I was on a call today with a coaching client. It was interesting because the client had asked me whether I could begin the call fifteen minutes earlier than scheduled because the patient that was due for their appointment at the time we were scheduled to end the call was a patient who invariably ALWAYS arrived earlier than her appointment time.
And my client, the dentist, always liked to see this lady earlier than her allotted time if that was ever possible.
And that is a good frame of mind to work in.
And I congratulated him for doing so….
Because you see, if you want your patients to arrive early for their appointments, you need to run to schedule or ahead of schedule.
Because the converse is also true.
Recently I worked with a dental office where the dentist was always running behind schedule.
And guess what?
His patients were so used to him keeping them waiting that most of the patients I saw there never arrived early for their appointments.
And sometimes even arrived late.
Because, as they said, the dentist was never on time and never kept to time….
It’s about mutual respect.
If you want your customers to respect your time you need to respect their time.
A good friend of mine says his father always said:
“If you’re not fifteen minutes early, you’re late”
And to me that makes a heck of a lot of sense.
If you want someone to respect your time you need to begin by respecting them and their time.
You do need to lead by example.
We have a local medico GP where I live who runs so late with his patients and their appointments that the office advises them to phone ahead and check to see “how late” he’s running, and whether they are able to delay their arrival at his rooms.
That’s not a good look….
And that’s not a great way to provide a world class experience for your paying customers.
Don’t run late.
Don’t be known for running late.
Because if you do, you’re immediately coming from a position of “negative” in the relationship you’re trying to establish with your clients.
This week just gone I had the pleasure of accompanying my wife Jayne to Melbourne, where she presented her One Day Masterclass to a large group of motivated dental professionals.
Motivated to improve their dental practices and to take those practices to a whole new level.
Our flight home from Melbourne was interesting… for several reasons.
As you know, I like to travel in the more comfortable part of the aeroplane, for a variety of reasons, but mostly because my shoulder surgery and my osteo-arthritis restricts my movements in tightly confined spaces.
So here’s what happened…
On this day, when the board read:
“Head to Gate”
Jayne and I left the Qantas Lounge and headed to the gate.
At the gate, as you know, Qantas have two check in machines for boarding, and therefore two lines can be formed.
Qantas ask premium flyers in their loyalty programme to line in one line, while “regular” flyers, without status, can queue in the other line.
But here is the kicker…
And here is what I’ve been asking Qantas to change now for some time….
When boarding commences, Qantas invites its premium flyers to join the premium line.
Qantas does not board these flyers ahead of the “regular” flyers.
Qantas boards both lines at the same time.
So there is no true “priority” for its premium flyers.
Yet, yet, it is totally possible for Qantas to board the premium passengers firstly, using both machines, without any loss in processing time, before they start boarding the regular flyers.
So here’s what happened when Jayne and I arrived at the gate
So, when Jayne and I arrived at the gate there were maybe fifteen people lined up in the premium line and only three people lined up in the regular line.
So Jayne joined the premium line.
And I joined the regular line.
And sure enough, both lines were processed at the same time.
Which meant I boarded several minutes sooner than Jayne did.
I know I know….
I know that those few minutes lined up really didn’t make any difference, because the plane left at the same time anyway with both Jayne and me on it.
Despite the fact we were boarding in different lines.
And I know that people who sit in the back of the plane in the less expensive seats will tell you that the plane arrives at its destination at the exact same time no matter which seats you sit in…
What is the subliminal message that Qantas is sending here?
Subliminally, what Qantas is doing by boarding both lines at the same time is they are sending a message to those who choose to pay for a more expensive seat that they [Qantas] do not really value those people more highly than their “regular” flyers.
And yet they should value them more.
Premium seating on aeroplanes is some of the most expensive real estate on the planet.
And if someone chooses to pay for that privilege, no matter how short or long the flight, then Qantas needs to make sure that at NO TIME is there a figurative or subliminal snub being conveyed to those passengers.
And the relevance to dentistry is?
In your dental practice, are you giving the figurative “bird” to your “A” clients?
Are there times at your practice where your top twenty percent patients are being relegated while you “deal” with your more demanding eighty percenters?
I’ve seen dental practices that do take their LOYAL and REGULAR long-term clients for granted.
They move their long-term client appointments to “squeeze in” a new patient…
Or they keep their “regular” patients waiting too long, and too often….
Or they offer “introductory” fees to new patients that are lower than these LOYAL and REGULAR patients are paying.
There are plenty of airlines out there….
There are plenty of airlines out there.
And there are plenty of dental practices out there just waiting to pay more attention to those patients you are taking for granted.
Don’t be like Qantas.
Don’t be seen to be making record profits on the one hand, while you cut corners on the other hand.