I have recently had a couple of bad customer service experiences – both of which wasted my time because the businesses I was dealing with didn’t understand the value of communication. I am always looking for (and finding) parallels that affect the dental industry and can be useful for making life in a dental practice flow more smoothly, elicit less stress or just be more efficient. This was most definitely a lesson every dental practice can use…
I was sent on a number of wild goose chases because a car dealership was not clear about what was needed in order to complete a transaction and kept adding things I needed to do. In the most recent case, my time was wasted because the satellite radio station I was dealing with left an important piece of information out of their instructions to me.
In the most recent case, the “customer service” folks at Sirius Radio really dropped the ball and I can see where it would be easy in dental practices to make assumptions about what we tell our patients that might cause them some grief.
When I came home with my new car recently, I was told that it came with 3 months of free satellite radio service. Yay! Two weeks into owning my car, (in the middle of a great song!) the radio service turned itself off abruptly. So I called the customer service department at Sirius Radio from my office. After providing my VIN # and account information, they told me the service would be back on in 10 minutes. As an aside, it sounded like the rep I was speaking with was eating his lunch during our call. At the end of the day, when I got into my car fully expecting satellite radio, there was none.
As a long weekend had started, I waited until Monday to call Sirius. After waiting on hold from my home phone for 15 minutes, listening to Sirius ads, a customer service rep came on and I explained my situation. He told me to hold, came back on and said in 10 minutes I would have radio again. Being a little cynical at this point I asked him to promise – which he did.
At the end of the day, back in my car – no radio. Grrrr. I phoned again. Customer service representative #3. I explained my story. This rep asked me to go out to my car and turn it on. He waited with me on the phone while he sent the signal and waited for the car to receive it. He explained to me that in order to receive the signal, the car radio must be on!! Neither of the previous reps had asked if I was in my car, nor had they told me this was a vital piece of the puzzle.
So it got me to thinking about the information we give our patients, the pre and post operative instructions, the explanations of treatment (did you know that most dental patients don’t understand what you’re doing when you do a crown prep?), the insurance process etc. We say the same things over and over – does it sound rote? Are we leaving vital pieces out? Are we keeping track of the questions we ask so that we have ready answers? All these things add to a patient’s experience, which is far more important than any ‘customer service’ routines we believe we are implementing.
What are you leaving out?