You, as a dental professional, are a service provider and are therefore subject to certain expectations set by their patients. However, it is important to keep in mind that some customer service myths have been burned into our brains, ones we feel we have to strictly follow. Below are seven of those common myths debunked.
Myth 1: The customer is always right.
Truth: As a dental professional, you are trained to know more than your patient; however, the trick is to never tell your patient they’re wrong, but instead politely provide other options to satisfy them. The way to build and maintain relationships with your patients is by creating a win-win situation in which both parties walk away satisfied; and, the only way to effectively discover what your patient really wants is by utilizing active listening skills.
Myth 2: So long as customer needs are met, you’ve done the job well.
Truth: Building strong relationships with your patients requires you to acknowledge their feelings from the first interaction to the very last. It encompasses the whole experience, including surroundings and environment, tone of voice, extra facilities, availability, and the speed of your service. Just keep in mind that the little things do matter.
Myth 3: Few customer complaints means our service is satisfactory.
Truth: The only way to discover what’s going wrong is to allow your patients to comment and complain. The numbers speak for themselves as “Less than twenty-five percent of customers actually complain even if there is an issue that needs to be addressed, and seventy-ninety percent don’t bother.” It is important to let your patients know that their opinions matter—even the bad ones. The only way to improve and advance is by discovering the issues and improving on them.
Myth 4: Marketing and Advertising is most important.
Truth: The costs are higher when you have to advertise to gain new patients than to retain a loyal patient base that will keep coming back. Pouring all your money into marketing and advertising rarely gives good results. Keep your current patients happy, pay attention to their concerns and give them a reason to come back. By doing this, you are advertising without spending a cent just by good word-of-mouth alone.
Myth 5: The term “good customer service” means the same thing to everyone.
Truth: Here’s the big secret (really not a secret): Everyone is different. No one has the same fears or concerns and we all want different things and have different expectations of our dental professionals. It’s important to be attentive to the individual needs of your patients and ask questions to better understand their expectations and how you and your team can meet them.
Myth 6: More comments and complaints means lower profits.
Truth: This comes back to how you are affecting your patients. Complaints aren’t irreversible and sometimes they are simply aspects to consider refining. Receiving less complaints and comments does not necessarily mean you’re making no mistakes. In a world where perfection is impossible to achieve, you have to accept that some of your patients might not like everything about your practice. Just remember that all comments and complaints are a perfect way to let your patients know that you’re listening and willing to improve.
Myth 7: Exceeding customer expectations every time will guarantee customer loyalty.
Truth: The truth is that your patients want ease and efficiency not flashy gimmicks and constant unwanted attention. The biggest issues all dental professionals need to focus on are the ones that will result in disloyalty, such as patients having to call multiple times, repeating information, getting transferred, and getting road blocked by disorganization in the office. Keep in mind that your patients are people too and they just want to get back to their lives as soon as possible.
Are there any more myths you can think of? What tips can you suggest to guarantee patient loyalty? Feel free to leave us your comments. We’d love to hear from you!