Making sure you deliver on your promises and put the customer first

shutterstock_115871620Lewis Ballard Specialist Dental Accountants explains whys it is so important to keep patients happy.

We have all heard of businesses claiming to give great service and putting the customer above everything else. Yet how many actually deliver on their promises, and why does it matter anyway?

Let’s, consider an average dental practice, people come for appointments, get treatment, pay and leave. If everything goes to plan, they get a recall and hopefully return in six months (or potentially two years, under proposals for new NHS contracts).

Be better than the rest

Good is not good enough in highly competitive times. Generally, 40-50% of your competition will achieve okay, satisfactory or good ratings too. So what differentiates you from them?

Being average or satisfactory isn’t something patients shout about and it won’t win new ones either. Besides, even these standards evolve, as 86% of UK customers now expect better service than five years ago. 

Has your service improved? Expectations keep changing. Stand still and soon patients might find you ‘not that good’, ‘below average’ or ‘unsatisfactory’ when in reality, all that’s changed is their perception.

Facing the truth

Statistically, 80% of businesses that rate their own customer service highly only receive high ratings from 8% of customers, so systematic analysis instead of guesswork is advisable. Creating patient loyalty through sensational service they rave about, takes time and effort. To maintain it requires consistent team commitment to gathering patient feedback, focussing on their expectations and exceeding them.

Through working with our dental clients to pinpoint key patient service issues, we see the huge impact small changes make and as only 26% of businesses have strong customer service systems, being one of them could elevate your practice from average to outstanding.

Even in the recession, NHS and private dentists reported increasing willingness to pay for new services and techniques. So, with the Mintel Report 2013 predicting 17% growth for five years in the dental market, focussing on what patients want, together with heightened oral health promotion and an improving economy, combine to create a lucrative marketplace.

Retaining patients

Generating positive feedback requires an exceptional patient experience from start to finish, so always ensure patients aren’t just a name on a recall list, as research shows when 80% of British customers feel undervalued they don’t complain, they leave. But worse, give them bad service and they tell 10 times more people than when it’s ‘good’.

Retaining patients is vital, new patients cost six-seven times more to attract and the probability of selling to them is only five-20% whilst, with existing patients, who trust you, it’s 60-70%. So even a 10% increase in patient retention can bring a 30% increase in turnover.

However, the most compelling evidence for value of sensational service is from The Strategic Planning Institute, which compared the profitability of ordinary service companies to sensational service companies.  The profitability for ordinary service was on average 13%, whilst for sensational service it was 29%. An astonishing 123% increase in profits.

Clearly, there is real value to giving sensational service. It might take more time, care and attention to detail, but the returns are sensational too.

For information regarding the statistics in this article contact Lewis Ballard Specialist Dental Accountant.

Lewis Ballard Specialist Dental Accountants helps dentists implement systems to measure and improve customer service, which bring significant results – contact Lewis Ballard Specialist Dental Accountants to find out how.

Tel: 02920 735 502


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