Customer Service is important in any business. Amy looked at customer service in the dental office in her 2010 Trojan Today Article.
Like most of you, I place a high value on customer service and personal relationships–especially in these uncertain times. As much as I don’t like change, I recently changed banks after 25 years. I had been looking for ways to reduce expenses and I began to pay closer attention to my interest rate and other miscellaneous bank charges. When I called Catherine, my personal banker, to discuss my concerns, she was unsure how she could help me. I hung up feeling as if I were a burden and too small of a customer for her. It was time for a change to a new bank.
My new personal banker, Dale, is a bright, positive, and enthusiastic young man. Every time I walk into the bank, Dale leaves his office, personally greets me, and asks if there is anything he can do for me. I truly feel like I am Dale’s only customer. One of the “Aha” moments for me was when I realized Dale was very new to banking. Initially, he did not know the answers to my questions and would need to ask the branch manager or another banker for help. But he consistently followed up with a phone call or e-mail within 24 hours, providing the answer. He is accountable, responsible, and has a “proactive” attitude versus a reactive or blameful attitude.
I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Dale even though he lacks banking experience because of his commitment to unwavering excellence in customer service. I have found myself being patient and understanding because of his willingness to give 110%. His conversations are always focused on me, my business, or my family, rather than on himself. I wondered where he learned such great communication and customer service skills. Last week when I sat in his office, I noticed a plaque on the wall with six Cadillac emblems. It turns out he was the top Cadillac salesman for six years (right out of high school) before changing careers this year. What a great hire!
In your practice, what do your patients perceive? Do they feel as if they are important at each and every visit no matter how long they have been patients? Do they feel like they are the only patient you are seeing that day? Do you treat every patient like they are new patients? Good customer service combined with winning communication skills will translate to new patient referrals and an increase in case acceptance.
By the way, when I closed all of my accounts at my old bank on a Saturday morning, the young banker helping me asked why I was leaving after 25 years. When I explained my concerns about the interest rate and charges, she informed me that actually I was qualified for a lower interest rate and no monthly service charges. Apparently, my old banker had not noticed this six months ago when I called her. When the young banker asked if it was too late to keep my business, I sadly responded, “Yes, it is.”
At my new bank, I have a lower interest rate, no service charges, and, best of all, I feel important and I have Dale! Although my new bank has drive-up service, I now like to park and go into the bank. The tellers knew my name after my first deposit. I have referred several clients and friends to the bank, knowing they will be treated with the same respect and customer service whether they are “small potatoes” or not. Make customer service training a top priority this year. Spend time in staff meetings focusing on great customer service techniques and verbal skills. We can all have superior clinical and business skills, but having a “Dale” attitude and willingness to put patients first is crucial to maintain and grow your