Jan 12, 2007

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Lessons on customer service from a dentist I had a mother who gave me this HUGE fear of dentists...40 years into my life and the sweat rolls as I enter THAT room, and see THAT chair. But fear not, I have found a dentist who could coach you on turning an unhappy customer into an engaged one. Here is my story with lessons for you in bold Picture the scene, I enter slowly fists clenched and state through gritted teeth....I don't want to be here. What she did next was...smile, showing a shiny set of glorious teeth Give the customer a reason to buy She then ignored the chair and got me talking about iPod's and my passion podcasts. She actually walked towards me and blocked the view of the chair.She didn't rush, she drew me into a conversation...after a couple of minutes, still talking I sat in the chair..totally forgetting the pain ahead...and still chatting. Make an emotional connection Once she had lured me into her lair - sorry the chair....she smiles a bit more and asks me to open my mouth...she carries on explaining what she is going to do....Communication reduces fear Realisation happens and I tell her, "I know what you are doing, you are talking to me to relax me!"...did she flinch, no - denying any relaxation motive and then asks about my life...Put the customer first She makes me feel like the person with the best teeth on earth by announcing that I need no work and congratulates me. I feel valued, I feel recognised, ....I feel relieved ! The more you recognise others the more people will recognise you! She cleans them and when she gets to the sensitive ones I react like a true baby....she stops, she talks a bit more, she adjusts the machine...she asks if that is better. Reacts to customer feedback It's over and I find that far from an awful time....I have actually enjoyed the visit. In fact I like a dentist and feel that I have made a new friend...darn it I didn't want to like a dentist! This results in me looking forward to catching up in six months! Achieves customer loyalty We often see bad customer service but do we learn from great service experiences? It is there if we just open our eyes. Who would have thought I would learn about customer service from a dentist! She put me first, she didn't treat me like another appointment but a real human being with feelings. I also felt that I had learned something... no matter the role (Not many people like dentists) you can engage with your customer, you can build loyalty, you can make a difference.

Anna Farmery

Social Marketing Architect, Speaker, Author and in spare time completing PhD on the future of the social business model

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