Last week my wife drove to the Mall to try to purchase Mother’s Day gift cards for our daughter and two daughters in law. Her destination was an upscale boutique cosmetics store where she had shopped many times before. To her disbelief, she discovered that the store had closed. Undaunted, she went next door into Macy’s where they sold these cosmetics, and asked to buy a gift card for the particular product she was seeking. “I’m sorry,” said the sales clerk, “we can’t do that–I can only sell you a Macy’s gift card.”
My wife then went to Nordstrom at the other end of the Mall. The salesperson at the cosmetic counter had a different response when asked about the gift cards. “We can only do a Nordstrom gift card–but I’m going to put five small samples of the product with each gift card so that your daughters will know exactly what you are trying to do.” That Nordstrom employee scored a nice sale by being creative and understanding the need of the customer. Of course, Nordstrom customer service is legendary - no surprise there. The Macy’s saleswoman said “No.” The person working at Nordstrom figured out a way to say “Yes”.
I believe this tale is relevant for everyone who works in your dental practice – but especially so for the staff members who answer the phone. Whomever is answering the telephone at your office just might be the most important person in your employ. She creates the first image in the patient’s memory bank. She is the face and the voice of the practice. Her job is to figure out how to never say no to a patient. Rather, she should say “The best way I can help you is…” Eight words. Memorize them.
Getting new patients in the door promptly and keeping the schedule full requires great communication skills, understanding of customer service, knowing how to make people feel special, and a recognition that you will do whatever it takes to make things work out for the patient. How can I help you get what you want? How can I make visiting our office convenient for you?
When people are happy, they tell others, and you will certainly be rewarded for your efforts. In this day and age, patients have options, and patients have choices where to have their dental treatment. In order to be sure that the dentistry gets done in YOUR office, you need to routinely go above and beyond the call of duty – in every patient interaction – and consistently exceed–not just equal – people’s expectations. Learn to always say yes!
PS – The girls loved their Mother’s day gifts!!