Have you ever looked forward to a trip to the dentist? Probably not.

Why? Is it because you associate the visit with pain? Is it the amount of time spent waiting in the reception room and then in the chair?If you could feel no pain and wait less than five minutes in the waiting room, would it change your attitude? It has mine.

Dr. David M. Adamson, D.D.S., and his staff are very customer oriented. When I make an appointment with Dr. Adamson, the receptionist will offer me the first available time and will ask me if I would like to be contacted if there's a cancellation before my appointment. Then the office calls me the day before to confirm the appointment to make sure I'm still planning to come in.

The minute I walk in the office I am greeted, by name, with a warm smile and a hello from the receptionist. I am asked to have a seat in the waiting room, but before I can open up a magazine, I am called to come back. In the past 15 years that I have been going to Dr. Adamson, I have never waited longer than five minutes to be assisted. This is usually less time than it takes to order through the drive-up window at a fast food restaurant.

As I am seated in the chair, there are always assistants there to keep me company. They will clean my teeth and prepare me to be examined by Dr. Adamson. They are always friendly and makes sure that I am comfortable. They will bring me magazines to read or headphones to listen to. They'll even put in a video for me to watch.

When Dr. Adamson comes in to examine my teeth, he always pats me on the shoulder a engages in light but meaningful conversation. He makes sure that I am comfortable and relaxed before checking my teeth. He lets me know what he is doing every step of the way. If there is a major decision to be made, he presents me with all of my alternatives.

Do you get a discount when you pay your dentist? Dr. Adamson offers a discount to all patients who pay in full the day of their appointment. I am handed a receipt whether I pay or not so if I have any questions about my bill, I can get answers right away.

Dr. Adamson and his staff treat their patients with courtesy and respect. He isn't the least expensive dentist the Salt Lake area, but he is comparable in price. The service and the treatment from the staff are well worth the cost. They make me feel as if they care and that I am their top priority while in their office.

In doing some research, I have found some evidence to support the way I feel when I'm at the dentist. In the April 1991 issue of Bank Marketing, several managers were interviewed to find out what made their businesses so successful. They came up with 100 of the best ideas about customer satisfaction and service quality. Here are a few of the points mentioned in the article:

- Total commitment to the customer.

- Look the customer directly in the eye, smile and say thank you.

- Respect! Respect! Respect!

- Treat the customer with sincerity and courtesy. Abide by the "Golden Rule."

- Have a caring attitude that you instill in your employees.

- Remember: "Customers come to you for what you do, but they remember you for who you are."

- Find the customer's need and fill it to the best of your ability.

As a small-business owner myself, I am convinced that if these points are taken seriously and implemented, then my business is going to succeed. Customers are the key to making a profit and it is important to keep them satisfied so that they will continue to give you business.