Last Friday my trip to Wisconsin did not go as planned. My flight was unable to land due to heavy fog in Wausau and my plane had to return to O’Hare. As the hour was late once we finally returned, I was given a voucher for a discounted room at a local hotel. The hotel I was fortunate to get a room at was the Intercontinental Hotel O’Hare. What an amazing place.
Okay, from the shuttle bus driving up the hotel in the dark it didn’t look like much. Just a large concrete box, but stepping through the front door was a modern feast for the eyes with all original artwork throughout. I especially loved the long, sleek counter with white Apple computers and a painting of a biplane soaring through a crystal blue sky.
The group of guests that stumbled off the shuttle from O’Hare was a rather bleary eyed, grumpy bunch. I, for one, had not eaten in close to twelve hours and as any of my friends will tell you, I get grouchy when I don’t eat. The front desk staff had warm smiles and very understanding manners in getting us checked in. As my phone was getting low on charge, they graciously offered to put it on a charger for me as I found my way to my room and to dinner.
Sitting at the hotel bar looking over the late night menu the barkeep recommended a really nice malbec that complemented my meal delightfully.
As I finally stumbled into the bed in my room, I was thrilled to find a mattress that wrapped me in warmth and immediately caused the tensions of the day to flee my weary body. The next thing I remember is the phone ringing for my 6:15 wakeup call.
As business owner’s positive referrals and word-of-mouth marketing is golden. The only way we can hope to receive these recommendations it to create client, and in the case of dental offices, patient experiences that go above and beyond the expectations of our customers. For dental offices, just like at the Intercontinental Hotel, the experience is more than just the core service we receive, it is a compilation of all of the sights, sounds, smells, colors, and textures we encounter. It is reflected in how comfortable both the reception chair is while we’re waiting for our cleaning and the comfort of the dental exam chair itself. It is the impression the hallway gives as we walk toward the operatory for treatment and the play of light against color and texture in the operatory, just like the interplay of colors and textures in the grand lobby of the hotel and the warmth and soothing mood of the overnight room. And, of course, it is the warmth and caring of the staff in helping take away our anxieties and stress with a smile and a kind word.
We hear frequently that the patient experience is not as important in a dental office as in a hotel. We say hogwash. Most people want to be at hotel. It means they are on vacation or the end of their weary work day is near. Visits to dental offices, however, are often filled with trepidation. How the patient is treated and the overall experience he or she receives during that visit will determine how they talk about the experience after they are home. Through careful planning and training we can work to influence this talk to only be glowing reviews.