We all want customers to have the best possible experience. Exceptional customer experiences are better than any paid marketing – by a long shot! And the absolutely cool thing is that most customers are looking for what is wrong. Some are looking for reasons to complain. So how easy is it to exceed someone’s expectations when the expectations are already so low?
Job descriptions, checklists, and scripts are great tools however they are the bare minimum for establishing and maintaining customer service. These are great tools for ensuring consistency, and living up to set expectations. But again, this is for ensuring the bare minimum not exceeding expectations, creating memorable moments or inspiring positive online reviews. Think of the difference between a fast food restaurant and a 5 star restaurant. One is built purely on systems and the latter is built on systems plus moments.
Many “systems” are technically meant to protect the business not the customer. We use the systems to ensure we get paid, the correct products or services are rung up, the correct paperwork is generated, etc. Even though some systems help avoid customer service mishaps, they are merely the baseline for customer service. Exceptional experiences start where business systems end.
ACTIONABLE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE STRATEGIES
Put this in your own perspective. When have you been most impressed by a service provider? At times all they did was act on an opportunity. Most businesses are comprised of numerous team members. And the great thing is that recent studies showed how customers really only need a few moments to exceed expectations. Customers will remember the few ah-ha moments. In a typical dental practice a patient will have 8-12 key points of contact over a new patient appointment or even a hygiene visit. So imagine numerous team members taking advantage of the 8-12 opportunities given and just acting on one third of those opportunities. Not all 12. If you have 35 patients a day you could have 280 to 420 opportunities per day to create exceptional patient experiences!
Business owners, managers and team members need to do two things. First look for opportunities and secondly create opportunities. A new patient does not know what to expect from your practice. That leaves you with tremendous opportunity to create experiences. And one of the most powerful customer service tools is listening. Our customers tell us…….feed us ways to make them happy. We only need to act upon it. So, here are
- Ask how to make this their best experience ever.
- Take notes and put them where other team members can read them.
- Answer their questions.
- Act like you are excited to see the patient.
- Run on time! It can be that simple.
- Write two notecards per day per team member.
- Speak with enthusiasm.
- Tell patients what to expect during their appointment and throughout the appointment.
- Use the patient’s name…..frequently!
- Hand the patient off by name to the next team member.
ROI ON POSITIVE EXPERIENCES
Most everything in life will be done for a reason. Motivation is primal. We do something because we fear the poor outcome or we do something for the perceived positive result. Look at the list above. How much do you think that list will cost you? Your lunches this week will likely cost more than the strategies above. And what does a new patient cost you? Social media campaigns coupled with paid ads cost practices in the range of $500-2000+ per month! Add a dedicated salary for internal marketing. You are quickly up to numbers in the range of $50,000 to $100,000 annually.
So what is the ROI on customer experiences? That’s tough because the math doesn’t work out. A new patient worth $600 derived from zero cost strategy provides us with an undefined result (for the math aficionados). However, if I were to give you $600 and required nothing of you I am guessing you would be ecstatic.
Tell me. How far are you going to step away from the checklists and focus on the customer experiences that provide a high ROI for the investment?