In his richly illustrated book, The Simple Truths of Service, bestselling author Ken Blanchard takes fewer than 80 pages to explain how any company – or dental practice – can achieve stellar success by treating their customers surprisingly well.
Dr. Blanchard, who has authored or coauthored 60 books, including the mega-bestseller, “The One Minute Manager,” recently was the special guest on Good News Dentistry™, during which he expanded upon the core tenets of outstanding customer service.
- Great service inspires stories
- Great service uses outside-the-box thinking
- Great service is a choice
- Great service starts with a clear vision
- Great service requires that everyone catch the vision
- Great service surprises people
- Great service begins with anyone
- Great service goes the extra mile
- Great service brings customers back
- Great service comes from the heart
Central to Dr. Blanchard’s illustration of outstanding customer service is the story of Johnny the Bagger, a humble, Down syndrome teen working as a bagger at a supermarket who, along with 3,000 other frontline service employees, had attended a speech by Dr. Blanchard’s coauthor, Barbara Glanz, on building customer loyalty.
“I liked what you talked about,” Johnny told Glanz after her speech, “but I didn’t think I could do anything special for our customers. After all, I’m just a bagger.”
Not only did Johnny figure out a way, but he also became a customer service role model for millions of people who’ve heard his story or read Dr. Blanchard and Glanz’ book, which notes on its cover that it’s “Inspired by Johnny the Bagger.”
In brief, Johnny – with his dad’s help – printed and began inserting “Thought for the Day” quotes in each sack of groceries that he bagged, personally signing the back of hundreds of the quotes daily.
About a month after Johnny began distributing his daily quotes, the supermarket manager in the store where Johnny worked noticed that the line at the checkout counter where Johnny was stationed was three times longer than at any of the other counters.
When the manager tried to steer customers to the available checkout lines, they refused to budge. “We want to be in Johnny’s lane,” they explained. “We want his ‘Thought for the Day.”
As Dr. Blanchard emphasizes to Good News Dentistry™, anyone – and everyone – can deliver the kind of customer service that people will – at least metaphorically – stand in line to experience.
Ducks or Eagles
For dental practices, extraordinary customer service requires the lead dentist to inspire everyone in the office who works alongside him or her.
“If you have a problem as a customer (patient) and you talk to a frontline person, you’re used to talking to a duck,” Dr. Blanchard says. “They go, ‘quack, quack. It’s our policy. Quack, quack, I just work here. Quack. I didn’t make the rules.”
By comparison, when dentists serve as a top-down role model of treating their patients like kings and queens, their team members become birds of a different feather.
“You’re talking to an eagle,” Dr. Blanchard explains, using – among others – Nordstrom, Disney, Wegmans Food Markets (Rochester, NY), Synovus Financial (Columbus, GA), Chick-fil-A, and Southwest Airlines as examples of large organizations that get it right.
Leaders who inspire excellent customer service have what Dr. Blanchard calls “a service heart,” noting that “they’re here to serve, not to be served.” When leaders have that attitude, he adds, it transfers to their colleague and employees.
In his book, The Simple Truths of Service – which has sold well over five million copies since its first issue – Dr. Blanchard notes that Johnny the Bagger could not have succeeded until he was allowed to use the power of his imagination to better service the shoppers. “As a result of his going the extra mile, the entire store became energized and prospered,” Dr. Blanchard wrote.
Dr. Blanchard is interviewed by host Dean Rotbart, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated former reporter and columnist with The Wall Street Journal.
The full Good News Dentistry™ interview with Dr. Blanchard is available for free by clicking on the player below.
Good News Dentistry™ is produced by The Dental Good Life, a proud sponsor of DOCS Education.