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a blog by Chris Barrow

"Every client is a new client"

The actual quote was “every patient is a new patient”, made at the conclusion of today’s dental workshop by the owner of a Liverpool-based dental practice who are making the transition from NHS to private practice.The context was at the end of a gruelling day on customer service and The Patient Journey – gruelling for the delegates as they had suffered 8 hours of my direct feedback on how truly awful their existing customer service systems were “from the outside looking in”.

Over and over again, there was a conversation about how “new” patients could be treated to a different (and somehow better) Patient Journey than those who had been visiting the practice for years.

The existing paradigm is that “we can introduce fancy new customer serice systems for new patients – but the old stalwarts will just pour scorn if we start to make better eye contact, smile, introduce by first name, ask soft-fact questions.”

The new paradigm was mentioned in passing by my client – and I stopped the proceedings and asked one of my support team to write down the phrase he used.

“Every patient is a new patient” – meaning – why not explode the old paradigm – tear up the rule book – and just start treating every patient as if they were a new patient, every time they visit.

This really has me thinking as I sit in Manchester Airport, waiting for a flight to Belfast.

What would it be like if, tomorrow morning, you began to treat every existing client as if they were a brand new client?

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