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Inside Dental Technology
November 2022
Volume 13, Issue 11

Communication Is Still Key

While we live in a technological world with a plethora of advanced tools like the ones featured throughout this issue, the art of interpersonal communication has been diminishing. We have wonderful communication platforms, but are we receiving or truly appraised of the intended communications? Software may populate a questionnaire automatically for ease of use by the laboratory, but is the information transfer occurring the way our clients want to communicate with us? Dental laboratory technology is a medical device/product-driven profession, but we must be mindful that it is also very much a service profession, so we must pay close attention to the needs, wants, and expectations that our clients express through communication.

There are many actions laboratory owners and managers can take to ensure their communication practices—outwardly and internally—are occurring in ways that best serve their clientele, staff, and business. A simple rule of thumb is to place yourself in your client's shoes and go through the process. If it does not meet your standards, then it most certainly will not meet your clients' standards, and you may be losing relationships and revenue, unknowingly.

When a dentist-client calls the laboratory, do they get a live person immediately, or a call center outside the laboratory? Or, worse, "Please leave a message"? How long is the queue before their needs are met? Is there a single source of information or does the client need to be transferred around a few times to obtain resolution? Pictures are powerful and can speak thousands of words; when a client submits photographs, is it immediately communicated back to them that a technician is viewing them, or may it take a week to respond with a question from the technician? What would you feel is acceptable if you were the client?

A personal, practical, and recurrent audit of all your customers' touch points will help you navigate and consistently reach for excellence in service with your clientele. Production demands can be managed numerically with ease, but are you managing the human element and communication with your clients at their service expectation levels? The good news is that most people do business with others who have similar expected levels of service and outcomes, so the best litmus test is yourself. You have the ability to make necessary changes to protocols and meet your dentist clientele at their service expectations, and hopefully exceed them.

Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT

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