The Uncommon Smile Doctor Customer Experience
Springfield, Missouri Dentist, Dr. Randi Green, Provides Advanced Care Beyond Teeth
Our practice Manager, Daniel, recently sat down with Zach Hoskins of Client Experience Architect to share what makes the Smile Doctor dental experience so different from other dental offices in Springfield, Missouri.
To see how different we are you might just have to make a reservation.
Client Experience Architect Interview with Zach Hoskins and Daniel Green
Originally recorded in November 2018 and republished in April 2019.
Zach, I would like to begin by diving into your background and story Daniel. Our listeners would like to know how you got to where you are now and how your business started to give some context.
Dr. Randi Green’s Springfield Dental Practice is Like No Other
Thank you, Zach, thanks for considering Springfield Smile Doctor for the Client Experience Architect Podcast.
For Dr. Green and Springfield Smile Doctor, it’s a tale of two stories. I will share a brief bit about my own background and dive more into my wife’s, Dr. Randi Green’s story and how we arrived in Springfield a decade ago.
Who is the Smile Doctor Dental Practice Manager?
For the last 15 years, I built my marketing, advertising, and design career. I had the pleasure of working with small teams in a boutique, intimate setting all the way up to the largest employee-owned advertising agency in the United States. I honed my skills in many different areas working with clients all over the United States.
I have always had a keen desire to design everything around me, and that chance was realized after working with five different marketing agencies in the last 15 years.
My first love is design. At Smile Doctor, we put design at the forefront of our decision-making process. I also enjoyed fostering client and patient relationships, understanding a specific user experience, or working with client and internal teams to utilize business and design strategies for extensive omnichannel projects.
I have been a part of many website and app builds and loved being a part of the process by leading, researching, and designing for those experiences.
One of the pitfalls of any type of designer is that they’re not ingrained into the business side of their decision-making process and genuinely don’t understand the impact of their decisions or designs.
This frustration became crystal clear to me after the birth of our child as I was commuting from Springfield to Kansas City regularly on the same working day and started to see the writing on the wall.
After discussing my next career move with Randi, I never dreamed of coming to work full-time here—with Dr. Green, my wife—at Springfield Smile Doctor.
I had been the guy behind the scenes orchestrating her digital footprint and strategically managing the message and brand.
We talked about it for six months before actually executing the plan, and now I am 7 years into an entirely new career field that I love.
Working with any client in the past, I’ve had to adapt and become a subject matter expert. It was no different with dental and health. The effort of learning a completely new field and adjusting to dental and health was a fulfilling transition.
My wife and I could now keep the same schedule, pick up our kiddo from daycare and not work late after hours.
Some people say, "Man, I could never work with my wife, let alone for her." I tell them that I am proud to work for a strong, smart leader trailblazing her own path into whole-health physiologic dentistry, and she has the skills, training, and knowledge that people near and far are seeking.
Because of this, we have grown closer personally as we decided to share the same space at work together. We do set some boundaries about the amount of “dental speak” at home, but I relish the fact that I get to wake up every day and be a part of the process of changing and transforming someone’s life with her and the smile team.
Now, having the ability to see and be a part of the Smile Doctor brand for the last eight years gives me a purview of the whole process.
Working for my wife’s premier dental practice in Springfield, Missouri, I see the daily impact of how she changes people’s lives and builds long-term relationships with her guests and patients who become part of our dental family.
Dr. Randi Green, Springfield, Missouri, Top Dentist
Now about Dr. Green and the real reason for the interview! She graduated #1 in her dental class of over 30. She possesses multiple awards and honors, she is recognized as a successful and philanthropic female business owner and has been consistently voted by her dental peers as a TopDentist in Springfield for many consecutive years.
Before settling in Springfield, she completed an advanced general dental residency focused on cosmetic dentistry. She also helped kids in a local juvenile detention system to better understand the importance of the impact of their oral health on their quality of life.
After these experiences, she found herself in a suburb of Jackson, Mississippi, working as an associate for another dentist in a large private dental practice.
She was able to serve that community through her skill, but she would often get discouraged at the fact of making people wait stacked on top of each other in a large waiting room.
She often found that dental insurance companies could interrupt the relationship with her patient and ultimately have an insurance company dictate what her patient would or would not do to get healthy.
For someone like her, one year of working for a doctor like that was all she could handle. She set her sights on how to make the most significant impact on the lives of her patients.
So being #1 and having a trailblazer mentality, Dr. Green would not settle for a life of working for any other dentist that didn’t have the same aspirations and uphold the same ideals of health care.
In 2010 we had the opportunity to uproot, move and make a fresh start. She became set on owning and running her practice as she intended to give her patients the best “quality” of care.
After the research phase, a few dental practices stood out. One, in particular, was a doctor practicing in Springfield with a different take on dentistry. This doctor, Dr. Brenda Herrman, was versed in a patient-centered approach to dentistry which was very different from most practices we visited or talked to.
You must understand that most dental offices try to see as many people in one day. This can lead to a lesser quality of care because the doctor or team just can’t spend any time with you. They have to move along to the next guest and so on.
I've even heard of dental offices in Springfield that double and even triple-book their hygiene schedules! I don't know about you, but if I'm number three in line at the same time slot for the same provider for any service, some part of that experience will feel rushed or not done to a quality standard.
Dr. Green has talked about this on the radio, and she wrote a blog about this called "Practicing on Roller Skates."
Dr. Herrman built the foundation of Springfield Smile Doctor, but she ultimately wanted to pursue other goals, so our timing to enter into this new venture was right.
The “Smile Doctor” name has been around since 2000, and we decided to continue and expand the existing brand equity and goodwill when Dr. Green took over the practice in 2011 as the newly minted Springfield Smile Doctor.
One of the lender's stipulations when taking over the practice was that Dr. Green be trained in the same methodology and philosophy Dr. Herrman studied to provide patients with that same continuity of care.
After a lot of soul searching, thinking, and praying, she actually closed her brand new practice for the entire first week to start her journey training at LVI. That took guts and faith!
LVI is the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies which is just north of Las Vegas, Nevada. Here in Summerlin, a charming suburban area north of the strip, she found her real passion - helping people escape the pain of TMJ disorder.
Fast forward to today, and she is the only practicing LVI Fellow in southwest Missouri, and Dr. Randi Green is currently the most highly-trained LVI fellow practicing physiologic dentistry in Missouri.
It’s necessary background information to understand why we’re so different at Smile Doctor and why she pivoted away from seeing as many patients in a day as possible.
Waiting in any waiting room because the dentist or doctor makes hygiene triple book one chair all day is the opposite of how Dr. Green and her smile team view healthcare.
Fast forward eight years later, and we’ve moved the Smile Doctor boutique dental experience into a new location in south Springfield to offer our guests and patients quality care in a more convenient location and a calm, relaxed boutique setting.
Zach, What do you think is most important when it comes to your patients?
Providing them with the very best dental experience possible. Period. From reading our Google reviews and feedback, it's easy to see that our patients understand we’re different in almost every aspect of dental care in Springfield.
You could say that we’re a customer service company that provides premier dental care and services to our patients.
From the first interaction on a text or phone call — to the second a new patient walks through the door, the entire team is well-versed and trained for how to provide a level of customer service rarely seen in health care.
We often share stories among our internal team of good and bad experiences that we all have out in the world with a company or service, and like it or not — one interaction can leave a lasting impression on any brand.
We have 5-star Google reviews for how we handle phone calls, and it really starts there.
I said earlier it’s a tale of two stories, and this is a perfect example of the uncommon Smile Doctor experience. I worked for a large marketing agency that introduced this concept to me several years ago as the (FMOT) or First Moment of Truth — a telephone conversation or an in-person greeting.
I mean, how often do you feel underwhelmed by an experience? I would say it probably leans toward more disappointment than joy. We focus on that one thing, which is actually many small things that make this whole experience that make us stand apart from any other dental experience in Springfield.
There is also a (ZMOT) Zero Moment of Truth. When our guest interacts with our website social media account, those initial interactions, whether they be on the Smile Doctor website (ZMOT) or with a smile team member (FMOT) are critical to helping that guest know that.
- We can help answer their questions accurately.
- Let them know that we enjoy listening to them, then ask questions to assist them in any way we can. Some of our patients who call from all reaches of the country and abroad are floored when we help them on the first call.
It is our dental patients' background stories in Springfield and beyond we’re trying to understand, so we ask a lot of questions. This helps the smile team understand what type of dental visit they seek.
Zach, What touchpoints are most important in your business?
We have so many unique touchpoints that offer patients moments of delight! I will narrow my focus and discuss some important ones to the practice.
I’ll start with what Dr. Green would emphasize as essential touchpoints. Face-to-face interaction and her ability to spend appropriate time with a new or existing patient are paramount. Our new patients routinely stay with our team for one hour, sometimes more.
Her Smile Doctor new patient experience has many touchpoints upon your entrance into the building. The first thing you will notice coming into the office is that we have no front desk!
We have two identical private consult rooms where patients can discuss anything behind closed doors.
She made the decision to go “frontdeskless” to not only reinforce HIPAA regulations but really give our guests and patients peace of mind that they can relax and sit across from a table and be in an equal setting with any smile team member.
All of Dr. Green’s accolades and diplomas are split between these rooms and adorn the walls and 40" led monitors on the wall to review treatment plans or look at her awesome before and after dental transformations.
Rarely do our new patients have to wait; they are met face-to-face in the lounge, greeted by name, and offered any of our amenities before they can even sit in our well-appointed living room.
We also provide them with and show them our other amenities on a brief tour before starting their first dental visit.
I said it earlier, but we view waiting as the opposite of what health care should be. So the first two patient touchpoints we put a lot of thought into are interwoven into the new patient experience, and returning guests benefit from them too.
Since our guests rarely wait on us, we call the intake area our lounge or living room which was designed to have the intent and provide a relaxed, calm atmosphere.
We play light music, use aromatherapy with an essential oil diffuser, offer high-end on-demand coffee, and, many other amenities available in the lounge area and also the guest bathroom.
In the same view, new patients can prominently see the 7 LVI training plaques which only about 1,500 dentists in the entire world possess and of course Dr. Green’s medal for graduating #1 in her class, and more recently she was named to the ‘40 Under 40’ Class of America’s Best Young Dentists in 2019. That really sets the stage for a first visit.
We can also provide continuity of care by having our new patient coordinator be right beside the new patient through their entire visit and act as their concierge.
Our dental concierge is with all new patients from beginning to end and available to answer questions and be the patient’s advocate in listening to them, hearing what they want and, helping them to achieve their goals.
If walking through the door isn’t any different it is this interaction or touchpoint that separates us and allows us to provide exceptional, uncommon care right here in Springfield.
Some other touchpoints as we alluded to earlier begin on the phone. Existing patients that call us are addressed by name when they call,
For example: "Hi, Zach, this is Daniel how many I help you today?"
This usually blows people away the first few times, and then they expect it, and it becomes part of a brand touchpoint.
Zach, What are you doing in your business to create unique experiences for your clients?
The new patient visit from my chair should always be both to surprise and delight. I regularly walk up and speak with patients after their visit and ask them how their visit was today? This can sometimes be a surprise conversation, but we really want to connect with our patients.
- Is there anything we can do to serve you better or have for you at the next visit?
- Did Dr. Green and the team help answer all of your questions today?
- May I offer or make you a beverage before you leave?
We are continually trying to better ourselves, so as you say, we have this cult following of ranting, raving Smile Doctor fans that talk about their dentist, the smile team, and a dental experience that is like none other. That is pretty special for us.
We have a saying that is a mantra here:
"Good is the enemy of great."
I don’t know who said it, but we heard it from a consultant we worked with over the years. It’s one of those sayings that anyone on the smile team can relate.
We delight by offering seasonal items, lip balms, unique types of floss, customized water bottles, all the way down to the appointment card — you really never know.
We have introduced a few new items in 2019 that will help us continue providing those delightful moments to our Springfield dental patients. I can’t spoil it, but you’ll definitely know when you see one if you're a patient on a rainy day.
We regularly hand out gift cards to local businesses and reward patients that talk about us in the community too. We do a bi-annual giveaway during the year to show appreciation to those patients who refer their family or friends as new patients to the Smile Doctor practice.
If a patient were to complete a significant procedure like a smile makeover or finish a substantial dental treatment, we would present a bouquet of beautiful flowers or a personalized happy to send them home that day.
The bottom line is that we do unexpected things to delight and care for our patients!
Another touchpoint that seems so small is that we have been very deliberate about calling a visit to Smile Doctor a “reservation,” not an “appointment.”
The connotation of having a reservation with a Springfield dentist is very different from making a checkup or appointment.
When you make a reservation, you think about excellent restaurants, boutique hotels, or high-end spas. Those service industries call it a reservation and make it a special event.
We aim to make each dental experience at Springfield Smile Doctor not feel like a trip to the dentist. An appointment would be getting the oil changed in your auto, or thoughts of DMV lines come to mind.
Our guests and patients notice this and often comment on it in an overwhelmingly positive way. It’s all of those little things that add up and build into this entirely exceptional Smile Doctor experience.
Zach, How do you know who your ideal client or customer is?
"It’s anyone looking for the best quality of care they can receive."
That is a really great question and easy for me to answer.
So many times we hear from our patients that my medical doctor and other dentists aren't as thorough as Dr. Green in her exam with six screenings to assess health and dental health.
They say, “I saw the doctor for maybe three minutes, and they were gone to the next room.” The national average in 2022 for a medical visit is only seven minutes! That always baffles us, and we give our patients as much of ourselves as possible.
We typically see a few new patients in a day and sometimes just one. But typically see them in the morning and afternoon so we can maximize the time they spend with Dr. Green.
In our opinion, it is an essential piece missing from healthcare, and we really emphasize this to a guest seeking real VIP care.
We are establishing and earning a patient’s trust by building a relationship and letting them know that we use the best materials and best labs and utilize the latest and best 3D dental technology available.
We back it up with the best and most recent dental and health training for the whole team. We use the most cutting-edge innovative techniques and treatment modalities in the 417 area.
Any guest who wants the best quality dental care will receive it and much more at Smile Doctor. More and more, we find that these guests are coming from out of state, and some even fly across the country to see her.
It sometimes feels like we’re this hidden gem to some in Springfield and southwest Missouri, but we treat patients in every state that borders Missouri and those that travel farther.
Through Dr. Green’s sheer level of training and advanced knowledge about the mouth and body connection, we have become a destination in the greater Midwest for many seeking answers and treatment through physiologic dentistry.
Zach, How do you get feedback from your clients and how have you implemented that?
I ask them in person usually, or we send a brief survey to ask them how your Smile Doctor experience was. It’s all about communicating and genuinely having an authentic conversation.
I learn so much about our patients and guests, and as part of my role, I naturally seek these conversations because I love talking with people and learning about their stories.
I never know where the discussions lead, but I have made a lot of friendships by being open and honest.
A lot of times, we get unprompted feedback, and I think those are the most rewarding because you really know the patient had a phenomenal experience and is sharing that with the rest of the world, typically in a digital format in Google reviews, Facebook reviews, handwritten notes, home-made treats. We love our patients, and they love us right back.
Sometimes we take their success stories and turn them into a podcast-style interviews, long-form blogs, and, more recently, videos.
Zach, Have you been intentional about creating a customer experience or has it come more naturally?
Yes, I think the planning of the new office space really showed us, and we started thinking about every detail and being deliberate with choices and placement.
I think for Dr. Green, it definitely comes naturally. She is driven to provide. her patients with the latest innovative dental techniques, products, and whole-health dental treatments.
That’s where the ‘scientist meets artist’ comes naturally to her. She has such a natural demeanor when she’s with patients.
Zach, What other business have you seen that has an incredible client experience?
We look at high-end spas and boutique hotels for inspiration, but we really pay attention to all experiences around us. We pick and choose the best parts of any experience to break it down to see if we can add those memorable moments into any of our systems.
Zach, What has been one of your favorite challenges or failures that you have faced and how have you used that to improve, or how has that actually set you up for later success?
Well, Dr. Green would say she doesn’t believe in failure.
I’ll tell one on her, although this isn't about a failure per se. We have to go way back before she knew dentistry would be her calling, and she really wanted to be an interior designer.
Now, don’t get me wrong, she has an excellent eye for design and paired with my design background, we make a great team.
But in the late fall of 2016, we flew to Dallas and met with our dental supply company, which was furnishing most of our new dental equipment and installation.
We were in their massive showroom all day, surrounded by every dental chair, cabinet, and gadget, and they had it.
It was an off day when no one else was there except our two dental supply representatives and us. After selecting and narrowing equipment and cabinet choices, we were left with maybe two hours to look through many sample and style books to bring it all together before we had to catch our flight back to Springfield.
So picture us in this massive dental showroom outside of Dallas, when the only person there was the front desk receptionist, and we somehow managed in that short time to pull samples, swatches, floors, walls, paint, colors, styles you name it together into this big “style pile.”
A lot of the "pile" flew home with us, probably against the dental company’s designer’s wishes that weren’t there that day, but nonetheless, we quickly realized that we had bitten more than we could chew with our boutique dental redesign.
We were determined not to fail in our own design endeavor but realized that we needed help to bring the vision of our beautiful new office design to life.
I was already managing over a dozen vendors and sourcing other materials for the new office to be the most economical. We agreed that designing it ourselves wasn’t going to work.
Luckily, we knew a few interior designers, and Nola and Pat at Decorating Den in Nixa provided excellent service for our new space.
Nola and her team did a phenomenal job, took our “style pile,” and made sense of our vision to help us provide the best patient-centered care possible.
We look back on it now, almost seven years in the new location, and laugh at how we thought we could do it all. We really could not be happier with how it turned out.
So as a second part, my challenge was moving the entire dental office across town and becoming fully operational while only being down (not seeing patients) for just one week. This really tested my resolve and patience.
When we moved the office in 2017 and planned everything in late 2016, I became the vendor orchestrator. At one point, I managed over 20 vendors and kept the timeline intact to move into this new beautiful space by early April 2017.
Working with talented project managers over my career taught me how to keep everything on track.
Our launch day only really changed once, in mid-January, the contractor and I moved it back a few weeks, but by in large, we were up and fully operational when we said we were going to be.
I didn’t underestimate the amount of work and coordination it would take, but wow, it was a lot of work. Looking back now, it feels like we’ve been in this new space for many years because we took the time to design it how we wanted for maximum efficiency.
The new location is slightly smaller than our other place, but our long-time patients will sometimes comment on the spaciousness.
So pivoting and trusting in others to help us bring the vision together was challenging, especially since Dr. Green and I have such a passion for design. It turned out beautifully, and we couldn't be happier.
Zach, Do you have a quote you live your life by or think of often?
It’s not so much a quote as a mantra. I have had the great pleasure of training and working with trainees or apprentices who have all gone on to be highly successful, and I all told them this:
"NEVER. STOP. LEARNING."
The second you become complacent, or comfortable is when you fall back and lose a step. I have taken this approach in my career.
Now I really enjoy coaching and finding opportunities for our dental team family to always train, learn, or experiment. Sometimes they look at me funny when I come at them with a new idea or approach, but they have come to expect it from me.
Zach, What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Be open to what feels right and trust your gut more. And if something doesn’t feel right, you have the power, knowledge, skill to change it. I’ve always been highly adaptable, but maybe go back and tell my past self that - I’ve been a sponge soaking in all this knowledge and gained valuable experience in my 15 years in the workforce, so maybe I would say
"Hey Dan, you’re going to need a bigger sponge."
Zach, What is one key takeaway from our conversation for our audience to implement regarding customer experience?
Treat everyone who calls or walks through the door with kindness and respect. Treat them as you want to be treated, and listen more than you speak. For us, that means providing an uncommon, exceptional dental experience from the first interaction until they meet their Springfield dentist, Dr. Green.
Zach, Are there any exciting projects or new things you have coming up soon that you would like our listeners to hear about?
Yeah, there are a few.
One is physiologic orthodontics. Dr. Green utilizes an orthodontic technique called physiologic orthodontics that can correct disharmonies that form during growth and development.
I am going through treatment right now. It is one of the reasons we’re becoming a highly sought-after destination for those that want to avoid surgery. Not a lot of doctors understand this, but science shows us that we can do amazing things with kids, teenagers, all the way up to adults. Dr. Green has patients in their 50’s, 60’s, and even 70's!
Some of Dr. Green's patients say it's like getting a facelift from a dentist.
It is indeed a life-changing treatment. I can go on about my treatment, but Dr. Green answered her top questions about TMJ pain and treatment modalities on our website and Vimeo account.
We also have hired team members to serve our patients better. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for her and the Smile Doctor team. We are very deliberate about making any changes, and we are excited to continue growing and adding unique services for our patients.
Zach, How can people get in contact with the Smile Doctor?
- They can find us online at springfieldsmiledoctor.com
- On the Smile Doctor Facebook and Instagram, we use the hashtags #smiledoctor and #sgfsmiledoctor #beyondteeth
- Watch videos on our Vimeo account, vimeo.com/smiledoctor, or the Smile Doctor YouTube channel.
Thank you, Zach!