Why We Do What We Do
At Lake Oconee Dentistry, we take patient feedback very seriously. In fact, every patient that comes in for an appointment – be it a routine cleaning or a more involved procedure – receives a survey when they leave asking about their experience in the office that day. While this simple survey is only seven questions long, it’s actually a critical part of what we strive to do here at Lake Oconee Dentistry.
When our son Spencer was just a toddler, he needed surgery. Putting a toddler through a grueling event like this is never fun, but in his case, it was necessary. We found a doctor in Athens who performed the surgery when Spencer was three years old. Unfortunately, the procedure failed. It sounds simple to say that, but this failure actually resulted in a full week’s worth of pain for our child. He cried inconsolably for days, and David and I felt awful.
Several months later, we found another surgeon in Atlanta. During the initial consultation, I found myself liking the doctor and feeling that this was the right decision. But when I went to leave the office, something went wrong.
It has been said before that while people may not always remember what you said to them, they will remember how you made them feel. 10 years later, I can still vividly remember how I felt as I walked out into the main reception area of that practice. Not only was I dealing with a heavy dose of “mom guilt” after the first failed surgery, the office staff there literally ignored me. I stood in the middle of the waiting area with a clueless expression on my face – I had no idea what to do next. I wanted to schedule the surgery (and could have used a little reassurance in the process), but not one person acknowledged me. Maybe they were swamped at the moment and had other things going on, but it felt like a slap in the face to me. It felt like they didn’t care at all about me or my son.
In that moment, I made a knee-jerk decision. I walked out of the office and chose not to use the doctor – a decision that was 100% based on the fact that I didn’t feel acknowledged and valued. Instead, we chose another surgeon – and the procedure failed a second time. Another week of excruciating pain for our son followed.
In the end, the third surgery was what finally worked, and that surgery was performed by the very same doctor whose office I walked out of months earlier. We failed to choose the best doctor for the job and put our son through an additional, failed procedure, all because I had an awful experience with her office staff. It’s a regret that still brings tears to my eyes.
But here’s what David and I learned from that experience – we vowed never to put our own patients in that very same position. We would hate for someone to walk out of our office who did not receive the top-level treatment they deserve because they weren’t made to feel heard, respected, valued, and acknowledged.
Great patient experiences don’t just happen. They’re created. It takes a regular investment in team training and constant assessment to ensure that a practice is delivering at the highest level possible. That’s why we place a lot of emphasis on the continual training of our 22 team members. Not only are they trained to the highest clinical standards possible, but they also undergo regular customer service training in order to deliver the best patient experience.
Scheduling this training isn’t easy. We have to intentionally make time for it, lest it be overshadowed and forgotten in the day-to-day details of running a dental practice. That’s why we close the office once every quarter for office-wide training. We also close our doors every Thursday from 1:00-300pm so that each member of the team can attend a weekly meeting and training to ensure that they’re expanding their patient base, solving issues that arise, and keeping patients as the top priority.
Finally, we survey every patient who walks through our doors. We read every single survey – both the good and the bad – so that we can make changes and continually improve.
It takes a lot more than luck to ensure that the negative experience we had in a doctor’s office will never be the experience that you have at our practice. While it requires some extra effort on the front end, we do it gladly because we love our patients, and we think you deserve nothing less than the best when it comes to your healthcare.