K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Dec 06 2011

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3 tips we can learn from the dental industry

“The best and cheapest dentistry is when the right thing is done extremely well the first time and it lasts.” —unknown

I went to the dentist last month and, like most people, wasn’t looking forward to it. However, this time I was struck by how well the dental industry is set up to soothe fears and what we could take away from its business model.

In many ways, both construction and dentistry are very similar. Whether people are patients or clients, all feel some level of anxiety before they even walk through our doors. Here’s where dentist offices excel and what we can take away from their business model:

1. Calm, friendly support staff. I was a typical client: I hadn’t been in awhile, didn’t know what anything cost and was afraid I’d be paying heavily in both discomfort and dollars. That first phone call to the office helped. The receptionist responded in a friendly, modulated voice, sounded happy to hear from me, was quick to answer questions and reassured me that it would be as painless as possible.

What are clients hearing in that first phone call to you? How are you soothing their anxiousness? Are you rushed or impatient? What message are you conveying with your tone, your answers, or even the speed of your sentences? If you don’t have time to answer the phone because you’re an independent
and on the road, can you consider a phone answering service?

2. Clear explanations. From the time I entered the reception room to my time with the dentist, everything was laid out. I was provided options on whether I wanted to get all my work done at once or broken down to be easier on the wallet. A key point: Once I made my decision as to how I wanted to proceed, the decision itself was greeted with enthusiasm, like I’d made the best choice.

When I was in the chair, the dentist explained what I might experience—everything from the sounds to the degree of discomfort I might experience. Once I knew what to expect, my level of anxiety dropped to (almost) nothing. Are you informing your clients what they might expect? More importantly, are you telling them how it’ll make their life easier once the project is done?

3. Take care of what you have. How many of us spend time discussing with our clients how to best care for all the new products we have selected? In this, we’re slightly different than the dental industry. While failure to upkeep basic standards in a home can be very dangerous or even life-threatening, we rarely see that in the homes we’re working on.

However, today’s newer finishes and products require a completely different style of cleaning and maintenance from our parents’ homes. Can you consider printing out a hand-out (dentists are extremely good at that) or providing a small sample of the correct cleaning products? Are you addressing their lifestyle and what future details they might need in their home to maintain the quality over the years?

I could get into how they make it as easy as possible to pay, but that’s a story for another day.

Until next time,

Kelly

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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