Excellent Customer Service

Why do you come to work?

Obviously, the money. But why else, and why here? And, for that matter, why do you call it work?

Put all of our core values, and our WHY together. Stick them in a bag and give them a shake. And pour them out. What do you see?

If it’s a jumbled up mass of words, maybe you’re not seeing for looking.

Me, I see work as a place to play. I see what I do not as dentistry, but as art. I see our practice as a playground. One in which our patients become members. Because they can have fun, share smiles, spread laughter. I see our role as not to treat people, but to care for them, get to know them. Who they really are. Their likes and dislikes.

And I see us not as a team, but as a ‘Tribe.’

Tribes, according to Seth Godin, are those groups of people who are playing a part, forming a movement, going somewhere with purpose and a desire to create change.

Last week, I was accused of being an ostrich by a duty nurse at A&E. To be fair, she did have a point. More often though, I’m accused of having my head in the clouds. But, I actually think my head’s above the clouds. Because this is where I can choose to see exactly what I want. In any direction and where nothing clouds my vision.

In other words, I see HAPPINESS.

That’s important to me because I spend the majority of my waking day at our practice. With you. So, if we become a tribe, with common goals, with common values that we ALL believe in, we will be happier.

And if we are happier, our members will be as well.

This could be us…

Now, I’d like to remind you why I share an email a month relating to one of our core values.

A young Benjamin Franklin sought moral perfection. So, he developed a list of thirteen virtues he wanted to follow. But he learned that he couldn’t change them all at once. So he developed a system by using a chart. The days of the week were listed at the top and the virtues listed in the in the first column. Then he tracked his progress daily. Each week, he focused on one virtue. And, after thirteen weeks, he’d covered them all. He continued this for the rest of his life.

If it’s good enough for Ben, it’s good enough for us.

This month’s core value is ‘Excellent Customer Service.’

It goes without saying that this means being courteous and polite. Not just delivering on our promises but exceeding them. On that note, our recent survey revealed that 95% of our members felt no pain and 5% felt slight pain. I know we can do better. Let’s make that our number one priority.

But there’s more to excellent customer service. Much more!

As I’ve said before, put yourselves in our members’ shoes. What do you want above all from a business?

For me, it’s recognition. I want to be listened to, not just heard. Our members, our prospects, our social media followers are all looking to be recognised. When we listen, we’re showing an interest. And there is no greater compliment than giving someone your un-divided attention. It allows you to get an insight into their personality, their needs and their wants. Then, and only then can you better serve them.

Remember, being a good listener is the most important part of being a good communicator.

I posted this on our facebook page a few months ago. It’s called the ‘Connect With Anyone Creed.’ We should use this as our compass.

Now, just for a change, here’s a story about a little-known tech company by the name of Apple.

Back in the year 2000, Apple was a company dwindling. Michael Dell, of Dell Computers fame, was asked what he’d do. He said I’d give the cash back to the shareholders and close the business down.

But Apple invested during that downturn. That’s when they started to build its chain of stores.

Every Genius Bar employee was given a training manual staff and had to pass a 14 day training course. Not just about technical tips and tricks but also how to empathise with customers.

Apple doesn’t want high-pressure sellers behind the bar – quite the opposite. The manual reinforces a constant message that staff must be empathetic to a customer’s needs.

If you visit the Genius Bar at an Apple Store you’ll discover the real job of the Genius. And it’s not to fix things. The first job of the Genius is to acknowledge your problem and to change how you feel. Apple Geniuses get twice as much training in changing how the customer feels as they do in solving tech problems. The only thing that the Genius has to do is make people walk out feeling better than when they walked in.

And if we do the same, it’s also a kind of genius.

The Apple training manual focusses on an acronym – APPLE.

Approach customers with a personalised warm welcome.
Probe to understand the problem.
Present a solution.
Listen for issues, and
End with an invitation to return.

Apple takes ‘Excellent Customer Service’ to a new high. It improves customer relationships, it can transform a disappointed customer with the potential to become a negative voice in the marketplace into a fan. It creates a tribal following.

That’s where we should be aiming.