One of the worst things that a business can do is not keep their clients informed as to what exactly is going on.
At a dental practice, the thing that infuriates patients waiting to be seen by a dentist is that their appointment does not begin on time and the patient is not told any reason as to why their dentist is running behind schedule.
I’ve seen new patients get up and walk out of a dental practice BEFORE THEIR APPOINTMENT because they had waited too long without anybody from the dental practice informing them or apologising to them for the delay in them being seen.
It’s just common sense, really…. just a few words of explanation from a team member to the waiting patient, or better still, the dentist themselves could come out to speak with the patient…. all of this would easily placate the anxious patient and set their mind at ease.
Customers change where they choose to business if they feel unappreciated or they feel ignored or if they feel that they are being taken for granted.
A small amount of conversation wrapped around a caring and sincere explanation can go a long way towards building a solid relationship based on mutual respect.
I remember one Monday morning in April, sweating it out in an operatory trying to surgically remove a rotten molar and watching time escape me… and a long-term patient waiting in our client lounge simply stood up and walked out without explanation.
When I phoned him later that day to find out what happened, he verbally abused me. Because the television in the client lounge was broadcasting the golf from Augusta, the patient assumed [incorrectly] that instead of treating him on time, I was in my office watching the golf on the TV.
And because nobody from my practice had informed this patient as to the reason I was running behind, the waiting patient simply put the available evidence together into an incorrect assumption, and then hung me out to dry with his verdict.
My mistake was that I did not empower my team members to keep the waiting patient informed.
Similarly, when the phone rings at your dental office and you’re not in a position to spend time with the caller, it’s a very wise decision to still introduce yourself, then find out who’s calling and the reason for their call, before COURTEOUSLY asking the caller for permission to either place their call on hold, or ask them for their number and arrange a time to call the caller back.
Sadly, these sorts of COMMON SENSE behaviours from business owners and from employees aren’t all that common…
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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.
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