Customer Service to Crown it All

I recently had a tooth re-crowned.  The existing crown was old and discoloured, and my dentist and I agreed it was time to replace it.  Dentistry is an intimate practice – after all, you have to have faith and trust in anyone who is going to put a high-speed drill inside your mouth!  I’m pleased to say that my current dentist has never given me anything but top notch work and a good experience.

Once all the measuring and mould-taking for my new crown was done, I was sent along to the Dental Technician for colour matching.  By the time I left, I had formed two very distinct impressions about this man:-

a) he was clearly a very talented, dedicated artisan, who spent at least 25 minutes photographing, sketching and notating the smallest mark and detail of my teeth so that the crown would look natural. The results I saw a week or so later confirm this impression.

b) He had the poorest customer service skills I have experienced in a long time! With a grudging grunt of a greeting, he left me standing by his desk, not even offering me a seat, while he drank his tea (again, without offering me any), worked on another job, and had conversations with his colleagues.  Then he answered the phone, still leaving me standing at his desk, and without a word of apology went for a long rummage in a filing cabinet to answer some query.  If I hadn’t actually physically blocked his return path, he would have continued to ignore me, sat down in his seat again and carried on his work.

All of which got me thinking.  Of course, I wasn’t this man’s customer.  His customers are Dentists, and I presume he either offers them great customer service, or skills and prices that are so good they are willing to overlook his behaviour.  Perhaps it never occurred to him that I was a customer too, one who was spending a large amount of money for this service.  I was just the object to be sketched and photographed.

Which brings us to the question – who are your customers?  Presumably you know the answer to that.  But who are your customers’ customers?  Are you also giving them the service they expect?  And even more pressing, how do you ensure that any third parties you use give your customers the experience you would like them to have?

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