Four Clusters of Emotions that Can Impact Your Dental Practice – Part 2

Here we continue our discussion of Colin Shaw’s account of the four emotion clusters that can make or break an organization. In this blog we will talk about the Destroying Cluster – Irritated, Hurried, Neglected, Unhappy, Unsatisfied, Stressed, Disappointed and Frustrated – the emotions that you want to circumvent, as they can, as Shaw points out, “cost you money, lost opportunities, and higher costs fixing the problems that result.” The good customer experiences really do benefit your dental practice and poor ones leave thousands of dollars on the table, damaging your brand. We at iDENTIfy would like to help you identify these emotions as they arise,  as well as to offer you some tips that can help you, the dental practice leader, mitigate them.


patient experience pyramid

At iDENTify, we believe that dental practices can effectively identify and address emotions in the destroying cluster by utilizing a reputable, real-time, e-survey platform designed to measure the customer experience ‘locally’ at each office, all year long. Be sure to examine the results locally rather than across the organization, and then take immediate action to remedy problems associated with the destroying cluster emotions. Marketing expert John H. Fleming, the author of Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Experience, has said, “This is critical because customers experience variation, not averages. The variability within a company easily dwarfs the differences between competitors” (from “Why Consistency is the Key to Profitable Customer Service,” Gallup, August 10, 2006). This scenario is diametrically opposed to what you want to attain.

Our 3-year pilot study revealed that dental practices impacted by destructive emotions tended to attract a greater number of low-value patients, the ones shopping around thinking of price rather than value, and the first ones to demand a full refund when the slightest thing goes awry. At no surprise, Shaw notes that these emotions are associated with “short-term spending.” We’d like to point out that short-term spending is the kind that’s often characterized by risk and uncertainty and ultimately results in the shuttering of many dental practices.

We recommend implementing the following strategies for your dental practice: first, identify the “destroying emotions.” Then empower and coach your staff to resolve as many of them as possible, and as quickly as possible, via increased communication with patients. Identify stress triggers and do everything in your power to reduce stress to a healthy manageable level. Next, discuss customer experience gaps in daily huddles and seek input from staff on how to improve. In addition to a daily discussion about your customer experience, we at iDENTIfy recommend the implementation of a fully automated e-survey platform. From our experience, most patients won’t confront you with their concerns but many, particularly millennial patients, are happy to provide your practice with information through such a platform. The alternative to not providing patients with a private venue where they can feel comfortable voicing their concerns, is them taking their grievances to social media, for the world to hear!

To conclude: quickly resolving patients’ concerns can help overcome or lessen the impact of the threat the destroying cluster of emotions pose to your dental practice.

Please wait for Part 3 of this series to learn more about this topic.

–Read our other articles on topics such as Operational Excellence and High-Reliability Concepts:

Ten Steps You Can Take Right Away to Improve the Reliability of Your Dental Practice

High Reliability Concepts: Insights of Value to any organization.

Trude Henderson is the founder of iDENTIfy, Inc., a startup elective dental and medical practice improvement software company. In 2016, she was the first to introduce High-Reliability Organizational Concepts to the dental industry. For questions, contact her directly at Follow Trude on LinkedIn: (no email required)

Go to iDENTIfy’s website:

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