Thank you, Toby.

What do customer service and wisdom teeth have to do with each other?

Well, having had one of my wisdom teeth pulled yesterday, I can tell you that customer service has everything to do with it. Since moving to Cumbria from Vienna a few years ago, I have to say that I have not been very impressed with the whole dentist set up in the UK. How much more complicated can you make it for people to look after their teeth, unless they pay a fortune?

Sorry, a bit complaint there. However, with an emergency – my tooth had broken in two, I had to go and see our dentist. The practice had switched hands, so I did not know the new person in charge. Now here is where we all, anyone interested in good business practice and customer care, can really learn something.

On arrival, I was asked to stay outside and have my temperature measured. Inside, our dentist’s amazing receptions, Jean, very patiently asked me to disinfect my hands, wear my mask and had already prepared a clean chair for me to sit in. I felt reassured.

Put your customer at ease

Then, an incredibly friend dental assistant asked me to go through. The dentist greeted me with a warm voice (probably also a smile, but with all the masks one never knows :), asked me to sit down. He explained what they were going to do in great detail and kept asking if I was happy with what he had said. My opinion mattered.

Then the words: “We could work on your tooth through your ear, or you could just take your mask off?” OK, now I was at ease. I just had to laugh, in spite of my pain.

This new dentist certainly knew how to make ‘being there’ feel easy. I hesitate to say this as going to the dentist is clearly not generally seen as easy, but compared to all other visits to the ‘tooth doctors’ I have had, having lived in Germany, Austria, Spain, the USA and Britain, this certainly topped it on the scale of ease.

The team is involved in delighting the customer

This was matched by his assistant who, all the way through, re-assured me (I do take pain well, so probably did not need all that reassuring, but did appreciate it) and also made me feel like the most important person in the room. You might be thinking “well you should be, if they are working on your teeth”. But would you not agree that most of the time dentists make you feel rather small and more like it is THEY who are the most important person in the room, or possibly the planet?

Don’t keep your customer in the dark

Now interesting in this experience was that I was not only made to feel special, looked after and central to all that was going on, I also was not lied to. What I mean by this is that the dentist did not hide from me the fact that I would most likely hear some horrible noises when he pulled out the wisdom tooth. When it comes to it, I am unlikely to ever forget that noise. But, the fact he had not hidden this from me, again, made me feel better about it all.

Don’t forget the follow up

On leaving I was given a review card and excellent information for aftercare and was sure, I will certainly not be switching dentists any time soon.

If you have ever wondered what customer service really is about. This is the perfect example. Whether you sell online or in person, these simple concepts hold true and can turn a customer experience into a very positive event as well as create the loyalty you want for the future success of your business:

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  1. Greet people well, with name and make sure they know who you are.
  2. Cultivate a culture of customer-centricity, from reception, to assistant to CEO, all need to be involved in the experience.
  3. Make your customer feel special.
  4. Treat your customer as if they are the most intelligent person in front of you and involve them in the experience and the buying process. Double check if they are OK with everything.
  5. Don’t be afraid to use humour where appropriate.
  6. Make your customer feel at ease. If in your shop, don’t cram them in, give the space. Let them ask questions or answer questions you know they are likely to ask. Pre-empt their needs.
  7. Be honest about things that might not be so pleasant. For example, if your service takes a while, don’t promise it will all be done in a day. Tell them, it will take 3 weeks, but keep them updated.
  8. Finally, and importantly, finish well. Don’t sell and then never talk to them again.
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Thank you, Toby

So, just to conclude, my new dentist’s name is Toby. In the spur of the moment, I did not pick up on his surname, but that does not matter. All I know is that I am in good hands at our dental practice and that reassures me. Not only that, I have just told you about it – is that not best type of marketing we can hope for?

When our customers tell others about the amazing service we provide – then we have clearly done something right.

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