In LMT's January issue, we reported on our Crown Experiment 2007, a blind study in which identical impressions were sent anonymously to nine different laboratories and the resulting crowns judged by a panel of highly trained dentists and technicians. On a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being "unacceptable" and 10 being "excellent," the scores ranged from 2.8 to 6.0. In addition, all of the evaluators resoundingly said, "I wouldn't want any of these in my mouth."
What shocked us most is that in almost every case, our dentist-consultant who sent out the impressions was a first-time client to these laboratories. Talk about not making a good first impression! One would think that these laboratory owners--most of whom were actively seeking new clients via direct mail--would make a concerted effort to ensure that the first case to this new customer would be their best work.
A few of the laboratories in our Experiment did send the dentist welcome letters, include quality control stickers with the cases and follow up with telephone calls. But the "coffee stains"--anything that gives a customer a negative impression of your business (see main article)--ranged from sloppy model work, not following the prescription, cracks in the porcelain and, of course, the overall poor quality.