At Wessington Way Dental Practice, we have been providing patient -centred family and cosmetic dentistry since opening our modern, purpose-built practice back in 2001.Since opening, we have grown from strength-to-strength and now have a patient base of over 3000 private and membership patients, despite recent difficult economic times. We attribute this success to the outstanding quality and service that our team provides to each and every one of our patients.We are delighted to have been re-accredited with the Customer First award, the latest in a long line of practice achievements! Our awards include: Investors in People, British Dental Association’s Good Practice Award, Focus Awards for Innovations in Patient Care and Patient Involvement, Probe Awards for Best Practice Environment and Dentist of the Year, Investors in People Awards for Best New Business and Best Small Business and a Picker International Award for Patient Centred Care.
What made you choose to go for Customer First?
Our Practice’s vision is to be the most patient-centred practice in the country. In order to achieve this vision, we must continuously improve our customer service. Reapplying for Customer First, allowed us to benchmark the way we work against reputable national standards.
What did you hope to get out of the Customer First accreditation?
As well as being a useful benchmarking tool, we hoped that the Customer First award would help to set us apart from our competitors resulting in the attraction of new patients and instilling confidence in our current ones.
How did you and your team feel about the assessment?
Most of the team had been through the process previously so were reassured that there was nothing to be concerned about. We have three trainee nurses who were a little apprehensive by the idea of being “interviewed”. We held two sessions, prior to the assessment, where we discussed the Customer First standards and what they may be asked by the assessor.
After the assessment, the trainees said that their concerns were unfounded. The interviews just feel like a natural conversation. Our assessor, Mike, was excellent at putting people at ease.
How did you and the team feel when you were told you were compliant?
Whilst we were confident that we would meet the standard, we did breathe a little sigh of relief! It is a good feeling to be recognised for the service that we are proud of.
What recommendations and feedback did you get from your assessor?
The feedback was excellent, very positive. It was recommended that we look at our performance review process in order to get the absolute best out of our team.
How has the feedback and recommendations impacted on your organisation?
We wanted to celebrate our good news with the whole team, and thank them for their efforts so we bought everyone cream cakes (I know, shocking for a dental practice!)
We have taken on board the comments about our performance review system and asked the team for their input on how the system could be improved. These suggestions are currently being reviewed to be incorporated in to the system.
Have your customers commented on any recognisable changes or improvements to your service delivery? And if so, what have they said?
We survey our patients on a regular basis asking about all aspects of our care and service. We are pleased to say that these results are always very favourable.
How have you and your staff benefitted from going through the Customer First journey?
The biggest benefit to the team has been the boost in confidence resulting from recognition for a job well done.
What recommendations or Top Tips would you give other organisations just starting out on their Customer First journey?We would recommend others to embrace the experience. Customers ought to be at the heart of any business and it is only by taking an honest look at the way you do things that you will be able to improve and grow.
Within your industry, what challenges do you face and how has Customer First supported them?
Dentistry is a very heavily regulated industry and it is easy to get “bogged down” in red tape. Customer First allows you to keep the customer at the fore front of your mind when making any business decision. By doing this successfully, we always treat patients as individuals, not numbers.
Why would other organisations in your sector benefit from the Customer First process?
We are the first and only dental practice in the country to have gained the Customer First Award. Whilst we are very proud of this, we can’t recommend enough for other health care organisations to go for it.
Health care organisations, as a whole, do not have a very good reputation when it comes to providing a high standard of customer service. By applying for Customer First, as well as setting yourself apart from competitors, it could potentially help to improve the reputation of an industry.