5 steps to service brilliance in your dental practice


Click through the following slideshow for five ideas to ensure your team creates a quality experience for your patients.

The level of service your practice gives its clients has a direct impact on your financial results, and it’s more than the number of procedures performed or patient billings.

Brilliant service is most often your primary demonstration of the quality of care you provide. It is what sets your practice apart. It’s why your patient chooses you and your treatment. It’s the essential factor in creating client loyalty.

Related reading: Why service beats product and why that matters in your dental practice

Brilliant service is all around us. Look at Nordstrom, Starbucks, Ritz-Carlton and Southwest Airlines. When you consistently provide brilliant service, you and your practice differentiate yourselves as individuals within the practice and as a practice within the marketplace.

Employees who follow service standards by rote rarely create memorable moments for their clients. People who passionately believe in their product and service and are encouraged to think about the quality experience for their patients are creative, innovative and proactive. Brilliant service comes from the heart and the head.

Click through the following slideshow for five ideas to ensure your team creates a quality experience for your patients.




1. Teach the people who take care of the client.

A study of 3,000 organizations by the University of Pennsylvania showed a 10 percent investment in capital improvements boosts productivity by 3.9 percent while the same 10 percent investment in developing people increases productivity by 8.5 percent.

According to the American Society of Training and Development, organizations spending an average of $900 per employee on learning had 57 percent higher net sales and 37 percent higher gross profits.

Singapore Airlines spends $100 million annually on training. It’s the largest single component of the company’s budget.

“Starbucks is not an advertiser; people think we are a great marketing company, but in fact we spend very little money on marketing and more money on training our people than advertising," said Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks.

Training the team yields measurable results.




2. Empower people to fix problems fast.

Train each team member to take responsibliity for finding a solution for the patients’ problem. Teach them how to avoid quoting “office policy” as an excuse. Build confidence among team members and teach them how to “think on their feet,” knowing the desired outcome and how they can achieve a win/win situation for the practice and the patient.

Related reading: 9 ways to improve your dental practice's customer service skills




3. Ask the team what it needs to consistently create a quality patient experience.

Maintain quality at the core of all patient care. Conduct team meetings to review customer service cues in your practice. For every system there must be a customer service discussion to address office protocols in “patient speak.” What do the patients need to hear to understand how your systems convey your quality of care and your service to your patients?

Provide time for your team to ask questions and learn the philosophy behind doing what you do. Help them understand the benefits of your standards so they can talk to the patients with service brilliance.

We spend 85 percent of our time in patient interaction and 15 percent of our time in actual clinical application. More training in communication skills may be needed in your practice to improve team skills.




4. Learn how “others” are doing it both inside and outside of the industry.

Attend continuing education courses together to learn new skills. Learn the latest in state-of-the-art technology and innovative ideas to improve efficiency.

Go on a “field trip” to watch exceptional customer service in action. Instruct your team to watch for great customer service, as well as poor customer service and report their observations in a team meeting. Conduct a team meeting to create your own quality service cues for your practice.

More on customer service: 4 ways to innovate your dental practice without breaking the bank




5. Treat team members as the quality of person they are.

Ritz-Carlton has a saying, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Treat team members the way your practice wants them to treat the patients. When you help them feel respected, valued and cared for, they will treat the patient in kind.

Model the attitude and behaviors you want your team to exemplify when taking care of patients. Set team members up for success by equipping them with the proper tools to provide brilliant service. This might take the form of more continuing education, more team meetings or personal growth conferences.

Training is one of the best investments to ensure practice growth. If cost consideration is a factor, imagine what it costs the practice when the team is not adequately trained. Team inefficienes and ineffectiveness affects practice revenue. Train the people who take care of your patients. Invest in what makes a significant difference in your practice and reap the rewards.

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