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Are We Having Fun?

Mark Kissling on conveying joy to clients despite our troubled times.

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Mark-Kissling

MY ORTHODONTIST’S OFFICE is the most positive work environment and customer experience I have ever encountered. At the very least, it’s the most fun compared to expectation. Yes, I do have fun when I go to the orthodontist, as crazy as that sounds.

A year and a half ago, my dentist told me I needed braces again or my bite would eventually wear down my teeth to nubs. My reaction? Disappointment and dread. I had already worn braces for nearly three years of high school and had learned to “confuse the pain” by pinching my leg (it does work) while getting the braces tightened.

But old school wouldn’t be necessary this time: Orthodontic technology has advanced significantly in the decades (ahem) since I took algebra. Orthodontists don’t really “tighten” braces anymore, at least not with one painful pull. Properties built in to the wire exert the force evenly over time, and that’s a relief.

Precision Orthodontics always welcomes their patients with unfailing politeness. Dr. Suffield and his outstanding staff of assistants regularly sing along with tunes on the radio with absolutely no inhibition, even while sitting right next to and working with a patient. Now, while Dr. Suffield himself could use some work on his Shakira, you can’t help but feel the enjoyment they constantly convey about their jobs.

On the day my braces were going on, Dr. Suffield asked me, “Are you excited?” This was early in my experience with his office, so I replied, “Uh, not really,” to which he responded with something like, “Oh, well, today’s the day your teeth start moving where we want them.” And by the end of the visit, after a chorus of “Don’t Stop Believin’,” I said to him, “You know what? I am excited.”

I had gone from being a new customer uneasy about the commitment — hygienically and, let’s not forget, financially – to a trusting client who had fully bought in, which, at the very least, will ensure a winning smile to my grave: “He had such wonderful teeth…”

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All of us reading this face the challenge of bringing along customers who are reticent to commit to sign packages they know their businesses need, but are reluctant for whatever reason. The pandemic has been pretty joyless and has curtailed customer interaction to be sure, but if your staff isn’t demonstrating excitement to your clients when they can, you’re missing a vital opportunity to help customers feel not only at ease with their investment, but happy with it.

What’s that? Why am I not wearing braces in the photo above? I confess: It’s a little out of date — like many people’s — but that’s a subject for another time. Have fun!

Mark Kissling is Signs of the Times’ Editor-in-Chief. Contact him at [email protected].

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