The Ultimate Competitive Edge
Executive Editor Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT
The dental laboratory profession is changing precipitously within the current economic and competitive environment. Successful dental laboratories recognize that although we are constantly striving to provide a quality product to the dentist and ultimately the patient, we are equally and notably providing a service. The quality of that service can sway the dentists’ decision with regard to where they send their business. Most dentists seek a friendly bond with their dental laboratory and need to feel that the laboratory has their best interest at heart. This need provides an immeasurable business opportunity for laboratories, and, while fairly simple, it does require conscious effort.
The most critical part of good customer service is attitudinal in nature. Dentists seek an extension of expertise in their chosen laboratory—one that will not only perform the task at hand but also help them succeed with a difficult case. With so many new practitioners graduating from dental school, there is an even greater need for guidance by the dentist’s laboratory partners. Showing a “can do” attitude should express volumes when speaking with a current or prospective dentist. Being positive, open, and helpful by offering solutions fortifies a relationship and creates stronger bonds between the laboratory and dentist. Many times a dentist can be overwhelmed and reach out, hoping for a hero to save the day. If the laboratory is able to deliver solutions in these frustrating situations, the value of the laboratory’s service is immediately elevated.
Personal follow-up communication is instrumental to establishing positive customer experiences. Every opportunity for engagement with a dentist is important. The dentist will perceive the contact to be friendly and show that the laboratory cares for their success. It also provides a mechanism for the laboratory to get feedback and have a dialogue, the fruits of which can be utilized going forward to provide even better service for the laboratory’s clients. A happy and satisfied dentist is more willing to recommend their colleagues to the same laboratory and share their great find.
In the event any miscommunication or unfortunate circumstance arises that leaves a dentist dissatisfied, it is the role of the laboratory to quickly and amicably resolve the issue. The longer the issue remains unresolved, the more frustrated the dentist becomes. Many times unsatisfied dentists disengage from a laboratory not because of a negative incident, but simply because of how it was handled. Nonetheless, every negative situation can present a positive opportunity if handled properly. Always treat the dentist with the utmost respect, whether you agree or not with their position, and attempt to offer a fair solution to make them happy. If the laboratory can rectify a negative circumstance and turn it into a positive experience, this too will reinforce the relationship and leave the dentist singing the praises of the laboratory to their colleagues.
The level of emotional connection and customer service in conjunction with a consistently high-quality product can significantly increase the laboratory’s standing. Dental laboratories and technicians do more than sell commoditized products; we provide services, specialized skills, knowledge, and positive experiences.
It is a great honor and privilege to bring this to you and elevate and inspire with knowledge!