Archive for Dental Patient Care
So what does the real-life customer service story I recently shared here about Jim Lomis Creating Delightful Experiences have to do with the practice of dentistry or any business for that matter? I’ve excerpted a few comments below to demonstrate how they can apply to YOUR business.
Suggestion: Take the time to print this off and at your next team meeting, honestly ask your entire team to discuss openly.
- “Delivers his service” – Service IS the only distinctive competency between good and great. What is yours really like?
- “…showing visiting and local guests a Cleveland they never knew existed! To add a touch of uniqueness and fun” – What specifically are you and your team doing to make visiting your business uniquely fun and different so your guests say, WOW, I never knew this kind of service existed!
- “…demonstrated the vibrancy of Cleveland” – How are you and your team projecting the “vibrancy” of your business/practice?
- “…we were greeted by this remarkable smile, an extended hand of welcome, and a level of enthusiasm and excitement that set the stage for THE BEST documented tour experience had ever experienced.” – How are you and your team really creating the BEST experience in your practice/business? Its experiences that sell joy and delight, not perfect fillings.
- “…explanations and questions that had the crowd energized, involved and wanting more.” – When guests leave your business, are they energized and wanting more from you and your team?
- “…He invited questions, asked us what we wanted, showed us the unexpected, and had a refreshing positive sense of humor…” – How well are we listening? How well are we asking questions to find out what our guest wants?
- “…had spent considerable time on my website learning about my business, what I do, who I serve, my background, and blended all this information into his information delivery.” – What kind of “detectives” are we in learning about our guests and using this information to deliver communication that nurtures strong and lasting relationships?
- “…stood at the door and personally shook passenger’s hand and thanked them for allowing him to serve.” – How often do you “touch” your guests and thank them for choosing you?
Jim’s behaviors of courtesy, care and concern blended with a warm smile, the touch of a hand and a sense of humor, cost so little and deliver so much enjoyment. He has given us the keys to creating service excellence that, when applied, will assure you of being different, delightful and demanded by discriminating guests.
What are the implications to you and your practice or business of the message shared in my last blog post?
I believe they are HUGE.
Rather than be like Mr. Horgan’s FORMER dentist, why not invest in low or no cost ways to pamper and demonstrate to your guests that you really do care? How about this suggestion:
Make your 2013 business focus – Total Caring for Our Guests! I believe that what we Think About and Thank About Comes About.
Here are a few ideas to demonstrate “Total Caring” for your patients/guests:
- Daily send out two handwritten notes to patients of record.
- Compliment team members in front of guests.
- If you keep people waiting, inform them of the situation and how long it will be. Consider adjusting their fees by 5-10% if waiting over 20 minutes.
- Children receive their own Welcome Letter.
- Coffee for guests ready every morning with flavored creamers.
- Team members have family photos throughout the office.
- Give routinely…pain medication prescription.
- Offer your personal phone contact to guests who might need you post-operatively.
- Give all your attention to the guest in the chair.
- Have jumper cables for batteries that die.
- Do patient surveys routinely.
- Take pre- and post-operative photos and send them to guests at end of treatment.
What other ideas do you have to pamper your guests? Please share them below.
WOW! Recently I attended the 2012 Secret Service Summit here in Cleveland, Ohio. The focus of The DiJulius Group and this Summit is to change the world of business by creating a customer service revolution where building a service culture in your practice or business sets you apart from all other like or similar businesses.
By creating an environment where changing the mindset of the team members and elevating an organizations customer service is not an event or a flavor of the month, but rather the magic pill to operating a fun and profitable enterprise.
When we arrived, we had a number on our nametags that designated the table where we were to be seated for the Summit. It is always fun to meet new people and learn about their varied careers. Our table, #34, seated 6 and I had spent a lot of time with the five who were seated with me. About three minutes before the event was to begin, in walks an elderly gentleman with a big smile on his face and a plate of warm cinnamon bread that he had brought just for our table.
This man melted our hearts as he described how he likes to do this on a regular basis for the stylists at John Roberts Spa and wanted to do the same thing for his new friends. Amazingly, Mr. Larry Gould is an 86-year-old life insurance advisor who had more energy and wisdom than any of us combined.
Mr. Gould modeled Secret Service by providing “surprise & delight” when totally unexpected. This elegant man represented the best of delivering service.
Customer’s expectations of service are so low that today businesses, particularly service-oriented dental businesses, have a unique opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. I believe there has never been a more opportune time for service-savvy dental practices to exceed the patient’s expectations by delivering a memorable experience.
In my previous post I shared how Tim Hrouda, from NITELIGHTS of Cleveland, demonstrated the value and power of exceeding expectations. This newsletter is read by over 1,100 readers, think of how his over-and-above service example is being seen by more than just the homeowner. Why not use this same approach with your patients? Touch them in ways that they will become your biggest ambassadors for your business.
Why not take your next team meeting and brainstorm how you can create your practices’ EXPERIENTIAL STANDARDS where you identify specific behaviors that positively touch the emotions of your patients. These would be activities you would deliver to your patients on a persistently consistent basis. They are non-negotiable!
Touch your patients like this and you will have all the referrals you need.
Do you have a story about a business that went above-and-beyond to provide service excellence? I would love to hear it in the comments below, or on my Facebook page.
Nine years ago I had NITELIGHTS of Cleveland install accent lighting around my home. It’s been a fantastic investment by adding to the beauty of the property and adding to safety in the evenings. Perhaps every three years I call them to order replacement bulbs and they respond by personally delivering to my home.
Recently we had a power surge from a nasty storm that “goobed” up the system and controls. After repeated failed attempts to fix the problem myself, I called Tim Hrouda, one of the owners, who took my call. I said to him: “Tim, I need your help.” His reply:
“Of course I can. The answer is YES. What do you need?”
Whoa…that is not what I typically hear when I call a company I’ve done business with AFTER an installation and require some follow-up service…particularly when the service was delivered nine years earlier!
He appeared at my doorstep in less than 24 hours and fixed my problem. And, he did it with the most positive attitude. As he was walking out the door, I asked him what the service fee would be. He looked at me with a huge smile on his face and replied: “No charge Dr. Ron. We appreciate kind and courteous clients like you. Hopefully you will tell your friends and family about our company.” Whoa again! A totally unexpected service experience and delivered with panache.
Tim and his company serve as example of service excellence and how to make the customer feel special.
If we invest in ourselves, why don’t we give our clients the opportunity to invest in themselves?
Every year I invest a substantial amount of time, effort and money keeping my dental license active and maintaining my Master Certified Coach designation in good stead in order to maintain my credibility to my coaching clients.
No matter whether I’m attending an International Coach Federation meeting or a state or national dental meeting, the conversation with folks inevitably gets around to my unique career and, soon after, I find myself engaged in lengthy and interesting conversations as they often are looking for insights to challenges facing them in their lives and practices.
Shortly after I explain that I work with talented dentists who would rather be in control of their practices rather than the practice controlling them and what that means for them is they lead more, manage less, and make more money in less time, all the while reducing stress and having more time to spend with family and outside interests, I often hear these kinds of responses:
- “I don’t need that.”
- “My practice is doing great already.”
- “Do you think you can help me with that?”
- “That sounds like a lot of work!”
- “Oh yea, I’ve worked with lots of consultants.”
- “Hmmm, maybe that is something I should consider.”
All of this is comes as a result of a recent visit I had with a dental practice who took the attitude that in today’s economy, most people don’t want to invest in their oral health. As a result, the practice is struggling, the team is in chaos, and the doctor is unhappy and going broke.
What advise would you have offered this dentist?
P.S. I’m not a consultant…I’m a professionally trained coach. When I explained the difference, he looked like a deer in the headlights.
As I mentioned in a recent blog post, one of your not-so Secret Weapons to setting your practice so distinctively apart from all the others in your community is to incorporate personal note writing into your daily marketing initiatives. They are fun to do, INEXPENSIVE, one of the most personalized connections you can establish with your guests to your practice, and the ROI is huge.
When I speak with the majority of dentists and their team, I hear similar comments:
- “We don’t have time now for another thing to do.”
- “We’re already too busy.”
- “That’s a waste of time.”
- or here’s a good one, “Well I need to be sincere before I do that.”
All disguises for laziness and inattention!
Creating a simple system of sending daily personal correspondence will serve to be one of your best relationship builders in your practice.
You and your team will convey a message to your patients that you care enough about them to take the time and recognize them as an individual who is important to the practice. A handwritten note tells the recipient that they were on your mind and that you value the relationship. If only 0.7% of all mail is personal letters, you will stand out among the crowd as unique and different and caring.
How can you find a more cost-effective, heart-felt, and incredibly personalized way to grow your practice while having fun all at the same time? Here are a few tips to help you set up your simple and measurable system of recognizing guests to your business:
- Discuss with the team the high priority you are placing on staying personally connected with your guests. Create your Vision!
- Expect each team member to hand write and mail out at least 2 notes per week to establish your goal. Measure it weekly.
- Have one team member be the leader of this project.
- Create a small office logotype stationary that will enable all to send off short and quick notes.
- When you write, focus on a positive event, thought, or idea related to that guest.
- Have plenty of notes handy throughout the office and each team member should have a stash to take home for when they think of someone outside the office.
- The power of the success lies in its sincerity.
Taking time to do handwritten notes may feel like a struggle, but the benefits can be huge. If you are looking for something that makes your dental practice stand out, this small, inexpensive detail will set you apart. A note to say “I appreciate you” or “I enjoyed my time with you today” or “Thank you for being a great patient” or “Happy Birthday” or even “Just because” demonstrates that you want to give your patients the personal service that they are so hungry for.
I was saddened by an article in USA Today reporting, “Americans say they love to receive mail, yet send less and less of it.” Even more startling, the Postal Service reported almost two months pass before the average household receives a personal letter AND only 4% of household mail comes from another household!
You may ask why I would discuss this seemingly innocuous topic – personally written letters?
- Sending AND receiving them have all the ingredients to make you feel good.
- It will make your business more successful.
When was the last time you received a handwritten acknowledgement, a “just because” or “thank you” note in the mail from a friend, patient or even a family member? For many of us it has been so long we can’t remember.
Of all the mail delivered by the US Postal service only 0.7% are personal letters!
Yea, I know…in our revved-up and increasingly desensitized world of e-mails, blogs, voicemails, smart phones, texts, tweets, mobile GPS, and even instant messages, the path of least resistance is to thank or acknowledge someone electronically, or not at all. I also hear people tell me that writing notes takes too much time, they are too busy or that they are a waste of time.
Tell the truth. How do you feel when you receive a handwritten note of acknowledgement or recognition from someone? Bored or uninterested? Too busy to read it? I doubt it. If you are like most, you are internally excited to know that someone was moved enough to make an effort to express themselves and they had to invest some positive time and effort to do so. Aren’t you feeling the same anticipation for your recipient when you send a note?
My fear is that the effort in sending handwritten notes is a lost art. We’ve forgotten how much a nice note means to someone. I believe a handwritten “thank you” or acknowledgement note is an elegant and inexpensive way to show appreciation to someone.
I don’t know about you yet I smile with anticipation as I approach my mailbox every day looking for a personal communication. When I see an envelope that doesn’t look like a bill, advertisement, periodical, or another dental journal, I excitedly open the envelope and pull out the note card. It feels great. I can’t really explain why, yet it just does.
The mailed personal correspondence is such a sensory experience. When we write or read a letter, it is like visiting with someone.
I believe one of life’s pleasures is to get a handwritten note. I can never get enough of them and I personally love sending them liberally, so much so that I have a goal of sending 2-4 personal notes every day. When was the last time you sent or received a personal note? I would love to hear from you in the comments below, or on my Facebook page.
If you listen to the media, read the dental journals, or watch the evening news, we are bombarded with negative news: how things are terrible, the plight of dental businesses, and the list goes on and on and on. While there is no doubt there is a “White Elephant” in the room, the biggest room in the house is the room for improvement. Many avoid that room because it requires effort. Most people do only what they are required to do, but successful people do a little more. Case in point, one of my clients, Dr. Alex Della Bella and his team recently comppleted their 2nd BEST month ever in practice, falling short of their all-time best by only $150.
The Della Bella team decided not to buy into the negative rhetoric and focused on the approach that, when obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you don’t change your decision to get there. They focused on the Four Season’s customer service model.
What made the month particularly special was what Dr. Della Bella did to acknowledge his team. He gathered his team around him and presented each with a fresh rose and an explanation of the unique contribution made by each individual. They all sighed excitedly and thanked him for this kind gesture.
When they thought he was done, he reached into his right pocket and pulled out a fresh $100 bill for team members and, again, acknowledged their contributions. They jumped for joy, as this was a totally unexpected gift. He then headed for the door, while the team was celebrating. As he strolled out, he looked back, as though he had forgotten to say something, and then reached into his other pocket and pulled out six additional fresh $100 bills and passed them out to each team member. The team response was euphoric.
What is the message we can take from Dr. Della Bella and his team?
Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable!
Recently I delivered a presentation to the Cleveland Coach Federation: How To HUG Your Clients…Really and Metaphorically. While doing my preparation and research, I discovered the following statistics:
- Every human being needs four HUGS per day merely to survive.
- Eight HUGS per day to maintain oneself at a strong emotional level.
- Twelve HUGS per day to grow and become a better person.
Remember hugs do not have to be physical. They can be metaphorical. Examples might include:
- Asking “How can I help you?”
- A “Thank You”
- A supportive smile
- A kind word
A HUG can be anything else you could do to make a person feel good about him or herself. Hugging is healthy, non-fattening, has no moving parts to repair, cures depression, and is fully returnable! Although HUGS are free, they are worthless if they are never given. Whom can you hug today?
How can you make your patients/clients/guests/family members, and friends feel better about themselves? Please share with me some of your ideas to metaphorically HUG your customers in the comments below.