Monthly Archives: August 2010

Lord & Taylor Failed…Make Sure Your Practice Doesn’t Make The Same Mistake

I keep waiting for the day where my customer service success stories outnumber the failures! Here’s a recent failure and how you can prevent something similar from occurring in your practice.

On a recent trip back east, I realized the evening before my meeting that I hadn’t packed an appropriate “business watch.” My sporty IRONMAN triathlon watch certainly wouldn’t send the right message for the client I was visiting. Women always notice the details and I wasn’t about to loose credibility with the office team for having the wrong watch on. I stopped in to Lord & Taylor hoping to make a quick purchase.

The young woman working the jewelry counter was helping another woman select from several different watches. There was an unoccupied clerk at the jewelry counter nearby. I stood for nearly 25 minutes before even being acknowledged. I realize the clerk was engaged with a current client, but to not even be acknowledged was frustrating. There wasn’t another store nearby or I would have left. Unfortunately, I was in a situation where I needed what they offered and I had to wait. Upon concluding the transaction with the other woman, the clerk merely quipped “Is there a watch you want to see?” No apology. No “I’m sorry for the wait.” Nothing. I purchased the watch I selected and left with a very bad taste in my mouth. I won’t be back, but much more importantly, I told everyone in the practice the next day what a bad experience I had. And they represent viable consumers in that Lord and Taylor’s target market…

There are patients visiting your practice on a regular basis with “emergency” needs. If they are made to wait, for whatever the reason, without an apology or acknowledgement from your team, they’ll leave with the same bad taste. If they are ignored upon entering the reception area because your administrative team is busy assisting other patients, they will leave with the same bad taste. Sure they won’t walk out of the chair, you have the solution to their immediate pain. Rest assured that the negative word-of-mouth they will be sharing in the community will do much more damage to your practice’s reputation than you think. They might not have been your definition of an “ideal patient”, but one of their friends certainly could have been.

It’s all about the “little things”…

I’ve been a Hilton Diamond Member for many years and spent thousands of dollars at their hotels. And yet, this little “Guest of the Day” certificate and mug of treats made me feel like I really mattered to this Hilton property in North Carolina. Your patients probably won’t remember your clinical credentials.  What they will remember are the “little things” that you and your team do, before, during and after their visit to the practice. I’m amazed at how many practices I visit that don’t consistently do the following three things:

1. Have the doctor place a brief introductory call to each new patient two days before their first visit.

2. Send a handwritten thank-you card to every new patient after their first appointment.

3. Nominate and contact a “patient-of-the-week” just to thank them for being a patient.

Remember, your patients want to know that they matter to your practice. Clinicians are sometimes more inclined to write a “big marketing check” before they look within at the little things they could do to stimulate new patient flow and increase patient retention. Start practicing these three simple things and watch the difference it can make in your practice.