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The Most CRITICALLY IMPORTANT JOB for Patient/Customer Service Providers

By Linda Larsen - Friday, December 16, 2016
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I’m a high maintenance dental patient. That’s right - a motivational speaker who is a high maintenance dental patient. It’s almost an oxymoron. But it’s true. I just think about going to the dentist and my left eye starts twitching. And what makes this really fascinating is that I am also the (self-proclaimed) World’s Most Experienced Dental Patient. Name a procedure and I’ve probably had it done - more than once. So you’d think I’d be over it by now. Yeah, right. I’m not.

Okay, I SAY that I’m not over it, but then this interesting thing keeps happening. Like yesterday when I visited my dentist’s office for a routine cleaning with Sarah. Let me share my experience with you:

  • The second I enter the office - I get big smiles from everyone I see. Genuine, enthusiastic, warm smiles, and words of welcome - like they were actually happy to see me.
  • Sarah walks into the waiting room, flashes a beautiful smile, greets me warmly and ushers me back to her operatory.
  • She starts asking me questions and I notice that she is giving me fabulous, uninterrupted, truly-interested eye contact as I respond. I mean, I actually NOTICE this!
  • She asks if I would like a back cushion (she remembers I have back issues.) Yes, thank you.
  • She offers me a neck pillow. Oh nice.
  • She asks if I want the chair set to “massage.” Oh wow, yes, thank you.
  • She asks if I want a blanket. No thank you.
  • She asks if I would like nitrous oxide since they now have a  new handy dandy comfortable little mask. Well, okay then.
  • She asks if I would like music. Oh yes please - turned up REEEEALLY loudly, please!
  • She realizes that her headphones don’t work and proceeds to spend a very long time looking for another set of headphones in the office. It’s taking so long as she’s doing this, I’m wondering if it’s going to put her behind schedule. But when she walks back into the room, instead of looking impatient and annoyed, she appears, well…delighted! And with a big smile she proclaims, “I found one! Yay!”
  • She asks what genre of music I like, dons me with the headphones, cranks up the volume, turns on the nitrous and gets to work.

And in my drug-induced state of mind, I get to thinking…

It was as if, when she went to work at World Class Dentistry, Doctors Morris and Bakke told that she had…


“Make your patient reeeealllly happy WHILE 
which is to clean teeth”

See, here’s the deal. Your practice could (and absolutely should) provide the most skilled dentist to provide my dental care, the most competent hygienist to clean my teeth, and the most thorough facilitator to explain the payment options, but if they don’t make me happy in the process, then I’m NOT going to become your greatest raving fan, I’m NOT going to scream your praises to anyone who will listen, and I will NOT come back to you again. Oh, and get this, I will NOT tell you why I left.

Accordingly, within the parameters of the BRILLIANTLY EXECUTED IMPORTANT TASK you perform (greet people as they enter your office, clean teeth, administer x-rays) do you make people reeeeealllly happy? Have you ever identified all the actions you would have to take (verbal and nonverbal, on the phone, online and in person) in order to make people reeeealllly happy? 

I’ll leave you with a bottom-line, money-making question for you to ask yourself and have everyone on your team ask themselves as well:

"In every single interaction I have with all my patients -
is everything I do or say, and the WAY in which I do or say it,
going to make them reeeeeealllly happy?"

Answering that question, getting really clear on exactly what you need to do, and then doing those things - can truly make your patients refer you and your practice to everyone they know. AND, since you will be turning cranky, twitchy, nervous patients like me, into docile, relaxed, happy people, it will make your work a whole lot more enjoyable!! Win-win!

About the Author

Linda Larsen, CSP, CPAE is a Hall of Fame Speaker, professional actress, best-selling author and serious lover of doggies. Linda speaks at conferences and meetings around the world, helping people bring the very best version of themselves to life every day! To talk to Linda about how she can contribute to the success of your next event, call 941-927-4700. Or go to Book Linda Now!

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