Customer Service Commitment: A Crucial Element
Many health care providers wince when they hear their patients described as customers. But, the bald truth is that dental patients are precisely that–consumers. And they have high expectations. Are you and all of your employees doing everything possible to provide stellar customer service to your patients? If not, a lack of emphasis in this area may be impacting your bottom line. Attracting new patients and retaining existing patients are vital components of a dental practice’s financial health. In this increasingly competitive field, you want glowing patient satisfaction ratings.
All dental clinic staff needs customer service orientation.
When you think of customer service, do you consider dental office reception staff? Providing stellar customer service is a must for both clinical and non-clinical staff. Every single patient interaction counts.
A good illustration of this need is the following negative online review of a dental clinic I recently saw.
“The hygienist and dental assistant carried on a lively conversation with each other while working in my mouth. They completely ignored me! I felt like I was invisible and just ‘a mouth’ not attached to a human being. I also worried that they weren’t 100% focused on the work they were doing and could hurt me or screw something up. Definitely, I won’t be going back there.”
Of course, doctor-patient exchanges are crucial as well.
What patients want from their doctor
A Stanford Medicine blog post on bedside manner noted that “A study from Healthgrades and Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) analyzed seven million patient reviews and comments about health care providers. This Patient Sentiment Report found that over 52 percent of patients stated that they wanted their doctor to have at least one of the following qualities: compassion, comfort, patience, personality, and bedside manner.”
A Forbes Article quoted the chief medical officer for Healthgrades by publishing his words, “Patients don’t just want to see a doctor; they want to be seen.” He went on to add that patients who feel that they have a meaningful connection with their doctor are more likely to follow instructions. You can imagine the impact this can have on treatment acceptance.
The power of negative reviews
A review posted by a visitor to the Great Wall of China:
“I don’t see the hype in this place. It’s really run down and old … why wouldn’t you update something like this? No USB plug-ins or outlets anywhere.”
Really? This is the person’s reaction to the Great Wall?! A New York Times article explains that people are “dramatically influenced by negative reviews” despite the fact that those reviews are often not credible. Some are downright ridiculous. But, despite this, human beings tend to pay more attention to negative reviews.
Dental office reception staff make the first impression.
You know the old adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Well, your front office staff are the dental team members who shoulder that responsibility. They have the first phone conversation with patients and are the first to welcome new patients on their arrival to your clinic. You want to make sure that they are on point. Also, take a look at your front office area through a patient’s eyes. Is it neat, organized, and welcoming?
Why customer service training is essential
Our natural default reactive responses to threats have ancient roots. Someone gets angry, and we respond with a heated response or try to avoid that person. It’s a modern version of the fight or flight response. Training helps your staff to override that automatic response. Targeted training also boosts the confidence of your team members in handling patient interactions.
Would you like to learn more on customer service for dental teams? Check our patient experience courses ready to take your team to a different customer service level or explore our practical, online courses catalog.
About NGT Academy
We are one of the very few turnkey-Learning Management System providers that specializes in the dental industry. Currently, with a library of more than 30 courses created for dental teams, our eLearning platform is one of the easiest to use. Simultaneously, eLearning typically costs at least 30% less than conventional training making for a truly efficient solution for your dental organization.