The other day I had an appointment with my dentist because I broke a tooth and needed to have a new veneer made. Because of the moves I have made in the last few years, I have only been with this dentist for two years. However, of the four different dentists I have used over the last 35 years, my current dentist and his company is the best, most professional dental firm I have ever encountered. There are actually 3 or 4 dentists, at least 6 hygienists, and lots of assistants who are just buzzing around all day.
There are 3 wows about this practice:
- Appointment times are always honored and I have never had to wait more than 5 minutes from arriving.
- Your first appointment has a 30-minute sit down face-to-face meeting so that the dentist can better understand the whole patient. It’s a nice touch but isn’t that what wows are?
- My dentist is a nice, very personable, wonderful man, a great employer, and also a brilliant man without being obnoxious about his intelligence.
So what could a gift shop or a garden center learn from my dentist? LOTS.
See if this sounds familiar:
I will refer to my Dentist for the purpose of this article as Dr. T. We were discussing the phenomena of the effect that Extreme Makeover TV Show had on the dental industry. On the show they used a method that was called the Davinci Process for capping or putting veneers on teeth to create beautiful white teeth. Dental labs and dentists across the country were getting lots of inquiries for this process. It got so big that the process developed by a dental Lab in LA actually developed a license/franchise agreement with the labs and dentists around the world. (Great PR works…That’s the first lesson to learn.)
It is a very good process but most dentists and labs can do similar things. That’s what started a most interesting discussion. Dr T then made the statement, “Doesn’t it kill you when a patient (a customer in our world) tells you that they went someplace else to have work done and it’s work you do?” In his case, this meant someone going to another dentist for cosmetic dentistry. He said that’s what he does and besides he hated the term cosmetic dentistry.
My response was, “What do you expect? How are your patients supposed to know what you do?” He didn’t have a sign, a testimonial, a before and after picture other than one created by dentists for dentists. He didn’t even have a simple brochure describing his services. He responded that he never advertised and everything was done via word of mouth advertising. Now understand, this is a very bright man but something doesn’t seem right. He is dependent on his patients to tell his story about an extreme makeover of someone’s smile. If he is busy now, I wonder how busy he could be with the proper marketing?
So then I asked the biggie. “How does your website handle your services?” His response was “not great because I even have a problem navigating the site.” Now that’s a bad sign-- if you can’t navigate it, how is your reader going to do it? And speaking of signs, I suggested that he should have signs on the ceiling right above the chair. Is there a more captive audience than a patient lying down in a dentist’s chair with nothing else to do but read a sign?
I explained that today we can’t just depend on word of mouth advertising like we used to because the natural way people look for new services or goods is NOT by asking a friend. It is by “Googling it”. Plus customers today are bolder about negotiating or at least not afraid to ask the price and shop dental services more than ever before. So I said when he finished my tooth repair, I would take a look at his website.
His website was absolutely beautiful. The graphics were first class. BUT that always scares me because if they look pretty, somehow they aren’t always functional. Plus they just never seem to score high on web results testing.
Dr T showed me the services section and I saw before and after shots. However, there was no testimonial or endorsement or any type of emotional connection. It was all insider shop talk void of the people and personalities.
There were no videos on the site at all. There weren’t any video endorsements or dental tips by the dentists. Even a video on what to expect if you have Cosmetic Dentistry. I then ran the website through websitegrader.com
. His website’s score was 24 out of a 100. That was terrible. This site cost him thousands of dollars to create. It was written on a graduate school level but that’s not who his clients are. The before and after shots lacked any type of touchy feely feeling and certainly sounded like insider talk about the various procedures. The site was just too stuffy and didn’t serve the needs of his community.
I then graded the website developer that was charging these dentists huge fees. Their score was 84%. Although this is good, people who do this for a living should have scores of 95% or better.
My last comment was that the site was all about the dental practice. NOT HIS PATIENTS or the benefit he brought to his patients. He didn’t offer anything to his patients, no newsletter, no blog, no ask the dentist section, no videos to make the flow of information easier, no CALL TO ACTION BOXES TO MAKE IT EASIER TO DOWNLOAD ANY SPECIAL REPORTS, tips or anything else.
The goal TODAY: TRY TO POSITION OURSELVES AS THE EXPERT. Dr. T already has that level of professionalism but he is throwing it all away by not reinforcing it. People pay extra for expertise which also means he should create his own brand for his process for capping teeth. Call it the Michelangelo Method or better yet, he could use his own name in the process.
The bottom-line is that it is about the customer. Not us. How can we serve them better? How can we communicate what we do and how it benefits the customer? What can we do for them and how are we teaching them today? Now act on what you have learned. I know Dr. T is going to.
This is an alternative ending:
Last point and this is the tough one. As you can plainly tell from my tone I really like Dr T. I would recommend him in a second. I am as loyal a customer/patient as you can get. BUT 5 weeks ago my wife needed a crown and we were still in Florida. She went to a dentist that we had no long-term relationship with. He told her she needed a new crown and the price would be X. She then called Dr. T office to have it down there. After making the appointment she asked how much would it cost? She was shocked when she received the estimate which was $500 less. Guess where she had the work done!
We still have to price competitively.