One of the things we pride ourselves on most here at DENTALEZ is our relationships with our customers. Nothing exemplifies that better than the over 25 employees that are part of our Senior Manager of Customer Success and Training Pete Johnson’s nationwide Customer Experience team.
Many of you reading this article today have already interacted with someone on our amazing Customer Experience team at one of our locations across the country. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that if you added up the longevity of the various members of this dedicated team, you’d find you were working with a pool of over 320 years of dental industry experience!
We thought you might enjoy hearing a little bit more about the friendly, helpful experts who answer your calls, so we spoke to Pete to learn more about how his crew works with each other and with all of you, to serve and exceed your expectations every day. Then we thought we’d flip the script and instead of sharing testimonials from our clients, we’d find out right from our Experience team what their favorite Customer Experience stories were.
We had a lot of fun putting this one together; we hope you enjoy!
Pete, tell us a little bit about the Customer Experience team and how it operates.
P: Well, our teams are strategically located in facilities across the country, so we can cover a wide range of business hours across time zones. We have call centers in Pennsylvania, Alabama, Chicago and Oregon, and respond to over 500 customer calls every day, beginning at 8 a.m. EST and ending at 5 p.m. PST (8 p.m. EST).
Our team has extensive dental knowledge and customer service experience. Some of our team members have been in their positions for over 20 years ― our most senior team member has been with us for 43 years.
And what kinds of calls does your team handle?
P: We primarily take two types of calls. They might be orders ― our team processes each and every order, no matter how it comes in. So, phone, fax, email, electronic order entry… our team checks each order to input and configure it correctly, and price it correctly, to help expedite the order and avoid delays. We also apply our product expertise to help customers make the best choice ― we think of our team as part partner, part first line of defense, asking all the right questions so customers end up with the right size compressor for their practice, for example. When it comes to our more unique lines like Columbia Dentoform® or Nevin workstations, it can get a little more complicated. We have to get lots of details and work through many checks and balances to help craft an order that really works.
The other type of call is what I refer to as “the technician is upside-down under a dentist's chair, asking ‘what do I do now?’” questions. We never stop at a simple solution ― we get them the help they need fast, but we make sure we get to the bottom of the problem and solve the real issue, not just the top-line emergency.
Did you say your team handles over 500 calls a day?
P: Yes; we’re pretty efficient for what we do. It’s not just volume, either. We keep our hold times way down ― less than 35 percent of our calls even get put on hold, and if they do it’s for less than 2 ½ minutes on average. Because our response time is so fast, we lose very few callers to “abandoned” calls (where clients give up on hold and hang up). Those are really great numbers, especially compared to national averages across our industry, so we feel like we’re doing some of these things pretty well! And we’re always looking for ways to further improve, whether that’s with new technology or improving our own workflow.
Can you give an example of that sort of ongoing improvement effort?
P: Sure! The big push for us right now and through 2022 is what I’m calling a “seamless experience” for the customer. Right now, we have a robust team with a lot of expertise but some of it is fairly specialized. And if that level of expertise only lives in, for example, the west coast office, and a client calls on east coast time with an urgent question, we want to be able to provide the help they need. So, we are doing extensive cross-training across our product lines with all of our staff.
The goal is: whether it’s a dealer technician, a dealer rep, one of our own reps on behalf of a customer, a technician calling with a question or even an end user ― doctor, assistant, hygienist, or manager, and whether that question is about a Forest chair, Ramvac compressor or Star handpiece, we can take care of them. It shouldn’t matter which queue they call into or at what time of day, the person who answers that call should at least be able to take care of them to an intermediate level where we can answer most needs, and then, if necessary, escalate or pass it on to the next level of expertise.
The other benefit is reducing the hold time even more ― if the queue for a specific type of question or product area does get backed up, we can continue to shorten call turnover.
That all sounds good ― but how does it help the customer?
P: We are constantly striving to build on the confidence our customers can feel calling into our service centers. What differentiates us, in addition to our expertise, are these shorter wait times, while then providing above-and-beyond service when you reach us.
Tell me more about above-and-beyond service!
P: Many of our calls might sound simple at the get-go, but in reality, almost every order or service call requires a lot of customized attention. When we’re solving a technical problem, we tackle the problem holistically. We have a record of every single utility machine we’ve ever sold, for example, so we look at the records on that machine and use that unique history to help inform the service it needs.
Now, we’ve taken our customer service to a whole new level with the addition of Aeras to our products. By adding connectivity and sensors on the machine we can do remote diagnostics.
Our Experience team can look at data in real time, so we can see what the problem is ― your mechanical/utility room is too hot, or, your ambient temperatures are fluctuating too much, or, how you’re managing/turning it off and on isn’t ideal. So, we can apply our expertise, backed by data, to really pinpoint and fix a problem fast.
How else does your team play a role in the production of DENTALEZ products?
P: With the breadth of knowledge we carry, we’re the default go-to product experts making sure things are correct in our marketing pieces, order forms, catalogs, and more. And we turn the customer feedback around and share it with our product development people to help refine and inspire the next level of advancement in our products, based on what customers want or don’t want; they may not like the sound of a particular handpiece, or may want to solve a comfort issue, so we think about ways to modify our chairs. We add our capability to the feedback we get and pass that on to product development.
Our Customer Experience team takes an enormous amount of pride in what they do. Here are a few stories they agreed to share, that represent the kinds of calls they take each and every day.
Allen Jochim: Saving an Office from a Day of Loss!
One of our long-time clients called one morning in a panic. When staff had opened the office for the day, their Bulldog vacuum pump wouldn’t run. I ran through the diagnostics quickly ― I asked which indicators were illuminated at the unit control, and if the remote switch indicator was illuminated. That was going to get to the root of the issue fastest.
When they explained that the remote, power and motor indicators were all illuminated I knew how to help. I advised them to reset entirely; that the motor had simply overloaded. I asked if they had any power problems or thunderstorms recently and she did report there had been a lightning storm the night before.
With the reset, the vacuum started running and the staff was so happy. They’d thought they were going to have to cancel an entire day’s worth of appointments.
Literally, as I spoke with her, I could hear other staff members in the background at first discussing cancelling appointments for the day, then cheering with relief when the pump started again. It was really nice to hear such a happy result like that, in real time.
Tony Middleton: Chair Alarm Settings and Going the Extra Mile
I got a call from a concerned field tech that their NuSimplicity chair was showing error codes and none of the presets were working.
I ran through the most common issues that might cause that specific error. I recommended that he put the chair into a specific configuration, with the base in the middle of the movement range and the back in the middle of its movement range and hit reset on the board. Did the alarm go away? Yes. So that was great, but it was really just the start.
Next, to prevent this from happening again, I recommended he tighten specific gears; verify all harness connections were tight (and therefore wouldn’t slip in the connector). Then, we actually had him reset software limits and test the chair to see if he could make the alarm trigger again.
What led me to that procedure was knowing what would cause various alarms on the chair. Fixing it without getting to the root of the issue might’ve led to the same alarm triggering later, which would be really frustrating and unproductive for our client. So, I made sure we walked through all the small issues that could be addressed to help avoid it happening again.
The client was certainly happy, and I felt accomplished for fixing the problem and leaving no trace of it. Verifying the problem had been solved is that extra step we like to take because it’s how we would want to be treated if we were the client.
Kelly Allen: How Reciprocal Relationships with our Clients help us all!
One of our clients was in need of additional HVEs during the middle of the pandemic. Getting parts was increasingly difficult, and we sent him various options in the hopes something could tide him over while we awaited the right parts, but they weren’t doing the ideal job. I made sure to check in and update him regularly, even when I didn't have new news.
He needed a new suction, hose and adapter that would fit his A-dec 511, and we knew that the solution for him would be applicable across all A-dec chairs. We just needed the parts! The minute the materials arrived, we confirmed its compatibility and shipped it that same day. I even made him a quick little tutorial video to help him set it up quickly.
This was the part I liked best actually. Our dentist, the client, was not only appreciative of the Hands-Free HVE solution we sent, but knowing it was a prototype, sent us back a video and specific feedback for what refinements he’d like to suggest and see implemented.
I love that we have these friendly collaborative relationships with our end users, and that we take the real hands-on feedback for what dentists truly need and want and incorporate that right into our product design.
To learn more about the many areas of expertise our friendly, knowledgeable and dedicated Customer Experience team can’t wait to help you with, visit https://www.dentalez.com/customer-experience/.