I’ve always been an advocate for the mantra that all of our patients deserve our full and undivided attention each and every time that they visit our dental office.
On top of that, that undivided attention needs to be given, and shown, whether the appointment time is first thing in the morning, or just before lunchtime, or worse even, last patient for the week on Friday afternoon.
Each patient is paying the same fee and therefore, because you are not offering a concession for appointments where less attention is given, then the patient must be the recipient of the same level of attention that you give to those patients in appointment times of less distraction.
As an addition to this, the dental team must also always be offering full and total attention to each and every one of the clients of the dental office.
What the team must not be doing is sending blind or seriously at fault messages to the customers that their mind is somewhere else, and that they too, would also rather be elsewhere.
Comments of this nature are far from appropriate.
These comments are a huge negative to the patient, who may have chosen to drag themselves out of bed early to attend to this urgent tooth, or similarly, the patient may have raced across town at the speed of light to attend your office for this vital treatment.
Likewise, clients attending just before our lunch have probably surrendered valuable business time to attend, and are expecting a commitment from those charged with the duty of administering dental equipment and instruments into their mouths.
So let’s discuss those *Forbidden* subjects that our dental team must never use to initiate a conversation with our valued clients and patients.
The use of these topics by any of your team members shows a complete lack of commitment to the *cause* of the dental office.
The Cause of being the most caring Dental Office in town.
Similarly, too, when patients and clients lead with a forbidden topic, a skilled and dedicated team member can immediately deflect the comment to gather a more pertinent subject. And I’ll discuss the how of that later….
Forbidden Topic #1.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
The weather is not a topic on the agenda.
The following are inane comments about the weather that mean nothing, naught and zero.
Should these comments be uttered by your team members then it is your duty to escort that team member to the door and provide them with directions to the closest employment agency.
So lets see those comments:
“I can’t believe how hot/cold/rainy/dry its been today/this week etc.….”
“What sort of day is it outside?”
“I hope it doesn’t rain on the weekend….”
The weather is the weather.
It can’t be changed. Not by force. Not by hope.
It is what it is.
Comments about the weather are pointless.
Respond to the weather. But don’t discuss it like you can influence it.
Just deal with it as best that you know how…and don’t let bad weather beat you up!!
Forbidden Topic #2.
Time is a constant.
First and foremost, it cannot be changed.
It is what it is.
Time moves at the same pace no matter what. It will always be what it always has been.
So which comments about time should we not use in the dental office?
“I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas already.”
“I can’t believe how quickly the year has flown”
“The day’s/week’s gone so quickly….”
Like I said, time is a constant. A minute today takes exactly the same amount of time to pass as a minute took to pass one week ago, one month ago…. etc. etc.!
Forbidden Topic #2a.
On a related matter, you just need to NEVER EVER discuss your dislike or characterisation of any particular time of the week.
As I stated at the beginning, every patient pays for and deserves your one hundred percent best that you can give.
So comments like:
“I’m not a morning person”
“Thank goodness it’s Friday”
“Hump Day Wednesday” and
“I’m so looking forward to the weekend”
These comments are indicators of less than full devotion to our craft. They are indications of distraction.
And if you’re working in my mouth, I definitely don’t want to hear them.
Forbidden Topic #3.
Someone says that they need a coffee?
And they’re going to be putting sharp instruments into my mouth, and they need coffee?
Not inspiring, sorry…Not at all.
The necessity to ingest a stimulant to survive or get through a period of time, be it a morning, a day, or an appointment, is of zero interest to our patients.
Or even dare I say it, negative interest.
Frankly, you may as well say you need a drink, or a cigarette, or a Red Bull.
If someone told me that they needed a coffee?
I’m up and out of there!! Not in my mouth you don’t!
The Art of Deflection.
So what should we do if one of our valued patients leads with an inane comment?
Should we join in?
And switch to the pointless and the useless?
Remembering, that in the provision of World Class Customer Service, one of our primary goals of conversation is the [discrete] collection, of secret data and pieces of information about the customer that we and the team can use at a later date to provide Above and Beyond and WOW! experiences.
Experiences that leave our patients saying:
“How on earth did they know that?” or
“How the heck did they remember that?”
And of course:
“Wow!! This Dental Office is like no other [business] that I have ever been to before!!”
So to deflect, if a client or patient makes or offers one of these *Forbidden* topics for conversation, the best way to steer the conversation is to say:
“Wow, Mrs. Smith. I’m sure you’ve got a reason for saying that?”
And be quiet.
Because Mrs. Smith will go right ahead and let you know, that she has an event coming up, or that she’s had a busy day or week, or that she’s not been feeling well….etc.
And then we’re straight into a conversation about them.
Of more meaning.
And more use.
And in the end, everybody loves to talk about themselves, don’t they?
Who wants to be boring?
Finally, for all of the customers and patients who make multiple visits for treatment to our office, we really do want to be talking about them, our patient, each and every time.
What we don’t want our customers saying about us is:
“Every time I go to that office all they talk about is the weather.”
Because it wouldn’t matter then how good our margins on our crowns are, or how nice everyone else in the office is…
The boring would defeat the other greatness in our office…
And that’s the point…
The art and skill of conversation is just one of the simple modules that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple to build complete Customer Service system 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
Did you like this blog article? If you did then hit the share buttons below and share it with your friends and colleagues. Share it via email, Facebook and twitter!!