One of the things that I really enjoy about flying is the feeling that I am being looked after and catered for.
And sure, to ensure you are catered for as best as possible, you have to pay more for this feeling.
And some will tell you that it’s not worth the money.
And I would tend to agree.
Flying at the pointy end of the plane is the most expensive real estate on the planet.
“Why would you bother?”
This a question I know a lot of people would be asking.
After all, the back of the plane and the front of the plane both arrive at the destination at pretty well the exact same time….so there’s no expediation factor involved here.
And when you consider the price paid in terms of dollars per minute, well, really? Why not travel coach and then just refresh yourself at your destination with an extra day of hotel accommodation and a massage or two, and still come out several thousand dollars ahead?
Doesn’t that make a truckload more sense?
You could invest all that extra money that you save [on the price of each flight!!!] and turn it into a small fortune and leave it as an inheritance to your children… after all, they deserve it more than you deserve the pleasure of travelling up the front of the plane…. don’t they?
You spend a long time dead
I’ve just this last week celebrated my fifty-eighth birthday.
I know it’s not many. I have a long way to go to catch up to the Queen or Prince Philip.
But the scary thing is that fifty-eight is very close to sixty.
One of my very dear friends died of a renal tumor at age sixty.
Another of my dear friends died from a brain tumour at age sixty-four.
And another golf friend of mine was dead from cancer in his mid-fifties.
There’s no point waiting until some-day….
A tap on the shoulder is never expected.
Sadly, most dentists, in fact most everybody, gets to age sixty-five and haven’t put away enough money to retire comfortably.
Only a small percentage of the population ever save enough for their retirement.
Why is that?
Where has it all gone?
What do they blow their money on?
I think there is a simple answer.
I believe that nobody out there really plans.
All they ever do and try to do is to get by.
Why on earth would you not start now and plan for your retirement?
Why would you work at all without an end goal or purpose?
You need to have a plan. Even if it is something as simple as “The Richest Man In Babylon” principle. Put part of what you earn today away for another day. Don’t squander all that you earn today on just getting by today.
But in planning for that “another day” you should also plan to enjoy the journey along the way.
Plan to do both.
Put money away now for that time when you want to enjoy it.
The simple matter of compound interest will make this a very attractive proposition.
You’ve studied hard, you’ve taken risks in buying your own dental office…why shouldn’t you be rewarded for doing so?
But why should you penalise yourself to the back of the plane along the way?
Plan to smell the roses along the way. Don’t be miserable getting to your destination of comfortable retirement. But don’t waste it along the way.
Plan to retire well. But plan to live well as well.
Because you do spend a long time dead….
You really do need to grab a hold of your own destiny.
Otherwise someone else is going to have plans for you that you may not want to be a part of….
It’s one of those coffee shop, breakfast, lunch, drop in style places that pop up everywhere, and has been around near our home for a few years.
We ate lunch there while we had one of our cars in for its annual registration inspection. It passed.
Our lunch was good, but there were a small number of minor things that went on that added up to make me ask the question in my mind:
Are you there for your business or are you there for yourself?
The reason I ask this is simple.
And it’s because that was the feeling I was getting in this restaurant.
Today, I was watching a news clip online about a young very talented rugby league player, and the comment about him that stuck in my head was that he was showing, by his onfield actions, that he wasn’t only there for himself, but was willing to put his body on the line for the team.
So back to the restaurant….
I guess if you’re going to play music or background music in a restaurant, it would really make good sense to make sure that the music was playing uninterrupted and not being played with periods of poor reception.
Or, well, that’s how it sounded to me.
It sounded as though I was hearing a radio broadcast drifting in and out of reception for some reason.
The music being played was good.
It’s just that it was broken up to be a consistently poor listening experience.
Secondly, one of the big *RULES* of dining and dining service is to never remove plates from a table until all diners at that table have finished eating.
It’s dining rule #101.
Suffice to say, although well intended, the removal of the plate of one diner ahead of the other diner’s only serves to highlight the lack of etiquette education being taught to the wait staff.
Finally, when it came time to settle the account for the meal, I needed to approach the counter to do so.
No big deal.
But if I’m going to be standing there in front of you as a team member in this restaurant, then it might be wise to ask me:
“How was your meal?”
At the least.
And when you process my payment via PayWave why wouldn’t you at least say to me:
“Thank you” or “Thank you for dining with us”
“See you next time…”
“Have a great afternoon.”
Rather than say:
“That’s all gone through.”
Because I can see that myself on the terminal….
A long time ago a friend of mine told me of a romantic event he had in the back of a car where his partner had been doodling in the mist on the back window….
Don’t be a doodler.
When you’re going to be there, then be there or go home.
In this dining experience today, the girl at the front on the register could have shown some form of interest in her customer.
The reason customers [and patients] do not return to a business is because they feel as if they are being taken for granted.
They don’t feel valued.
Fix your music. And fix your systems and protocols.
It is the little things that make a big difference.
And several little things ignored do add up cumulatively.
And sometimes exponentially.
Don’t let your attentions to details shoot you in the foot.
What could you be doing better in your [dental] business, in small increments at multiple touch points for your visitors that would make their visit more memorable for them?
I bet you could find plenty of little things to do better….
They try to do everything in their dental practice.
They drill teeth.
They interview staff.
They do payroll.
They do accounts.
They do banking.
Some do ordering and stock control.
Some do sundry supplies at supermarkets.
Back at the office they do the marketing.
They write the adverts.
They talk to all of the marketing reps from Google, PPC firms, SEO firms, and the like.
Why is this?
Why would someone who drills teeth all day for a living be doing all these extra menial tasks as well?
Why not simply let someone else do these duties?
Why overload yourself with all of these other time consuming tasks when you could be, and need to be unwinding and resting and relaxing?
Why not pay someone else to do these other things?
Those you pay will be more specialised, they will be more enthusiastic, and they will be less expensive.
Doesn’t that make sense?
Why would a dentist working on a $400.00 per hour hourly rate spend time doing something that he could pay someone better qualified to do at an hourly rate of $30.00 per hour?
It just doesn’t make any sense to be operating in any other manner?
Even within the dental office I see dentists mixing plaster, I see dentists mixing alginate, I see dentists performing a whole range of clinical and clerical duties while people better qualified to do those duties stand and watch. On lower hourly rates.
This just doesn’t make any sense at all, does it?
What are you majoring in?
Jim Rohn said:
“Don’t major in minor things.”
What he meant was that you should always do what is the best use of your time and then delegate those activities that you are able to delegate.
And sometimes the best use of your time is resting and relaxation.
Sure doing some things yourself can save you the expense of paying someone else to do those tasks.
But what I’ve found is that when I pay someone else to look after duties such as these, those people tend to do a much better job in a lot less time.
For your own sanity, you need to delegate.
By all means drill teeth, and supervise and manage your investment in your business.
But avoid micro-managing yourself into an early grave.
I love frequent flyer [FF] points.
I hate frequent flyer games…..
Let me explain.
I have a lot of FF points with one airline.
I’ve found the best use of those points is in purchasing upgrades on tickets that I’ve bought and paid for.
But, and I mean BUT, try and redeem those points for actual flights with the airline, and you enter a whole new vortex.
Do you know those times in your life when you are forced to remember past experiences of severe pain and trauma?
Let me explain…
Three years ago I took my family of four on a vacation to Europe and the USA, and we booked nearly all our flights with FF points.
But we ended up having to book with partner airlines on several legs rather than with our own airline Qantas, because of the ridiculously poor options they [Qantas] offered for frequent flyers.
Now let me get this correct.
A FF flight is NOT a free flight for the FF member.
What it is, is a flight that the member has already purchased by accumulating points, which have a monetary value, and were acquired by either flying, dining, or purchasing something.
FF flights are not rewards in advance.
They ARE rewards for loyalty and previous purchases.
In fact, by accumulation, the airline has already been holding the “money” in advance for those flights to be taken at a later date.
So why do the airlines make it so difficult to redeem flights?
Three years ago when I wanted to take my family to Europe via Dubai, Qantas offered us travel from Sydney to Dubai via Singapore and Abu Dhabi.
Despite operating at least one direct flight daily to Dubai from Sydney?
We ended up travelling on reward points with Emirates Sydney to Dubai direct, and were given three flights to choose from.
On this same trip, when we wanted to fly from London to New York, we were offered firstly a route via Saville [yes, in Spain] and when I rejected that and held out for a better option, a second offer came a few days later to travel to New York from London via Los Angeles.
I kid you not….
The third offer that then followed ended up being a BA direct flight…. that we accepted.
Now… recently, like yesterday, I booked two flights using FF points for my wife and her mother to travel to London in July next year.
I did the transaction online through Qantas FF, but the only flight available was traveling BA via Singapore.
And I accidentally booked them one at a time, rather than on the same booking.
And because of this small error on my part, BA would not guarantee that my wife and her mother would have adjoining seats for both legs of their journey to London.
Can you believe this?
So my wife went to work on this, trying to find a solution… phoning, phoning, phoning….
In the end, after being given the run-around by several BA and Qantas staff, my wife ended up speaking with a Qantas FF agent who was solution oriented.
The end result?
Wife and Mother-in-law booked on adjacent seats on Qantas QF1 going to London via Dubai.
How was this so?
The agent my wife spoke with recognised my wife’s concern about the importance of this travel, and she also recognised that my wife’s husband was a Platinum FF with a large number of points…
How does this relate to Dental?
You can have procedures, rules, and systems, but you can’t forget that on the end of every transaction is a human being with emotions and feelings.
The seats my wife received on QF1 probably were earmarked for release at a later date, but hadn’t been made available just yet…. the agent who my wife spoke to who organised this booking had sufficient foresight to see a WIN-WIN outcome for all parties.
And that’s all we really need to do.
Are you looking for a win-win solution when you talk with your patients?
They’re out there.
How many times have you used the words:
“That’s our policy.”
“I can’t do that”
You need to be able to think WIN-WIN.
When you do, the outcomes will be significantly better.