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A Trip to the Dentist

This week, a member of my team had dental work and it got me thinking about our organizations and customer service to twentysomethings. Since we have so many students in this age range, it turned out to be a good thought exercise for me as I considered our service. Britney is 26 years old, and she just moved to the campus. She was having trouble with her bottom right wisdom tooth, so she began looking online for dentist.

Britney started her search by looking online. This begs the question: how many of us have Yelp and Google pages for our business? For those who do, how well are we monitoring them? Is our correct contact information posted? Are the offices hours up-to-date? Do we have an offer posted on the page for new customers? And have we responded to feedback listed on the page? These are all questions we need to answer to serve customers in the digital age, especially twentysomethings who innately turn to their smart phones to find an answer.

She was only having trouble with one of her bottom wisdom teeth, so Britney’s plan was to have only the bottom teeth taken out. Like many people, she was apprehensive about having dental work done, and wanted to do was only absolutely necessary. When she went to the first dentist she found, she was told that she did not have the option of taking only the bottom two teeth out. The dentist office explained that it was best to do all four teeth at once and would not give her the option to extract just the bottom teeth. Understandably, Britney decided not to do business with that dentist since he was trying to force her into removing all four. Rightly or wrongly, his inflexibility led her to conclude that he was more interested in the bottom line than in her concerns.

Britney had a much better experience with the second dentist. He did a much better job of understanding her apprehension, listened well, and got her business.

Rather than pushing her to have all four teeth extracted, the dentist explained the benefits of doing it all at once but left the decision to Britney. He recognized that her apprehension was a potential barrier, and calmly walked her through the process. Giving her control was critical to getting her business.

Britney had her wisdom teeth pulled yesterday and is satisfied with the work that was done. She is resting at home, with some pain, and had all four wisdom teeth removed—yes, all four teeth! A day or two before the procedure, she decided to have them all extracted was the best approach for her. And the dentist with the up-to-date Yelp page, who listened and understood the potential barrier to getting her business, was able to serve her this time and could have Britney’s business for a very long time.

Written by Dr. Drake Levasheff

Drake Levasheff, PhD, Senior Director, Murrieta Regional Campus Azusa Pacific University.

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