So what do hotels and dental practices have in common? A lot, actually!
Whenever I visit a hotel or resort (in a hot place, usually), I tend to think about what they’re doing right/wrong and how it can apply to a dental practice.
Did you notice how instead of saying ‘You’re Welcome’ when a guest says ‘Thank You’, they say ‘My Pleasure’. That’s a subtle difference in communication but it’s very powerful. Instead of them saying that YOU are welcome by them serving you, they are saying that THEY take pleasure in serving you. Wow. Think about that one.
Some staff see problems and report them to the hire-ups. Some staff look for problems (pro-active) and go out of their way to resolve them before they actually become big deals. I witnessed some undertrained staff members speak rudely to guests about how their baby strollers were in the way and were blocking access to the restaurant. They just noticed a problem and reported it. How did this make the paying guest feel? Not so great, I guess. Stupid, probably. Why didn’t the staff member approach the paying guest with a smile and ask if it would be OK for them to move the stroller out of the way? Why didn’t they offer to help. Why didn’t they perhaps try to avoid this issue to begin with by posting a sign?
I requested a certain brand of tequila at one resort I was at. They said they had it. They didn’t. So they lied. I found out right away I was being lied to (from the look, smell, and taste). Why did they try to hide the truth? I was furious that they didn’t respect me. I was a paying guest. I am their lifeblood. They need me to tell everyone how great they are. And that was an unnecessary failure on their part. Now, I’m more prone to tell 10 more people about how they lied. That just spreads the wrong message. So don’t do it.
First Impressions ARE EVERYTHING
First impressions are essential. The first thing I notice when I walk into a hotel is the smell, the decor, and the receptiveness of the front desk person. Are there long lines? I’m pretty tired when I get there. Is there a cold drink and cold towel waiting for me? Perhaps a couch to relax on. Is someone going to take my bags and ensure a smooth signing-in process? Does it meet and exceed my expectations?
Does your dental office smell nice, look good (match your brand), and do your front desk team members great each paying patient with a smile / warm tone? Are they offered something (a refreshment perhaps) when they first come in? Are their expectations met when they’re told it may be 5 minutes before a hygienist is available for their active care treatment? If they have a problem (e.g. dealing with parking, wi-fi, payment options, etc.), are your team members trying to resolve those problems or do they simply see ungrateful and problematic patients?