Are you consistent at “The Front of the House”?

by Larry Emmott on May 5, 2020

in Management

Consistency is the building block of trust.

Fine diningI found this idea in a newsletter called Opticall, the article compares a fine five star  restaurant to a dental practice.

I have never worked in food service so all of this was news to me. The analogy is more accurate than I might have imagined and offers some great insights into how we can improve our service.

Fine restaurants designate two primary parts of the business, the heart of the house and the front of the house. The heart is the kitchen, the chef and the actual food. The front of the house is the service, the ambience, the experience. On the surface a restaurant is about food but we all know that if the experience is lousy it does not matter how good the food is we will probably not return to that restaurant.

We also want consistency. If the food is great one time but not the next, or the service is erratic we again will look elsewhere.

We have a very similar situation in the dental office. The heart of the practice is the clinical area, the treatment room, the equipment and the doctor. The front is the business office, the reception area, the service, the experience.

We can deliver an excellent clinical result but it is the experience -the front of the house-that people remember. The first phone call, the first impression walking in the door, consistent communications are what makes the practice comfortable. Consistency inspires trust.

If you are hungry you can grab a pre-cooked burger from the lunch truck for a few bucks. Why on earth would you pay hundreds of dollars for a meal at the five star Chez Maison Bistro? Food is food.

Of course we pay more because it is not the same. Food is not food, there is a difference in both he quality of the meal and the experience. If people think a dentist is a dentist why would they pay more for one over another? They will pay more if they believe the experience is worth more.

As professionals dentists are rightly concerned with clinical excellence and go the great lengths to deliver exceptional results. On the other hand they often neglect the front of the house. They settle for good enough when it comes to communication and customer service.

Fine restaurants actually have two different managers. One, the chef, for the heart of the house and another, the GM, for the front of the house.

If you want to be memorable, if you want to be a “professional” worth more than the “provider” down the street, clinical excellence is just the start. You also need to provide a consistent excellent experience at the front of the house.

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