Part Two: Put Your Marketing Where Your Mouth Is

A couple weeks ago I wrote a plea to Disney: Put your marketing where your mouth is.

And Disney did!

After all, they promised they would. At the Disney Institute, I learned about their signature Continuous Improvement Process, which, in part, includes: Listen & Learn, Measure, Act.[1]

I now see the Continuous Improvement Process as a critical part of internal marketing, or the ongoing process of keeping patients happy and loyal. Here’s how it worked in this instance, and what dentists can learn from it.

Listen & Learn

As you read a couple weeks ago, I experienced a brand breakdown when the guest service at Walt Disney World was repeatedly bad. Regardless of my experience, Disney emailed me a survey after my visit.

I gladly completed it, wanting to get a few things off my chest. It’s likely that happy customers gladly completed it too, delighted with their experience.

The bottom line: people love being heard. The lesson here is to survey patients regularly and often. They want you to know what they think. Plus, a simple customer satisfaction survey is a great tool for gauging how the practice is doing and where improvement is needed.


Disney took into account my feedback. It is clear that they measured things in at least three ways:

  1. The timeframe within which the customer would be contacted
  2. The value that the customer lost
  3. The value that the company was willing to replace

It’s brilliant in its simplicity.

A dental practice can use this formula to help stay objective about handling unsatisfied patients. This also helps to prevent over- or undercompensating the unsatisfied patient. Finally, it keeps the dental staff vigilant in following up with the patient in a timely manner. And time is of the essence in these cases.


Within two days of submitting my feedback, a Disney representative contacted me. First, he listened.

This is a crucial first step and is often forgotten. The disgruntled patient simply wants to be heard. Now is not the time for explanation or, certainly, excuses. The best phrase the dental staff can learn for moments like this is, “I understand. Is there anything else?”

Next, he apologized. A simple, “I’m sorry for your experience,” goes a long way.

Finally, he offered me compensation for my loss: two days at a Disneyland resort of my choice.

In my survey, I indicated that I felt like I lost two days of vacation time due to a bad experience, and Disney gave me adequate compensation for that loss. Two days for two days.

The choice was like a little cherry on top of an already wonderful compensation. I get my choice of three different Disneyland resorts. This puts me, the customer, back in control of my buying experience. I feel happy again!

How can your dental practice put the cherry back on top of an unhappy patient’s cake?

[1] Source: Disney Institute, Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence