Get personal

March 21, 2012

June 2010 | Dental Products Report Clinical 360°: exclusive survey The chemistry and engineering behind new materials and equipment are what make it into magazines. And, while the science is what you hear about in the lead, it certainly isn’t the whole story.

June 2010 | Dental Products Report
Clinical 360°: exclusive survey

The chemistry and engineering behind new materials and equipment are what make it into magazines. And, while the science is what you hear about in the lead, it certainly isn’t the whole story.

This month, we want to recognize the role relationships play in integrating products successfully into the practice, whether that be through customer service, outstanding sales reps or tech support.

Customer service
We placed a rather large order with our new (at the time) Benco rep. The following day, we didn’t receive our order; we received our order six times! One heckuva computer glitch! We call him up as angry as can be and basically accuse him of loading us up intentionally to make more commission. He comes to the office within the hour, assesses the situation and makes a call to Benco to pick up five of the redundant orders.

My office manager scolds the rep for the problem and said that the action was not a good way to become our supplier. I’ll never forget his reply as it was a classic. With a straight face, he said, “Obviously this was a computer error and I’ve made arrangements for the extra orders to be picked up by UPS, tomorrow. If you prefer, I guess I can load them up into my car, but it would be best to handle it the way I’m doing it.” Then again with a straight face he said, “You know something guys, I don’t want to make light of the situation, but I think I can make some lemonade now! Do you realize that we shipped you your order complete, six times, without any backorders, delivered in one day’s time?” We immediately understood where he was coming from and he became our main supplier from that time on. We stayed with him even as he moved a couple of times throughout his career to different supply houses. I wish he was still servicing our office. He was “that” good. But he rolled his SUV over five times on the highway and suffered a TBI.

The injuries he sustained from that accident, combined with injuries he received in a training accident as a young U.S. Marine, were too much for him to continue on in the dental field and he medically retired before the age of 50. We wish we could find another dental guy who knew his stuff half as well as he did. His customer service went well beyond the usual and customary!
- Dentist

After much pleading with our doctor, we managed to get a fancy new Cavi-Jet from DENTSPLY Professional. After the installation, we had a very minor problem with the unit. Our rep came nearly immediately, and on a day when his family was dealing with a very emotional situation with a young family member. We found out when he was on his way out that he was on his way to the hospital. We scolded him for coming, and he said he knew how excited we were and knew he could quickly fix our problem. You can’t get much better service than that.
- Dental hygienist

I am presently visiting Asia, and my colleague got held up in Switzerland due to the Icelandic volcano debacle, leaving our staff to supervise movement of our CBCT systems due to a clinic relocalization. Imaging Sciences International was quickly responsive to requests via e-mail to make sure the i-CAT systems were quickly recalibrated and up and running when this was requested via e-mail from me in Japan. In less than 24 hours, I had a happy e-mail from a previously distraught employee.
- Dentist

Ultradent’s marketing strategy includes providing samples of almost all its products. I’m sure that’s an expensive marketing tool, but it gives the dentist a taste of the product before making a decision of purchase, and if the manufacturer is confident of their product this strategy should be very rewarding to them.
- Dentist

How do you measure customer satisfaction?

Many dental practices often wonder why some patients leave and never come back. At a time when savvy consumers expect more out of the services they receive, relying on the gut feeling that patients are happy is no longer enough to ensure the success of a practice, no matter its size. Measuring patient satisfaction in a more systematic way offers many benefits.

Patient feedback tells you what’s not working. If you don’t know what’s wrong, you can’t fix it! Giving patients an easy channel to provide feedback anonymously not only demonstrates willingness to proactively listen, but also offers patients the opportunity to identify immediate areas of improvements. This could be as simple as updating the selection of magazines in the waiting room, or as complex as addressing recurring staff issues.

Patient feedback helps rally your practice staff. Every team member brings value to how patients ultimately feel about their experience. Sharing patient praise during weekly meetings or morning huddles motivates staff to take pride in delivering extraordinary care and service, while constructive feedback helps make them more accountable and nip unwanted trends in the bud. Patient satisfaction scores can inform staff bonus structures and set a positive tone in engaging the whole practice in a continuous quality improvement culture. 

Patient feedback enhances your marketing efforts. Delighting patients ensures the level of retention and loyalty that eventually leads to word-of-mouth marketing and new patient referrals. Knowing what those specific strengths are from a patient’s perspective through ongoing feedback can help optimize marketing messages and target audiences. Finding the right words to interest prospective patients in advertising campaigns helps maximize marketing investment.

Patient feedback helps benchmark your practice. By monitoring patient satisfaction scores over time, a practice can compare current and past performance. These scores take on a whole new meaning when compared with other practices in the market. External quantitative and qualitative benchmarks now exist to help dentists put their own scores into perspective and see how patients rate the experience at their practice relative to other practitioners.

Patient feedback enhances your practice’s bottom line. Measuring patient satisfaction ultimately translates into long-term financial returns. Keeping a finger on the pulse of what patients think in real time enables practices to implement immediate change strategies that will ensure a recurring revenue stream from existing patients and create new patient opportunities.

Tech support

We use Patterson EagleSoft software in our office. They have the best tech support I have ever experienced with any support I have ever dealt with. Courteous, prompt and very qualified. It is always a good experience to deal with them.
- Dentist

Juan from Kodak came and worked on my x-ray head until it was working even though it wasn’t a Kodak product.
- Dentist

Sales reps

Teri Dervenis, our Patterson Dental Sales Rep, is considered a member of our dental team. She is an advisor to our practice, and fully committed to helping our practice reach our goals with educating us on the latest technology and products to help our productivity and patient care.
- Dentist

My office burned with almost a total loss on Thanksgiving weekend 1995. Jeff Hulsey, a rep with Nashville Dental Inc. (NDI), was at my house the next day on a Saturday and Sunday and helped me to locate a temporary location for an office. I was up and running in about 5 weeks from the fire at a temporary location. Secondly, NDI helped with renovation and set up a permanent office-that I’m still active in-by the middle of March 1996. NDI provides as much or as little involvement in your practice as you desire. They are like family to me. They have always been there for me since my practice opened July 1, 1991.
- Dentist

Patty Call, with Henry Schein is always high on life. She will come into the office, always bubbly, sometimes with homemade cookies, sometimes without cookies. She shares her family antics with us and always asks about our families. She personally will make out all of the rebates and makes sure they are all sent out for us-including the Dentacheques. She doesn’t “push” anything onto us, but knows what it is that we use and will call us with the information. We love her and others could take a lesson from her on customer satisfaction.
- Dentist

Kenny Meissner from Patterson always goes above and beyond the call of duty when we have a problem. Our lab was broken into, and our CEREC was damaged. Kenny came right out, stayed late and fixed our unit.
- Dentist

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