Two thought leaders that I look up to, Seth Godin and David Meerman Scott, recently published articles on their blogs relevant to the dental profession. 

First, David wrote about terrible healthcare customer service and I could not have said it better myself as David writes:

“In my experience as a patient and as a family member of patients, I’d have to say that the healthcare industry has the absolute worst customer service there is.”

From hospitals to insurance agents to optometrists and pharmacies (and yes, your dental office), customer care rarely appears to be a priority.

Dentists and other health professionals try to treat people well by investing their time and bandwidth into providing the best treatment possible given each patient’s unique set of circumstances, however our actions often leave our patients disappointed. When discussing the dental profession in particular, it’s safe to say that treating a tooth well is different that treating a person well. It’s also important to understand that treating a disease process well is very different that delivering a treatment well.

Think of healthcare like a restaurant – the treatment or procedure is the food and the staff (I’m including the dentist here), are the servers. 

The best meal in the world can be ruined if it’s coupled with terrible customer service.

Remember when you ate at that great restaurant around the corner, but had your experience ruined by the server’s attitude. It didn’t matter that the chef had spent the last 25 years perfecting his skills, your food was ruined because your taste-buds had been tarnished by emotion.

Healthcare is a service industry. We don’t sell hamburgers or hot-dogs, but it might help to think of it that way (at least every once in while). I hope it’s clear that what I’m saying is that when it comes to building your business, the delivery of the treatment is just as important as the success of the procedure. 

To compound the problem, the worst part about being a great dentist is that nobody knows how good (or bad) the food is. When was the last time your patient asked about an overhanging restoration?

Seth Godin wrote about employees

The gist (and it’s something to think about) of his short post is this: 

“If you treat your employees like mushrooms (keep them in the dark and regularly throw crap on them), it’s entirely likely you will get precisely the work you deserve in return.”