February 23, 2021

Terrible Tales from the Dentist

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Imagine you had a terrible experience with a dentist when you were younger – they were rough, laid on the guilt thick, and said you needed seven fillings. 

Maybe it isn’t that hard to imagine – it’s hard to think of someone who loves going to the dentist. But this isn’t just your average dental trauma. After that first experience, you get the same guilt-laden, high-pressure dental encounter every time you go. How long would it take you to go back? What would it take to build back trust?

25 Years to Repair the Damage 

I was recently talking with an old friend who had this same experience. A terrible dentist visit in his 20s kept him away for 25 years. At its core, a visit to the dentist is a customer service experience from start to finish. We share the tales of terrible dental visits like oral war stories. It is such a personal, vulnerable experience that terrible customer service is very off-putting. 

In one way or another, clients and customers have to be vulnerable to benefit from a service provider’s expertise. In that state, the service experience becomes vital. Make a wrong move, and you may scare your customer off for 25 years!

Return to the Dental Chair

My friend recently had to go to have a couple of minor dental concerns checked out. Understandably, he was very cautious and nervous about the visit. He was surprised to find a gentle and understanding dentist. He was given no guilt-trip for 25 years away from dentistry. The dental office treated him with kindness and respect. (He also didn’t need any fillings still, 25 years later – that last dentist was a total scam!!)

The fascinating part is this; it took him multiple visits to this new dentist to finally let his guard down all the way. We hold on to bad experiences and internalize them. Read terrible Yelp reviews, and you will see how significant these events can be. 

What Are the Takeaways

Start with excellent customer service because it can be challenging to come back from a significant lapse in service. But if you mess up, and you will, it will take multiple touch points to repair the damage. Bad customer service is exponential to the great experience it will take to correct it. It will take at least three great experiences to overcome one terrible experience.

You may also end up repairing damage to a customer that you didn’t cause. It pays to be sensitive to your customer’s experience so that you can meet them where they are and give them an incredible encounter with your business! Bonus points: if you are the business that turns around a past bad experience, that customer will become an evangelist for you.

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