I always like to keep abreast of Customer Service trends out there in the business marketplace, and see in which ways they can be relevant to the practice of great dentistry.
Those of you who know me and have seen me speak know that I’ve adapted many non-dental concepts and applied them successfully to the business of dentistry.
This is how I was able to build a high fee, high grossing Dental practice in a working class part of Sydney, having customers come not only from my local area but from all over Sydney and New South Wales, and from Overseas…. because we were different.
We had a point of differentiation that set our Dental Office apart not only from other Dentists but also a point of differentiation that set us above other businesses as well.
As I write this today, I reflect sadly on the demise of Dick Smith Electronics [DSE], a local Australian retail chain of electrical goods and technology stores, that is about to be wound up, because of falling sales.
On our television news last night, a commentator said that DSE did not have a point of differentiation that set them aside in the market place, nor did they offer a unique product to separate them from their competitors.
Finally he said there was no “experience”, no “WOW’, when shopping at Dick Smith Electronics.
And so sadly, we’ll see the end of Dick Smith Electronics this week it seems….
With that thought in mind I’d like to share another great article from Customer Service Guru Shep Hyken that came across my desk this week.
In it, Shep talks about five trends from 2015 that we need to grasp as we move forward to ensure our businesses maintain relevance with our customers and our marketplace.
Here they are:
1. Your customers are smarter than ever before. When it comes to customer service, they know the difference between good and bad service. They not only compare you to others in your industry, but also others outside of your industry.
This is the truth. No longer are our patients, our customers just lining up for treatment, opening their mouths, and then opening their wallets.
Our patients are now educated consumers.
Twenty to twenty five percent of the population will choose a service or product and not care what the competition charges.
They’ll make their choice solely upon the experience and the service they receive at that place of business, be it a hair salon, a restaurant, a dry cleaner, a travel agent.
And a dentist.
If we are able to craft a journey of experience for our clients, they will compare our service we provide to other great services they have experienced.
And if we fail to do so, we fail our patients.
And they will take their business elsewhere…
2. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to have self-service customer service as an option. Your customers will always have questions. Make it easy for them to find the answers. Post a Frequently Asked Question section on your website. Post YouTube videos that answer questions that your customers might have.
I tell my team we’re not in the Dental Business.
We’re in the Problem Solving Business, specifically Dental Problems.
When the phone rings, it is not a “Shopper Call” looking for the best price.
It is someone who we have not yet met who has researched us online and decided that they want us to be their Dentist.
The person calling is a person with a specific Dental problem.
Our job is to solve their problem.
Our job is to convince that caller that they have indeed made the correct decision, and that our practice is the only Dental practice for them.
3. Social media and customer service belong together. Engaging with your customers on social channels is part of the customer experience. Don’t fight it. Take advantage of it. It is imperative that you watch and listen for comments, both good and bad, and respond to them.
Your customers, and prospective customers are looking for your social media presence, and they judge your relevance based upon this.
By this I mean that if your practice Facebook page is up to date with regular postings both social and professional, then the public will believe by association, that your Dental skills and competencies are also up to date.
And if you do not have a relevant Social Media presence, then your patients and prospective patients will infer that you are behind the times.
4. Smart phones are getting smarter and smarter. Make sure you are mobile-ready and taking advantage of the smart phone revolution. It is the device customers are using to connect with you and your company. They are looking at your website, your products, descriptions, reviews, and more.
Again, use technology to your advantage.
I love to grab my phone to look things up on the web. And it frustrates me immensely if I have to stretch a website on my phone because it’s not been set up mobile-friendly.
Just as in point 3 above, this failure to be mobile-friendly is indicating to your customers that you are behind the times.
5. The handwritten thank you note will never lose relevance. A good old-fashioned thank you note will make you stand out. Thanking your customer from a thoughtful and personal mindset makes your customers truly feel appreciated. Don’t miss this opportunity to add a positive “moment” to your customers’ experience.
Everybody loves a surprise.
And in this day and age of email and SMS text messages, a good old-fashioned handwritten hand-addressed letter is a real treat to receive in the post.
Who is it from?
What could it be?
Anybody can punch out an email.
But by sending a handwritten card, it shows you’ve taken the time to share a thought, or a moment, with them.
And that’s truly rare in this day and age.
And it’s a point of difference.
Be different, and be relevant in 2016.
Otherwise you’ll simply be invisible….
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The Ultimate Patient Experience is 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a customer service expert, hall-of-fame speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. He works with organizations to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus, a customer service training program that helps organizations develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset. For more information contact (314) 692-2200 or www.Hyken.com
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