Achieving 5-star customer service in the dental practice

January 20, 2016

We have all heard about, read about, and strived for the elusive five-star customer service. We have attended classes, read testimonials and listened to others tell stories about it. We all want it, strive to provide it and desire to receive it. So what is “IT,” really?

We have all heard about, read about, and strived for the elusive five-star customer service. We have attended classes, read testimonials and listened to others tell stories about it. We all want it, strive to provide it and desire to receive it. So what is “IT,” really?

A favorite vacation at an all-inclusive resort jumps to my mind. We made our reservations, paid for the lodging and booked our airfare. In describing our experience, we purposefully use the word “guests” because that is how we felt from the moment we walked through the lobby doors until we arrived back at the airport.

We were guests at the resort for seven days and found ourselves discussing the outstanding customer service on many occasions. During one of these discussions, someone in our group summed up why our experience was amazing with one simple statement. “No one who works at this resort ever says ‘no’.” Not once did we hear “we cannot do that,” “that is not our policy” or “we cannot provide that to you.” Rather, what we did hear was “yes,” “let me see what I can do” and “it is my pleasure.” No matter what we asked, they figured out a way to meet or exceed our expectations. 

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In addition they took service with a smile to a new level. Every time we said “thank you” they said “my pleasure ma’am,” and always with a smile. What we noticed time and time again was every team member was empowered with the ability to make the client/customer happy. If they needed help or assistance, they simply found another team member that smiled just as genuinely and helped their coworker accomplish the goal at hand. It was a beautiful thing that ensured every one of their guests had the best seven days of their lives. In accomplishing this they made sure we would visit again and maybe more importantly that we would refer a friend.

Have you empowered your team to say “Yes!” and “It is my pleasure?” While that sounds like a simple task, it is harder than it sounds. If it was that easy, we would not see numerous bestselling books or presentations on customer service. In order for empowerment to happen, there must be trust, systems in place, the right team on board and the right mentality from leadership. This goal is a process. It will start with a vision and a mission.

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Most offices have a mission statement, however when was the last time you read it aloud? Is your mission still you? Perhaps it is time to revisit your vision. The entire team should be involved in this process, as they will be on the front lines carrying out this tradition. Dissect your mission sentence-by-sentence, word-by-word. Make sure it is a true reflection of who you are and who you want to be to your team and your patients. Every step you take after this should be reflective of that one statement.

The next step is to look at your systems and your processes. Are they easy to understand? Do they allow your team to accomplish your mission? Perhaps it is time to reevaluate and adjust based on where you are now and where you know you are going.

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Never underestimate the power of a positive and productive team meeting. This is where you create the buy in. The entire team will support you if you trust them and educate them. This is a team project.

Amazing customer service is a work in progress, requires constant training and must be consistent to truly work. There will be missteps and errors. The key is to recognize this, correct the error and move on with determination to make it happen the next time.

One thing is certain, this type of customer service all starts with leadership, the desire to provide it and an empowered team. Work this week to find opportunities to say “yes,” “It is my pleasure” and to be genuine in your pursuit of the elusive five stars.