Customer service is arguably the most important aspect of any business. The art of finding that balance between professionalism and adding your personality to a conversation.
Before a career change to Hive Business, I previously worked within the hospitality and retail industry for years. This helped me to learn a thing or two about customer service, what the client wants, needs and expects from you; predicting their desires before they voice them always gets you bonus points too.
Customer service is a vital skill which can be transferred to any job role. I urge you to ensure all staff members within your practice (even the ones not so forward-facing,) are trained to be a ‘people(s) person,’ to ensure anyone who works at your practice is representing your brand at all times.
The key components to providing a high level of customer service are:
1. The classic ‘service with a smile’ –
Showing a bit of teeth can never do wrong (especially in Dentistry!) Whether you’re front and centre dealing with patients at reception or speaking to them on the phone, a friendly face and a smile can only create positivity. It may feel a little odd smiling to yourself when you answer the phone, however from experience, this definitely gets noticed from the other end and inevitably puts you in a cheery helpful mood.
2. Listening –
It is not always essential to provide a solution straight away. Often, at the TCO workshop, people will say that they can’t give advice as they’re not dentists. Quite right but by your TCO listening to a patient’s issues and showing a range of relevant treatments you offer, it helps build a rapport. It is so important that a patient feels heard and that their opinion is valued; listening to your patient also builds a level of confidence and trust. This is a vital skill, which works both ways – not only are you hearing your patient’s personal thoughts and experiences, but you are also opening up to methods of improvement. Hear what they have to say and work on it. Remember a happy patient is a retained patient.
3. Communication, communication, communication –
Arguably the most important aspect of customer service. Communication is more than just speaking clearly and politely, it is more than just hearing a client, it is understanding them and articulating an appropriate response. Good communication equals a good relationship. Different patients require different communication techniques. You always need to remain professional, however, it is inevitable that some patients will want a purely professional experience, whereas others will appreciate a more personal vibe – read the patient and bounce off of them.
It is important to know which methods to use for communicating information to patients. For example, if your TCO is firing off emails, encourage them to pick up the phone and speak to people. Often, people are worried that it’s bothering people but if someone enquires about a treatment you need it followed up in the best way to ensure a conversion.
4. Build trust –
Acknowledgement is vital to ensure a solid bond between you and your patient; taking your interaction beyond the walls of business and showing an interest in them personally, without overstepping the boundary lines. Build a rapport and find that balance to safeguard your approachability. How many times have you had a nervous or anxious dental patient? Building that level of trust is guaranteed to put their mind at ease and enhance their overall dental experience with you.
From the moment a patient approaches your practice, your customer service skills should set in; they have done the hard part of reaching out and providing your business with the opportunity of their custom, from then on, it’s in your hands. From the first phone call arranging an appointment to when the client physically enters your practice, the interaction from the clinician and how you part ways at the end, it should be a pleasant and smooth experience from start to finish.
A bad customer service experience stays with an individual inevitably forever and is passed onto friends, family and colleagues; it has a fast and detrimental effect on any business. When Luc experienced poor customer service, he told everyone, so make sure your patients don’t feel like they’re walking into VW!
Put simply, customer service done right equals success and satisfaction on both ends. If you need help with your sales process or your staff development, get in touch.