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Course explains Disney techniques for dental practices

Orlando, Fla.—What’s Disney got to do with dentistry?

Everything if you’re talking about customer service and how it relates to keeping patients happy.

More than 600 dentists, dental team members and business assistants attended the Oct. 9 annual session course, Disney’s Approach to Quality Service. The program, led by facilitator Tom Thomson of the Disney Institute, covered Disney philosophies—including how to anticipate and react to patients’ needs, wants and emotions.

When asked about the similarities between Disney and dentistry, audience members clamored for the microphones.

“We both try to wow our patients,” said one.

“Staying on time” makes patients happy, said another.

According to Mr. Thomson, the two goals Disney strives to reach every day are exceeding guests’ expectations so they come back and cultivating lasting relationships that stretch beyond the initial impression. Happy guests rave to their friends who rave to other friends.

Dental practices can do the same thing.

“Knowing your guests is understanding your guests,” said Mr. Thomson. “Disney’s definition of quality service is exceeding guest expectations by paying attention to details.”

He asked the room to share favorite memories associated with Disney.

One couple talked about getting married at Disney and how the monorail will always be associated with that time. A young mother teared up—happily—as she recalled her 3-year-old son’s first meeting with Mickey Mouse. He asked, “Mickey, can I play with your toys?” Another participant conveyed the joy the Disney experience brought to an ill child who always dreamed of being a Disney princess.

But still, what does this have to do with dentistry?

It’s the same for you, Mr. Thomson told the room. People have emotions before they visit the dentist, during and after. Some of the preconceived notions are that going to the dentist is scary and expensive. With Disney, people can be worried about the long lines and expenses spoiling what’s supposed to be a fun experience.

There are positives and negatives for everything. “It’s impossible to achieve a wow every time, but more often [at Disney] we’re looking to deliver little wows at every touch point and hopefully by the end, we’ll achieve the big wow.”