The Scenario: A patient makes a dental appointment.
Opportunities for improvement within your business can always be found from every customer experience — no matter what! The TrendSource team offered me the opportunity to break down one customer experience scenario and analyze what went wrong and how things could have gone right. With the proper training, you can ensure the customer experience at your company is a pleasant one from beginning to end. Enjoy!
The Greeting: Tanya answered my call on the second ring with, "Dr. Smith’s office. This is Tanya." I greeted Tanya and asked how she was doing. She replied, "Good." I then introduced myself, mentioned I was new to the area and asked to schedule an appointment for a teeth cleaning and check-up. She did not respond. Finally, I said, "Hello?" She answered me by saying the same thing and then went silent again. I asked if I could schedule an appointment, and she said, "Yes." After a long pause, she asked if I was there and said something about the other line.
What Went Wrong
The greeting, whether on the phone or in person, is your customer’s first impression of your company. While the representative identified the location and herself, her welcome greeting wasn’t very, well…welcoming. Obviously, the representative was distracted. And it’s OK to be distracted—it happens to the best of us. But minimizing instances like this one can set the stage for success.
What Your Company Can Do to Ensure a Positive First Impression
Ask yourself how you can help your team deliver a friendly and polite greeting while also managing distractions effectively and honestly with customers. If something isn’t working correctly on the business side, be honest with your customers! Instructing your employees to let a customer know what’s happening can make or break a customer relationship. An explanation as simple as, “I’m so sorry, I’m experiencing technical difficulties. Do you mind if I briefly place you on hold?” Or, “I apologize, however I am running into an issue here at my office that I need to address. Can I have your direct telephone number and I will reach out to you as soon as this has been taken care of?” can preserve the potential business lead. While this is obviously not the ideal situation, your customer will appreciate the honesty and the time your employee took to make sure the focus is on them. Just make sure your employees stick to their promise and actually return that call!
The Appointment Setting: When I asked for the first available appointment, she asked what I would be coming in for. I repeated that I wanted to have my teeth cleaned and checked. She told me I could come in that day at 2:00 PM, and mentioned that they had a cancellation. I asked for a later time. She said 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM were the latest appointments they offered. I asked for a 4:00 PM. She told me that she did not have a 4:00 PM opening that day. As she looked for an opening, she told me they had eight o'clock appointments. I asked if she meant eight o'clock in the evening. She clarified that they had openings at eight o'clock in the morning.
What Went Wrong
Not listening to the customer’s needs. Forgetting the small things —something as simple as mixing up AM or PM for an appointment time can create big problems and ultimately lose business for your company.
What Your Company Can Do to Address Customers’ Needs
Ask yourself what will help your team focus on key details and present that information to customers. Training your employees to make note of relevant points in the conversation to refer to later on can deliver an experience to your customers that makes them feel they are being heard. And it can make all the difference. Try polling your team to find out their learning styles and the best way to help them fine tune their eyes and ears to details they may otherwise overlook. Work with your employees to guarantee they jot down notes to use as triggers to help them identify the person they’re working with. The customer will feel satisfied they were acknowledged
The Confirmation: After I provided my name, she used my name, said she had me down for the appointment and ended the call. She did not ask if there was anything else she could help me with.
What Went Wrong
Not providing the customer with any opportunity to discuss questions, concerns, or reservations about their appointment can create an uncomfortable feeling for the customer.
What Your Company Can Do to Treat Every Interaction with Care
Ask yourself what can you do now that will help your customer tomorrow? Encourage your employees to treat every interaction with a customer as a gift…one that they want to make sure includes everything your customers need in one neatly wrapped box. Put the focus on first call resolution—the first time a customer reaches out for help, make sure your employees work to gain as much information as possible to avoid the need for the customer to reach out again. This will make your customers confident that everything is taken care of and your company is not one of those companies that everyone has to call over and over again to get issues resolved. Always train your employees to ask the customer if there’s anything else they can help them with—chances are, there is!
The Communicate Better Blog is dedicated to addressing good and bad customer service scenarios with the intent of learning and improving the customer experience.