I’m writing this article while en route home from a marketing conference in Orlando. During the course of my travels, I’ll be writing this on Sunday afternoon USA time, on and off, travelling from my hotel in Orlando, via the American Airlines Admirals’ Club in Orlando airport, as well as at Dallas Fort Worth airport, and including an American Airlines flight from Orlando to Dallas.
During all this, I’ll be trying to keep up with the scores at the Masters Golf Tournament, by watching it on my phone and also in the lounge at Orlando.
The Masters Golf is the Ultimate in Customer Service.
They know how to do everything correctly at Augusta National.
There is no doubt that they have studied other businesses, especially those not related to golf, so that they are able to deliver an Ultimate Customer Experience for their guests and patrons.
The Masters at Augusta National is so different from any other golf tournament that you could ever go to, that there is absolutely no doubt that they have studied outside of their industry, and have brought ideas from outside of golf into their golf event, so as to improve the experience for their patrons.
To make that experience truly World Class they have thought outside of the box.
In dentistry, we spend so much time trying to improve the dental experience for our patients.
But in so doing, often, as dentists, we only think of improving the patients’ visits from the dental point of view, rather than from the patients’ points of view.
When we take the time to analyse the experiences that our patients receive in our dental office, from their very own point of view rather than from the dentists’ perception of what they the patient might be experiencing, it is only then that we can truly be in a place of offering those patients the BEST experience ever.
Offering an Ultimate Patient Experience.
Whilst ever we are looking at our patients’ experiences from the eyes of ourselves providing the experience, rather than through the eyes of the patient who is receiving the experience, then we will only ever be analysing a jaded view of the experience, as opposed to truly reviewing the experience through the eyes of those who matter most.
And those eyes are those of our customers. Our patients.
Anything short of this view is truly a compromise on reality.
As exponents of service, of creating an experience, it is our duty as the deliverer of service to do our very best and deliver only a World Class Experience.
We owe that to our customers.
Anything less is inferior.
And who wants to be known for offering up less than best?
We truly only want to be known as being the best in town…
So many business owners complain about external influences affecting their businesses.
They explain to you that the reason that their business has not been successful is because of external influences.
One of my mentors, Dan Kennedy, would have you believe differently. Recently Dan wrote:
“There are no unsuccessful businesses; only businesses run by unsuccessful people. A business has no mind of its own. It reflects either an individual or collective mind of its owner or owners or other leaders.”
This statement is very profound.
Only you as the owner of the business can allow it to fail.
If you see your business headed in the wrong direction, or being affected adversely by outside influences, then you as the owner need to take a good look at yourself and steer your business towards better and away from those adverse conditions.
Only you as the owner can do that.
But if you do not act, if you do not think progressively, then you and your business will be nothing but buoys, bobbing up and down and yet being swept along in a tide that you have no ability to fight back against.
Sure there will be adverse conditions for your business.
But there will always be opportunities to identify those conditions before they take hold, or a stranglehold, on your business.
Failing to keep abreast of the changes is the important factor here.
Unsuccessful people will fail to identify change, or ignore change, and so fail.
Successful people will identify opportunity.
Successful people will also identify when it is the correct time to change course.
Warren Buffett said:
“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”
Sometimes there will exist a tsunami of conditions that will leave us no choice than to take shelter.
The smart operators are the ones who foresee the future, and avoid the storms.
Some do. And some don’t.
You need to have your radars up.
It is not your business that fails.
It is you as the owner who fails your business.
Do not be that business owner who allows conditions to fail his business.
Be the business owner who identifies crises, and changes course.
But you need to “know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.”
I was taken to task last week when I wrote about a friend of mine who travels up the front of the plane and who says that he is subsidising those who travel down the back of the plane.
It was interesting because the person who took me to task about this was a dentist.
The reason I found it interesting is because dentists notoriously subsidise and cross-subsidise different treatments and different patients and different insurances.
An hour that a dentist spends doing crown and bridge, or implants, certainly pays better than an hour spent doing a new patient examination.
Isn’t the crown and bridge appointment therefore subsidising the time spent doing the new patient examination?
With this fact in mind, it makes sense to know which of your patients are the low payers and which of your patients are the high payers so that you can allocate resources of your practice accordingly.
It makes no sense to offend the higher value patients by avoiding or ignoring them.
Spending too much of your time and resources with lower value patients could see higher value patients leave your practice and seek treatment elsewhere where they will feel more valued.
The number one reason that our valued patients do leave our practices and go elsewhere is apathy and perceived apathy from us and our team members towards those valued patients.
It makes sense then that it is important for our team members and ourselves to know who those higher valued patients are so they can receive more attention whenever they come in or contact our dental office.
With reference to flying, I recently questioned a flight attendant about whether or not the flight crew knew exactly who was flying in their cabin.
And I was surprised at the fact that they did not.
I asked while I was travelling on a Qantas domestic flight as to whether or not the flight crew were informed about who was in the business class cabin.
Did they know which of the twelve passengers up there had paid full fare, or which of those passengers had redeemed frequent flyer miles for their ticket?
Did they know whether or not passengers in the forward cabin had been promoted, or upgraded on the day, from a regular economy class [or coach] ticket?
Sadly, the answer was in the negative.
To me this made no sense, because the airline computer should be able to provide that information easily.
The reason I questioned whether this information was being accessed was because I regularly find that food choices for meals on these flights often run out, and as a traveller with specific dietary choices and exclusions, I regularly find myself left with no food choice because the one selection I could only eat had already been fully exhausted.
And it seemed very nonsensical to be offering up all food selections to travellers who may not have paid full fare for their seats, while those who had paid full fare ended up with the pretzel pack, purely because of where they sat, rather than how much they paid for their seat.
And after all, in a cabin of twelve, it would not have taken long at all for the cabin crew to quickly ask around before the flight departed as to which meal selection each passenger would prefer to be served.
Now I know what I’m describing here can easily be classified as a “First World Problem” but if you are paying to be flying up the pointy end of an aeroplane and you are not being looked after, then you’ve got to be questioning whether the extra dollars for that front of plane experience are really worth spending.
How Does This Relate To Dental?
Now that’s easy.
Are you giving your valued patients an Ultimate Patient Experience?
Do your valued patients receive above and beyond attention from your team members each and every time that they are in your Dental Office?
Are your patients having high valued treatments being attended to and fussed over when they visit your practice? Or are they being left alone sometimes for excruciatingly long periods of time?
How is the environment in your client lounge when you are about to see a full mouth rehab patient or an implant case?
Are you putting your high paying patients in the same environment as a tribe of screaming wall-climbing children?
Are your well-to-do patients being asked to share your client lounge with patients who may have come straight from working outdoors all day with farm animals?
At the front counter, are your better patients having to wait too long while you sort out insurance complications and code and item number issues on the phone?
Are your team members ready to take the time to discuss treatments and appointments with patients, or are these patients rushed through and out of the practice with only the hope that maybe they’ll “hopefully” be keeping their appointments in the future?
It’s time to dig deeper into who exactly your customers are, and how you can serve your best customers better.
Whether you’re a dentist, or an airline.
You need to address this simple area of improvement.