One of the *Always and Nevers* that we used at my Dental Practice was that we never pointed or directed. We always showed the questioner and led them exactly to where they needed to go.
Be they patients, or be they team members.
Our response was always the same.
It’s exactly the same at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Walt Disney realised at a very early stage in the development of these theme parks that there would always be guests who were lost or unsure of directions who would seek out and need guidance.
Rather than have someone point or describe the directions to wherever the guests were wanting to go, Disney made sure that all cast members
would have the ability to take the guests to their destination.
What Disney found was that the category of employee that guests sort most directions from were the park cleaners and litter collectors, and so it was vital that these cast members were trained to add value to the guests’ visits whenever they were called upon for directions. It would not be good for the Park if guests were made to feel as if their directional enquiry was a serious and unwanted interruption to the duties of the employee that they asked.
In a similar manner, I am now noticing when I ask at more and more retail stores and grocery outlets that the employees are now leading me to the product that I am in search of rather than simply just telling me that it’s in Aisle Six next to the eggs.
It is such a pleasure to be treated in this First Class manner rather than to be given some vague direction and then have to head off in hope that your latent pirate instincts will guide you safely towards your sought after destination.
How many times has the opposite sort of “care” happened to you when you’ve made an enquiry at a business?
I bet there’s been times when an employee at a business has left you with the feeling that you have asked the dumbest question ever?
And that they have insinuated that you are so stupid that you shouldn’t be out without your carer?
It’s not a very nice feeling…
The line that I despise most in this situation is
“I wouldn’t have a clue”
It’s not an answer that you would expect to receive from an employee when you seek a direction, but it is sadly, an answer that is often given when information is sought.
This reply is about as unhelpful as you could get, I guess.
It’s a parallel to:
“I have no idea.”
And it ranks up there with:
“I’ve never heard of it/that/them/him/her”
These three phrases should be struck out of the vocabulary of all employees.
Instead, when an employee does not know the answer, they should respond:
“You know, I’m not sure about that, but let me go and find out right now for you”
This answer shows that the employee is a problem solver.
Whereas the three responses before only serve to cut off and end the conversation with a tone of:
“I really don’t give a hoot”
What do you want your team to be known for?
Do you want them to be known as problem solvers?
Or do you want them to be known as unhelpful and uncaring?
The reactions of your patients and the feelings they are made to feel to these varied responses make all the difference in how your clients, customers and patients perceive your practice as being of service to them.
It doesn’t matter how many implant society awards you have if your team members are being abrasive with your patients.
I’ve seen the dental businesses of some of the best clinicians and educators in the world suffer irreparable damage as the result of having untrained and uncaring employees dealing with their valued customers.
And who wants to be known for that?
In 1998 I had an employee who was so rude to my patients that they were leaving in droves.
When we moved her on to another employment opportunity, and replaced her with a people person, my business skyrocketed.
What’s going on at your business?
How are your team members speaking to your patients?
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