October 9, 2022
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When I was a child my parents took us to a small Italian restaurant in the next town, Il Villagio. There must have been fewer than 8 tables in the entire place. The food, cooked by Momma in the back, was amazing. There was a menu but there was always something ‘special’ too. The servers, all family members were helpful, friendly, and fast.

We had some dietary restrictions, which they always respected and accommodated. It seemed as if they knew what we wanted before we asked. They knew our quirks but never acted as if they were an inconvenience.

Eventually, we knew all the servers’ names and they knew ours. Walking in there, felt like visiting a relative, warm, homey, comforting and most of all, DELICISIOSO!

As a teenager, and I was able to drive, I took all my dates there. Walking in and being greeted by “Michael, how are you?” by any one of the staff always made quite an impression. I felt like a million bucks. And of course, the food never disappointed.

If my date met the staff’s standards, I would get a visit from Momma. She wanted to check out my date. There was no better feeling than knowing that Momma was looking out for me in more than just the food she served. When she gave my now wife the thumbs up, I just beamed. She really cared about me.

I’ve had some excellent customer experiences but never any as warming as in that little Italian Restaurant. Just thinking of it now, makes me smile and awash in an endorphin glow.

Small has its advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps the ideal is to be big and act small. That’s what’s behind the Four Seasons Hotel chain’s success. Maybe that’s what attracted Bill Gates to be a majority (71.25%) investor.

Boomers might remember the TV show ” CHEERS“. It’s theme song, “Where everybody knows your name” captured some of the emotions that resonate with people who seek out “small”. That was the feeling I had in “Il Villagio”. It made me feel special.

That’s the secret sauce behind the Exceptional Patient Experience. No matter how big, no matter how busy, no matter how stressed, letting the person in front of you or on the phone know that they are special by giving them individualized, personalized, caring attention, is a gift. It’s a gift you can give, and a gift when received by a patient, is reciprocated by their saying ‘YES’ to your best care, referring others to the practice, and returning year after year.

Exceptional Patient Experiences are becoming rarer by the minute. AI, as much as it might try to be personal can never be as caring or empathetic as another human being. That presents a wonderful opportunity.

If you’re thinking of reducing dependence on PPOs, this can be the ticket.


Consistent with trying to help our coaching clients and their teams achieve that goal, we’ve renamed our weekly newsletter; “Exceptional Patient Experiences”.

Don’t get the newsletter? There are 2 ways: Become a member of the Coffee With The Coach program or sign up for one of our coaching and/or consulting programs.

To exceptional patient experiences,

P.S. This month’s webinar, on Thursday October 27th at 8:30 PM ET will be “TAKING THE FRIGHT OUT OF SCHEDULING”

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Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

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