valuable time spent waiting for the arrival of the dentist can be used to engage the patient in meaningful conversation about the patient, gathering information [discretely] about them and just “visiting” with them, talking to them about their favourite subjects and interests.

It also means that when the dentist arrives, its straight down to treatment, with no waiting. Again, we are valuing the client’s time by being proficient and efficient with their time.

Then there’s timing. Or time-ING.

Answering the call of nature sometimes needs to be planned by the dental team where it has the least impact on the roll out of our dental product.

And this comes back to the respect of other’s time. Doctor’s time, patients’ time, staff time.

Think practically. When it’s patient time, let it be patient time. Be ready for them, and be ready to be there for them.

Finally, set-ups. Tray and treatment room set-ups.

These need to be perfect, each and every time.

Because if one thing’s missing, it may as well be five things missing. Everything grinds to a halt while the missing items are gathered.

And to me that’s just plain rude.
As a patient I’d be thinking, “They’ve known I’m coming in. They know what I’m having done. And still, they’re not ready for me?”

Whereas by being there, and being ready, everything runs smoothly, seamlessly, without painful disconnection, without painful waiting…

I know it’s not the end of the world, but time is our greatest resource.
Time is a constant.

We all, be we Trump, Murdoch or Branson, we all have exactly the same amount of time.

Be mindful of it. Be respectful of it. Count it. Measure it.

But don’t waste it.

Because once it’s gone, it’s gone….


The Best Use of Time is just one of the many protocols you will learn in The Ultimate Patient Experience, 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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