Customer Service: Going Above and Beyond

Like most entrepreneurs, dentists are constantly trying to get new clients in the door.  In some cases, they roll out the red carpet and blow them away with incredible customer service in the initial appointment, but what happens in a year or two?  Is the customer experience still the same as day one? How do you continue to impress your patients with every visit to create constant raving fans for your practice?

Define Customer Service for All

Customer service is defined in the dictionary but carries different meanings for different audiences.  There are really three different groups in your practice when it comes to providing and experiencing exceptional customer service:

  • Your definition as the business owner – What do you envision to be excellent service? What does that look like?  How is a new client being treated?  How is a loyal existing client being treated?
  • Your team’s definition – What would they say is great customer service? Is it different from your definition? Ask them.
  • Your client’s viewpoint – What wows them and is that something you’re willing to do?

If you want to deliver exceptional customer service, you need to know what it means to each group.  Then,  consider certain aspects of customer service that you simply cannot meet.  For example, a fee for service office cannot accept assignment. So, am I delivering bad customer service if I don’t accept insurance?

Figure out what you want and are willing to do to bring in clients that are a match to your vision.  Attract the patients that are a fit for you, that you want to bring in.  Spend the money, resources, and time attracting those types of patients.  It may sound like a difficult process but in the end, it will save you money, time, aggravation and stress.

Customers Aren’t Always Right!

It was the founder of Selfridge’s department store, Harry Selfridge, who said, “The customer is always right,” and I can say with confidence that I absolutely DISagree with him.  The customer is NOT always right.   When addressing many complaints, the customer is often wrong.  Relationships in life, and in business must be a WIN-WIN.  If the client wins but I lose, then that is not a good relationship and I don’t want to work with that client moving forward.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are times that we must make concessions to make things right, but overall a balance must be achieved and both parties have to WIN in order for a relationship to continue unencumbered.  So, customer service, at least for me, includes me.

Change the Changeable

Consultants are always harping about the first touchpoint; trying to change it and often even script it. I really don’t spend much time on this.  When a new patient calls, I expect my receptionist to be friendly. It is that simple. Kindly get my patients in the door. I am not spending time or money changing this point of contact at the beginning because, and think about it, when are you going to see the difference to your bottom line based on this? To see impactful change now, improve what you offer, impress your loyal patients that are in your practice now, that are coming to see you today.  Look for ways to make their experience better in areas they will see right away and share with others.

UPB Dental Academy sees optimizing the hygiene experience as the single most important area for positive and immediate change in dental practices. Our Ultimate Hygiene Program provides insight, processes and tools to help you plan and implement customer service initiatives that can quickly impact your bottom line. For more, check us out at