So, like most people, I loathe the dentist. Recently, I’ve come to loathe them even more. To avoid a long-winded post, here’s the gist: about 10 months ago I went to my regular dentist and had a very deep filling done. It continued to hurt. 3 months after that, I went back because the tooth was still so sensitive. I as told that the sensitivity would decrease over time. Instead, I just stopped chewing on the left side. A week ago, I went again. This time complaining of a horrible toothache. Apparently nothing was wrong, but the dentist said a sealant would help. Hah! For the last two nights I’ve been in agony. I don’t think I am a big wuss when it comes to pain, but this hurt like a mother-f. Last night I got all of 2hrs total of sleep – maybe. It was also the first time I’ve considered going to the ER – anything to stop the pain. This morning I decided to get a second opinion and went to a new dentist.
Apparently the previous diagnosis of “it’s nothing” wasn’t quite right. Instead, I have an abscess and need a root canal. Yay for me. Thankfully I’m now on antibiotics and although I dread the root canal, at least I know what’s wrong and what needs to be done.
So, what lessons did I learn? Well, I did learn that although a dentist is trained and you’d like to trust them, they make mistakes and a second opinion is always a good thing. But that’s not the lesson I want to talk about. Instead, I want to mention the lessons I learned that can be incorporated into all businesses.
The second dentist (and the dentist who will now become my regular dentist) sold me by doing two things (other than actually pin-pointing the issue of course):
1. He listened attentively
He quietly listened as I told him the history of the tooth and the various symptoms I’d been having – including the different types of pain (from shooting to throbbing), to the different things I’d noticed (gum swelling when I laid down etc.). He then confirmed things I’d said, making sure he understood what I meant, and asked some further questions to get more details. He was attentive. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated this – the simple act of actually listening.
Listening is key to all levels, and types, of services. As a designer I know how important it is to listen to your clients to really “get” what they want. It’s also a matter of listening to what is not being said as well. Just like the dentist who listened and then asked questions for clarification and details, I have to do the same. I have to ask further questions to make the client think about other details that may be important to the project, but they may not realise. It’s about gathering even more information from them to get a full understanding of the scope and expectations of the project, and, as the expert, I need to cover all the necessary bases.
2. He explained everything in detail
What I really appreciated was how much time the dentist spent explaining everything to me in great detail, and as simply as he could. He even drew a few diagrams so I’d know exactly what was going on. The idea of a root canal is scary (and the cost is another fright!), but having a full explanation of what to expect helps. I now know what is wrong and what plan of action we’ll be taking.
Dealing with clients who don’t know what is involved in creating a website is a common occurrence. Why should they anyway? That’s why they hire us right? So, it’s important that we communicate with them about the entire process and explain exactly what to expect, when to expect it and what everything entails. This way, we are all on the same page, and the client can feel confident in knowing exactly what steps we’ll be taking.
At least I feel confident in my new dentist. If you are in Oxford and need a recommendation, may I suggest Aaron at The Dental Clinic on Queen Street. The root canal is not going to be fun – both physically and for our bank account – but it’s a solution to this heinous pain. For now, I’ll take my antibiotics and hopefully tonight, get some sleep.