This is a basic requirement for providing good and reliable service.
We work in a dental clinic - but how often do we smile ourselves?
Research into facial expressions has shown us that we are attracted to happy people. Happy people affect our autoimmune nervous system. When we see a smiling face, endorphins are released and we often find ourselves smiling.
In other words, we ourselves become happier when we are together with other happy people.
Prerequisites for good service in the dental clinic
Humans have a strong herd mentality.
One of the important conditions for being part of a group is not to stand out too much. This is why we are extremely good at mirroring the behaviour and moods of those around us.
If we are surrounded by angry and negative people, we become angry and negative ourselves. Both in our professional and our private lives.
As good service is associated with happiness and positive emotions, we must first of all make sure to increase the amount of positive energy in our workplace.
Facial expressions trigger emotions
American brain researcher Richard Davidson has tried to map the mechanisms by which people infect each other with emotions. His research shows that our brain's mirror neurons decode and reflect the emotional expressions of other people. Not just in our external expressions, like facial expressions, but also in our own emotions.
Roughly speaking, mirror neurons read another person's facial expressions. The expression is processed and translated subconsciously in our brain, which then sends signals to our own facial muscles to adopt a similar facial expression. What's remarkable about the research is that the facial expression triggers the same emotion in our own body as the person we're reading.
So there is scientific evidence that emotions do in fact infect others. We simply understand other people by copying them.
Not only do we become infected by the emotions of our fellow human beings, we pass on those same emotions to other people. In this way it is shown that we can infect through the 3rd link.
For example, if we have a conflict with our spouse, we will be infected by his or her mood. We take our moods to work and thereby infect several colleagues and patients.
Colleagues and patients are thus indirectly influenced by our private conflict and will therefore tend to become more confrontational themselves.
In this way, an emotion triggered by a conflict at home could spread to many, many other people.
The example here was relatively negatively charged. However, it could also have been positive. It is not only the negative emotions that are contagious, but also the positive ones. However, it should be mentioned that we are more affected by the negative emotions, as they can be expressions of danger. As the human brain is coded to be extremely sensitive to danger, expressions indicating danger therefore carry more weight than positive emotions.
The importance of emotions for the service in the clinic
With this knowledge, it is really important that we think about our own behaviour every day we come to the practice. Whether we like it or not, our behaviour and emotions will infect everyone around us.
The challenge is that we are also infected by our own environment. So if we are surrounded by negative emotions in private, it will be picked up by our staff. They will be infected by some of the emotions we carry with us from home and in this way pass the emotions on to the clinic's patients. Let's just be honest... This is rarely perceived as good customer service.
Our own choices affect others
The first few times you read this, it may be obvious to push it away with the attitude that we can't do anything about it, as we don't control our environment. That is the easiest solution. We can ignore it and pretend nothing happened.
However, it turns out that by being aware of our own behaviour, we can actually do something about the emotions we let ourselves be infected with and pass on to others. If we are aware of our own feelings and behaviour, we can change a negatively perceived feeling into a positive response.
The influence of smiles on the experience of customer service
One of the most important things for positive emotions is the smile. If you smile a big, beautiful, healthy smile, you are literally spreading good, positive feelings. That's one reason why so many people want straight white teeth.
Isn't it amazing that one of the things we, as dentists, help our fellow human beings to achieve on a daily basis, has the greatest possible impact on other people's moods?
In addition to smiling at others yourself, it's important to look for opportunities to give compliments. I know this can be extremely difficult for most europeans. Our culture makes it difficult to compliment others. We are not used to giving compliments. Especially if we come from rural areas.
Compliments are just a catalyst for good mood in those we give them to. It's not easy, but if we set ourselves the goal of giving a compliment to every person we meet in a day. Then it can actually be done. So I encourage you to give it a try. Start with an easy goal - for example, give a compliment to at least one patient a day.
Notice the reaction of the recipient. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Because usually the compliment will give a positive feeling to the recipient... and guess who gets infected with it😊
The influence of our environment
Negative emotions can occur anywhere.
News on TV and newspapers
The more negative emotions we surround ourselves with, the more we become infected by them. This makes it increasingly difficult for us to maintain the positive emotions that are so important to ourselves and to others.
It is therefore advisable to reduce the amount of news and social media consumption. As these tend to have a preponderance of negative stories.
Think about which social contexts exert a negative influence on your life. Be honest with yourself and your peers. Here I should perhaps interject that if you yourself are already predominantly negative, it may not be the best time to fire co-workers, friends and family members.
Enough time for customer service
It's not difficult, or time-consuming, to send a smile. Nor is it difficult to be kind and sincere.
It is challenging, and sometimes time-consuming, to change our circumstances so that we have more energy to be positive.
Often I hear clinical assistants express that they feel so busy that they cannot, in any way, imagine how they can find the time to provide a better sutomer service.
Less stress and higher productivity
How to minimise stress and improve a clinic's productivity at the same time, you can read about on the blog here. Over the past few years, I've written about a number of the elements needed to achieve this. I also run a number of courses that provide opportunities to minimise stress and improve productivity and job satisfaction. Right now, the course calendar is relatively light. Together with an international partner, we are in fact in the process of being able to offer you some fantastic opportunities in 2022. Of course, I'll reveal what that's all about shortly.
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See you in a week.
Many kind regards
Jesper Hatt DDS
T: +45 6127 2228