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The Dentist as Business Muse

by Nanci Sherman, Featured Contributor

WANT TO CAPTURE more market share, build a growing client base through social media and word of mouth? Distinction is the name of the game. While everyone else is collecting “likes” you are collecting customers.

What you are about to read occurred in a dentist’s office. However, it has tremendous application for leaders who appreciate how redefining a customer centric culture contributes to greater ROI.

GameChanger2A while back, I was told to go to a specialty dentist for a toothy nerve thing. Not a big “ouch potato” I tried to mask the pain and avoid the visit. But you know teeth…. Given my long history of unpleasant dental memories, I walked in with my proverbial tail between my legs. The first thing I noticed was a spa-like aroma instead of a calcium torture chamber that is the mark of most dental offices. “Eau de Tooth Dust” exists only on the fairy plane.

My appointment was for 2 PM. At 2:10 the receptionist came out from behind the desk in a uniform that looked straight out of the Armani catalog to escort me to the treatment room. She greeted me by name, apologized for the delay, and to my amazement, in exchange for my patience, handed me a gift card for admittance for two to a national theatre chain.

As I slid into the chair that had a throw over the end so my legs wouldn’t stick to the plastic, Nurse Edgar came on the scene with a warm welcome and proffered a “room service” menu. He asked me to choose the beverage I would enjoy prior to and during the procedure and the music I wanted to hear. I was seriously impressed and no longer focusing on impending pain.

Edgar then asked permission to lower my chair – a gesture usually offered by knowledgeable aestheticians. On the ceiling, instead of the cheap white squares was an LED screen with changing nature scenes. Nervous? Edgar offered some deep breathing exercises.

I had a few moments to enjoy my sugarless smoothie and the images above before the dentist came in. While not a Johnny Depp look-alike he was engaging and put me at ease. We chatted before he handed me a satin eye mask so I wouldn’t have to stare into the glaring light above.

Some takeaways applicable to every industry:

  • Treat meetings and appointments as commitments, and if it is completely unavoidable, bend over backwards when you miss the mark by even a second.
  • People are willing to pay more and drive further for a memorable experience. And they tell others.
  • It is possible to be in a dental chair or anywhere else without 1000 thread count sheets and experience luxury. Luxury is thoughtful, personalized, how you make people “feel, and not always a cost factor.
  • Walk the path of the guest. Does your on-hold music or marketing raise blood pressure and ire? What could you do instead? Service is about “upliftment,” not mere transaction.
  • Raise the Bar…. Forget bench-marking. Innovate beyond what your competitors consider “satisfactory.” Guest satisfaction may mean nothing went wrong, but it does not point to excellence.

Bravo dental team and leaders that don’t lose sight of what really drives your business success. In New Orleans, they call it “lagniappe” meaning a little bit extra. In business, it just makes good “cents.”


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Nanci Sherman
Nanci Shermanhttps://www.nancisherman.com/
Known throughout her career as a game-changer, Nanci was raised in New York City and earned a B.S in Journalism and Communications at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The hotel business soon caught her attention and she caught theirs. Having created and run some of the more iconic hotels and resorts in the country, Nanci learned firsthand what it takes to be the best at what you do, consistently bringing over twenty hotels to the number one spot in their marketplace. She led her last hotel to #2 best hotel in the USA out of 50,000. Windstar Cruises brought Nanci in to rewrite their Standard Operating Procedures, and they won best luxury cruise line in the world the following year. Nanci “evolutionized” the hospitality industry. Her re-imagination of the customer journey creates distinction in any market place. She consulted on leadership and motivation on three continents. Nanci is a Self-Enrichment and Leadership Coach and a Hotel Revolutionary. Her mantra is: To be outstanding, first you must stand out. Change your thoughts, change your outcomes. “Shift” happens!

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