Exceptional Customer Service in Your Dental Office
Weave a commitment to customer service into the fabric of your organizational culture
I recently read an article in Forbes magazine on customer service. The article notes that “Customer service is not a department. It is a philosophy to be embraced by every employee – from the CEO to the most recently hired.” We couldn’t agree more. All employees in your dental clinic should understand the importance of customer service and patient experience to the success of the clinic—and ultimately their job security.
You can increase your chances of customer service success by hiring people with the right attitude.
Why almost half of new hires don’t work out
Leadership IQ conducted a study on new hires across different companies and identified the areas in which new employees fell short. They found that 89% of the areas in which the new employees were deficient were related soft skills—coach-ability, emotional intelligence, motivation, and temperament. So, screening for those skills is critical, particularly in a small organization.
Screening for customer service skills
You may think that if a job candidate is enthusiastic, warm, and friendly that they will necessarily be great with customer service. This is not necessarily the case. Though all of those qualities are good to have, the individual also needs to able to listen to and tune in to each customer to get a sense of what approach will work best for that person. To get a sense of that, you may want to ask questions such as the following:
- Tell me about a time you had to deal with an unhappy customer (or patient).
An article by indeed.com suggests that you also ask questions such as:
- Tell me what customer service means to you.
- Tell me about a time you were able to turn a dissatisfied customer into a happy one.
Look for responses that show that the candidate understands the importance of customer service and that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t the best way to satisfy patients. Also see if they mention being able to keep calm and not take dissatisfaction personally.
Integrate a focus on customer service into your on-boarding process
When we on-board new employees*, most of us tend to focus exclusively on getting the new team member up to speed on routine day-to-day tasks and learning new software. We should also be communicating a significant emphasis on customer service. Provide your new dental staff member with a written description of your mission, values, and standards for customer service. Let staff know that patient satisfaction ratings are reviewed as part of the employee evaluation process.
Train your dental clinic staff in customer service
Training can play a key role in equipping your staff to exceptional customer service.
Equip staff with scripts that they should tweak to make them their own. Scripts for common dental office reception interactions can help ensure consistent high-quality customer service. But staff shouldn’t just read the scripts. They need to make the scripts their own and deliver the messages sounding natural and sincere.
Provide checklist for steps to take to ensure a stellar new patient experience. New patients are like gold. You want everyone on your dental office team to be at the top of their game during those initial patient visits.
Enroll all dental clinic staff in online courses. Customer services courses that review key principles, recommended language, and how to handle common dental office reception situations can be highly effective. Providing access to courses that help them understand different communication styles can also be transformative in improving their rapport with different types of patients.
Are you interested in short, practical, interactive online courses for your dental clinic team? We invite you to explore the following courses below that are designed specifically for dental office staff.
- Conveying a Welcoming, Professional Image
- Providing Exceptional Customer Service
- Ensuring an Excellent New Patient Experience
- Handling Common Patient Interactions Optimally
- Introduction to Leveraging Communication Styles
- HR Skills for Practice Managers: People–Recruitment & On-boarding*