In this post, I’m going to share a brief story that demonstrates how much we must always consider the impact of the people we choose to put in front of our clients – even if it’s us ံ– and the training or knowledge we all need to be as effective as possible.
These decisions will either create a tremendously positive impact on your practice reputation and customer experience – or … not so much.
I’ve met many of you over the years at trade shows. Like you I’ve also attended trade shows as part of a continuing education program but rarely do I have the opportunity to attend a show as simply a consumer interested in the topic of the exhibit – which is what I did this past weekend.
The experience ended up being an unfortunate reminder about how important it is to put our best foot forward – i.e. our best people in front of our clients! Never put people in front of your customers that don’t understand your goals, who your target audience is, and what that audience really wants and appreciates.
The exhibition I attended was a cottage show with a myriad of consumer and service goods including building and outdoor supplies, which I am quite interested in. I attended alone and I had the power to make any buying decision I wanted.
Here are the takeaways that dental offices should consider if they want to gain more quality new patients that trust them, accept treatment, and refer.
- Make sure frontline staff are engaged and trained. When a company representative is enthusiastic and focused on you, the customer, you feel good about that company. Their tone establishes much of the brand image you will then hold in your mind.
- Cull indifference. Nothing hurts a business more than an indifferent company representative. Not only are you less than motivated to work with that company, you change your mind about their brand reputation. As consumers, we have a lot of choice and don’t have to “settle”.
- Respect the power of women decision-makers. I bet you can recall a time when a company rep/waiter judged you incorrectly (remember Oprah and the oh so incorrect purse decision). The company suffers and only because the staff isn’t educated about the target market.
When it comes to successful dental marketing and attracting and retaining quality dental patients, these three items are critical.
Put your best foot forward with your best people and train them to the max. Ensure they understand how to support your business and help you achieve your goals. It’s always tough to say but you must not tolerate poor customer service at your dental practice, but the reality is it is your business. It’s your future. You know it’s already tough enough to break through consumer fears and reluctance, but when you add a hygienist who’s not the gentlest or an unresponsive receptionist you only push hard-won patients away.
Ensure your marketing and scripting are focused on your primary decision-makers, women.
Nothing can be more damaging to a brand. Years ago my Mom was shopping for a new car. I was mid 20’s, she was mid 50’s. We visited a local car dealership and she asked to see the white Cadillac in the parking lot. The gentleman rep told us he would show it to us when we came back with my Dad. Now it is 30 years later and my Mom still brings that experience up from time to time. Even back then it was surprising. Needless to say we did not buy or go back. I recently had to drive through that neighborhood and noted that the dealership sits empty and out of business. Ha! Yes, it’s wrong to feel that way but that’s the impact of a poor customer service experience – and a bozo that didn’t understand the buying power of women. My Mom did buy her white Cadillac, just not from him.
For my dentist and dental practice office manager readers … here are your takeaways:
- Your patients and prospective patients are consumers. They have choice. Be nice, be convenient, be knowledgeable, be helpful, and be speedy about it.
- Patients and prospects will respond positively – or negatively – based on staff attitude.
- People can perceive judgement. Get all the facts to avoid making the wrong call.
- Women make over 80% of all consumer purchases and over 90% of all healthcare purchases. Don’t overlook the female head-of-household decision-making power.
So, how does your team represent your practice? These people have a direct influence on how patients and prospective patients view your practice in your community. And it’s not just what they do when they’re in your office. Your staff most likely lives in the place they work. That means they are out and about in shops and at schools, and interact with your patients and prospects in many locations.
As the dental practice owner/manager, you can tip the scales in your favor by hiring the right people and giving them the tools and information they need to represent you well and to continually improve. These are your dental practice ambassadors.
Is your dental office challenged with a lack of repeat visits or scheduling patients in the first place? If these facets aren’t in place at your practice, and the scales are tipping in the wrong direction perhaps you should have a closer look.
Your Patient News account representative is a great resource for more information on how you can create the most positive and awesome experience for your dental patients – and while doing that you’ll create an energized practice environment and improve overall job satisfaction too!
Call your account representative for more information on how to arm your team with the tools they need to be killer practice ambassadors.
Here are some additional resources that may be of interest: