Your highest priority is delivering an outstanding patient experience. That means providing excellent care and treatment and ensuring that the entire customer journey from scheduling the appointment to the visit and ultimately to billing and payment is smooth and efficient. It’s simply not enough to be a great dentist. After all, you are in the service business, which makes customer service paramount to patient retention and practice growth. Here’s a short overview of how customer service has evolved … and in some cases, devolved.
A Brief History of Customer Service
Ever since the introduction of the famous, or should we say, infamous, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems in the 1970s, customer service has been fueled by technology. Call Centers, which emerged a few years later, offered companies the opportunity to handle large volumes of customer inquiries. With volume came the search for cost reduction, which led to outsourcing call centers, a practice internet service/cable television providers, utility companies, media companies, and others embraced and adopted into their business model much to the consternation of their customers.
As the internet gained dominance, technological advancements came relatively quickly in the 1990s to include email, instant messaging, and chat. The new millennium introduced customer support software from giants like Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce, providing contact centers with a wave of cloud-based solutions. Chat, virtual assistants, and other customer service applications offer myriad ways for companies to attempt to address customer issues.
Technology has assuredly made our lives easier, but it can be a double-edged sword if a company relies too heavily on it or under invests in providing its customers with the level of service they expect.
The Customer Experience is a Top Priority … or is it?
According to a recent Accenture survey, 90% of business-to-business B2B leaders say that customer experience is crucial to their companies’ strategic priorities and success. Customer experience includes creating a personalized, omnichannel experience and building lasting relationships while providing convenient, digital solutions. It also means focusing on employees because engaged team members are more effective and deliver better overall support. It’s not enough for companies to say they deliver great customer service; they must invest in their processes and people.
The same holds true for dentists, and for that matter, companies like Curve that serve the dental industry. Making customer service central to their businesses is essential to earn loyalty and ensure growth.
How Customer Service Relates to Software
as a Service (SaaS)
Curve’s cloud-based practice management software is delivered via a SaaS model. This means that Curve hosts dental practices’ data, provides ongoing software updates, and makes both available to customers anytime, anywhere they have an internet connection. At the center of Curve’s SaaS solution is world-class customer service, which we believe is the whole point of the SaaS model. Because we only have one version of our software, we invest all of our resources against that single platform. In the context of customer support, our specialists see everything a practice sees if they experience an issue. There’s no need for a practice to replicate the problem because we can view it in real-time. This typically means that we can help our customers very fast, which to a busy office is a significant benefit.
Speaking of speed, our support team answers the phone within a minute, and on average, resolves the issue within eight minutes. We track these metrics because we know that fast resolution is at the core of great customer service, and we must continue to deliver this level of responsiveness. Our customers typically call us during regular business hours because they know we won’t interrupt workflow, something that offices using server-based dental practice management software can’t do. These practices must rely on the availability of IT consultants or have no choice but to address the problem after their workday because they can’t drop everything waiting for lengthy resolution. That’s assuming that customer support will answer the phone versus its voicemail system, telling them how important their call is!
Curve invests in maintaining 5-star support because we believe any cloud-based software company that isn’t providing this level of service is not using their customers’ monthly subscription fees responsibly. In addition to phone support, customers can create a support ticket which we answer promptly, or they can access our knowledge base found in Curve Community within Curve. This enables customers to contact us the way that works best for them. Doesn’t that sound like the definition of effective customer service? When a company invests in customer service, they invest in their customers. In our particular industry, the software is only as good as the company that stands behind it.