I love shopping on Amazon and I adore using Netflix for my movies and shows. I’m a frequent Uber patron and a huge fan of CLEAR to scoot past security lines at major airports. I hardly ever actually go to the bank anymore because of the ease and convenience of Chase Bill Pay and Deposit by Phone. All of these rank high on my list of companies that make it super easy to do business with them.
Just like you, I’m a pretty busy gal. I appreciate the precious minutes, and sometimes even the hours, that are saved by a company who offers a quick and effortless way to make purchases, return items, process repetitive tasks, and make or change appointments.
So why then did it take me almost three days to get my son in to see a dentist in Austin, Texas when he needed a root canal? I’m serious. Almost three days!
He had been diagnosed as needing a root canal by a clinic that did not do endodontics but “we’re happy to extract it” for him. Yikes! When your mother works in the industry, this was a wholly unacceptable answer. I told him I could help and would canvas my dental colleagues to find a reputable dentist who could care for him quickly.
It was mid-week and a quick Facebook shout-out to my friends in the industry yielded about a dozen terrific recommendations, though only a few did endodontics. But, as I made my way down the list of recommended offices, I was astounded at the amount of calls that went straight to voicemail, gave me a busy signal, or were redirected to an answering service. One just rang and rang until I finally hung up. Callbacks for the messages I left were slow to be returned. Some took days. When they were answered, I experienced enormously long hold times most with music or messages that were annoying to listen to in between the static. I spoke to many administrators who were unsure how to answer my questions about treatment, cost, payment options, or even location and directions.
I finally made an appointment for him at an office that told me they accepted Care Credit and was fairly close to his home. About an hour later, I received a call from the same office informing me that in fact they did not do root canals or take Care Credit. What?
Teaching telephone skills is a big part of my business. As a matter of fact, LionSpeak is known for it’s unscripted, consistently extraordinary coaching programs for dental, healthcare, and veterinary professionals. We have a robust mystery shopper program and my team and I speak on the subject at dozens of venues every year. You would think I would be aware of the “state of the industry” in regard to telephone skills. Boy, did I get an updated education!
Because I personally have a fabulous dental office where I have been a patient for over 15 years, I haven’t called dental offices as a potential new patient myself in a really long time. I was ready to make an appointment. I was able to pay the bill or help my son qualify for financing. He could come in at almost any time. He was in pain and highly motivated to feel better. I was highly motivated to help him save his first molar. Does a potential new patient get any better than this? And yet… most of them made it sooo hard to give my business to them.
Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. I eventually found my way to a terrific office where not only was the initial phone call handled well but the appointments and procedures were efficient, effective, and very well delivered. Austin loved his experience and has definitely found his new dental home.
Another great outcome was that this experience assured me there is still a deep demand and need for the client-focused coaching that LionSpeak delivers. It reminded me of how important that first impression is and prompted me to take a hard look at our own process at my company for engaging with a new or prospective client.
I want to make it a no-brainer and hassle-free experience for people to do business with LionSpeak. Just like the offices I called, we aren’t perfect and we don’t always get it right. But, this experience caused me to recommit to be diligent about the experience from start to finish for our clients.
I hope this week, you’ll do the same. Ask your team and even your patients what the experience has been like and what could make it better. Get creative and determined about finding ways to expand your availability and make your services easier to find, engage with, and raved about to others.
And, if you’re looking for a great dentist in Austin, Texas… I’ve already done the legwork for you!
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