Slight Lack of Attention To Detail…

Slight Lack of Attention To Detail…

You’ll never guess what happened.

Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

My wife and I were attending a two-day conference in the USA last week.

Picture this.

We’d arrived late the evening before Day 1.

Day 1 of the conference kicked off at 8:00am, and went through to 500:pm, following which, my wife and I raced back to our hotel room for a quick “freshen up” before meeting some friends for dinner at 6:00pm.

When we arrived at our room to “freshen up” we were surprised that our room had not been made up.

However, on close examination, it was evident that our room had been partly attended to…. our bin had been emptied, and we had fresh towels in the bathroom.

No big deal…. we phoned up guest services to let them know.

We figured that our room attendants had obviously been distracted, and completion of our room had been overlooked.

And off we went to dinner….

But what happened next will amaze you….

When we returned to our room after dinner, can you guess what awaited us?

An unmade bed!!

Nothing had been done.

In four and a half hours!!

And you can imagine, that at this point in time, after travelling twenty-four hours and half way around the world the previous day, that all that my wife and I wanted to do was to curl up in a nice clean bed, and go to sleep….

So we rang guest services again.

Here’s what I was told:

“We can send an attendant up now to make your bed sir, but you’ll have to leave the room while they’re there.”

I replied:

“Yes sure.”

But deep inside I was saying to myself:

“Are you kidding me?”

You see, except for a short one hour period, during the previous fourteen and a half hours our room HAD been vacant and unattended…. so why on earth could it not have been fully serviced during that time?

And so, half an hour later….

You guessed it…

Two very unhappy travelers, tired and now cranky, without a made-up bed to get into.

You see, it wasn’t so much that the bed was unmade. It was more the fact that on the previous night, [our first night] we had discovered that the bottom sheet on the bed was not a full-sized fitted KING sheet for a king-sized bed, but was rather an eighteen inches short of the mark flat Queen sheet, finishing up short of the foot of the bed and leaving an exposed mattress way down under the top sheet.

Was it too much to ask for a properly made up bed?

So I called up to guest services again to find out where our room attendant could be?

They were very apologetic….

“We will credit you with ten thousand bonus guest points to your account.”

And then another twenty minutes passed….

And still no room attendant….

Picture this:

It is now 11:20pm. I am in my pyjamas doing some email clearing…

My wife decides she needs to go searching downstairs for a room attendant.

She returns, followed shortly after by two clerical team members, who have come from the reception area of the hotel.

These two ladies are angels.

Together, they helped to reconstruct our bed, with fresh, but ill-fitting sheets, so that my wife and I could settle down for a comfortable night of sleeping.

Throughout their visit, these two ladies, who were not from housekeeping, were very sympathetic as well as empathetic, to our situation. 

The next day…

The following day, my wife and I had a full day of class, from 8:00am to 4:00pm. We returned to our room at 4:00pm and then went out at 5:50pm to dine with friends.

Upon our return from dinner, at 10:30pm, we were pleasantly surprised to receive a large plate of chocolate dessert, and a bottle of sparkling water.

Along with a hand-written note.

Not from the manager, but from the two wonderful clerical ladies, apologizing again for the disappointment that my wife and I had experienced, and that they hoped that they had been able to be of some assistance to us.

What’s your point David?

And how is this relevant to dental?

It’s easy, during the day to day running of our dental practices, and getting done what we have to get done, to forget sometimes about the emotional journeys our patients are on.

And sometimes those patients have been going through some very serious emotional times.

Do you stop, and say to your patients:

“How are things?” and “How are things, REALLY?”

How often do you stop and chat with your patients about THEM?

How often do you make a pot of tea, or two coffees, and simply sit and visit with your valued patients?

And doctors, it doesn’t have to be you…. this is a very simple task you can delegate to your front office concierge who is meeting and greeting your patients anyway.

Many elderly patients will be more than happy to sit and share, often because nobody in their lives seems to have the time available to spend with them, or because there sometimes even isn’t anybody willing to listen to them.

Have you written a handwritten note lately to any of your customers or patients?

Does your dental office take the time to simply sit down and send out handwritten cards to patients of the day, passing a comment about something that patient shared during their visit?

The handwritten card is a very powerful yet inexpensive tool to have in your dental practice toolbox when it comes going above and beyond, especially in the instances of service recovery.

And it is also a very powerful tool to use on a regular basis to send out warm messages to valued patients for no particular reason….to send out just because….

Are you and your dental office sending out handwritten cards on a daily basis to your valued patients and customers?

Because, if you are not, you can bet that one of your neighbouring dental offices IS sending out those cards.

And guess what?

If you are not, your patients will soon be hearing from their friends and neighbours who are receiving cards from THEIR dentists, and sooner or later, your patients might just switch dentists.

Would they?

Or wouldn’t they?

*****

Make sure you subscribe to my monthly Dental Water Cooler Podcast Series…. “The Ultimate Patient Experience”

Click on this link for all details

*****

My next public speaking presentation showing Dentists how to grow their Dental practices will be in Sydney on November 9-10 and in Melbourne on November 12-13 with Dr Christopher Phelps, Dr Nathan Jeal, Mr Alex Lalovic and Mr Tiger Safarov.

For more information and to secure your seat click this link here.

*****

Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

 

Beware Of Strangers Bearing Gifts

Beware Of Strangers Bearing Gifts

The dental industry is awash with pirates and robbers presenting glamorous gifts to unsuspecting dentists.

For some reason, dentists make easy prey for charlatans and shysters. 

And here is why….

No matter how bad the economy is going, nobody, and I repeat NOBODY out there in the community cares if a dentist is doing it tough.

When was the last time you saw a hard luck story on A Current Affair about a dentist?

Nobody cares if a dentist has been ripped off.

Why would they?

Here’s how I know…

About twenty-two years ago, I was introduced to a property developer selling thirty soon to be completed apartments in a suburb of Sydney.

The apartment block was located close to rail and bus, and right opposite a major shopping center.

It was also about 100m walk away from a large suburban park and it was adjacent to the nearby café district.

What could possibly go wrong?

I purchased one of the apartments prior to completion for $295000.00, which seemed a reasonable price at the time. Over the following five years, I endured tenant after tenant after tenant, and problem after problem after problem…it was a landlord’s nightmare.

After five years, I contacted the managing realtor to set up a meeting about the possibility of selling the apartment.

When we met, the agent, let’s call him Nick, said to me:

“David, there are thirty units in this block and already I’ve onsold sixteen of them, and only one vendor has sold for more than they paid.”

He said:

“This block is what you call a second-tier development. The developer that you bought this apartment from is known for buying up incomplete developments, adding a significant mark-up to the apartments, and then on-selling them to busy professionals like dentists, who don’t have time to do all their due diligence.”

He said:

“Do the math David. Thirty units on-sold with a mark-up of $35000.00? It’s a healthy profit?” 

But who’s going to complain? Who’s going to go to the media?”

No dentist is going to go on television and say that they were ripped off because they were too busy to do their homework?”

The New Pariahs

It was once said to me that dentists have the word “Sucker” indelibly tattooed across their foreheads. 

Sadly, this tattoo is invisible to the dentists and their colleagues, but it is like a neon sign to pariahs and charlatans looking to make an easy buck.

Enter from stage left: The Dental Roll-Up…..

As a business model, what could be easier than offering a dentist a large chunk of money for his dental practice?

And then getting that dentist to work on in that dental practice on contract paying the new owner a pre-determined profit for each and every year of the contract?

And if you’re a smart operator, you’ll get your legal team to make the agreement a thousand pages thick.

And you’ll get your lawyer to put the sale price on the first page, and then bury the employment agreement and annual profit goal deep into the back end of those one thousand pages.

So let’s put it in plain English:

The roll-up entity knocks on your door and offers you, say $2.5M for your dental practice.

So now they have your attention….

But half a million of the sale price is in shares of the roll up company.

Still, you think, $2M is a lot more than what you could get selling the practice to another dentist….

And you get to work on in the practice you just sold….

The roll-up guys set you an annual profit target of $600K per year to hit for them.

You know that will be easy, after all, there are no equipment leases to pay any more as those are all being settled in the sale….

You’ll do this easy.

After all, your dental practice last year collected just under $3M in annual billings…

Fast forward five years.

You sold your practice five years ago and you have $2M.

And over the five years, you’ve repaid the roll-up company five lots of $600K?

Which is $3000000.00

And they now have your practice….

And $3M?

So if you hadn’t sold your practice to them, you’d be a million dollars better off, and you’d still have your practice?

Am I missing something here?

And what if you stay on with them after five years?

In the situation above, every subsequent year that you stay on you give the purchaser of your practice another $600K, just for the privilege of working on in what used to be your dental practice….

Oh, BTW…

The agreement will probably include a claw-back clause, where, if you don’t return the total said annual profit goal to the new owner, you will need to dip into your own pocket to come up with the shortfall…

Doesn’t that sound like the icing on the cake?

But there are other benefits of selling….

Of course, now that you have sold the practice that you used to own, you can become an employee of the new owner, and receive the statutory entitlements of being an employee, such as sick leave, parental leave, annual leave, and long service entitlements.

After all, you’re working for the roll-up company now, aren’t you?

They own the practice?

And the equipment?

And the patients?

And you’re working primarily for them aren’t you?

Or are you?

Oh, BTW….

I sold that apartment after five years for $347500.00 and became only the second owner in that development to get their money back… after taxes that represented an annual yield of 1.6% for each of the five years…pretty poor effort that….

But nobody cares, remember…

*****

The names, places and stories in this article are purely fictional. Any similarity to any person, or entity, living or dead, or dying, is purely coincidental, or paranoia.

*****

Make sure you subscribe to my monthly Dental Water Cooler Podcast Series…. “The Ultimate Patient Experience”

Click on this link for all details

*****

My next public speaking presentation showing Dentists how to grow their Dental practices will be in Sydney on November 9-10 and in Melbourne on November 12-13 with Dr Christopher Phelps, Dr Nathan Jeal, Mr Alex Lalovic and Mr Tiger Safarov.

For more information and to secure your seat click this link here.

*****

Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order

*****

The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

Another Great Customer Service Story 

Another Great Customer Service Story 

Last week Jayne and I were away learning in Queensland. On our last night, we dined out with friends from Victoria who just happened to be up there, most likely escaping the terrible Melbourne cold weather.

The restaurant my friends chose for dinner was very busy.

After being seated, and continuing on with our conversations, it felt as if we had all been chatting for what seemed like an eternity…. but sadly, no-one had come to take our food or pre-dinner drink orders.

My friend got up and went looking for a staff member. When he returned, he remarked that he had been told that the restaurant was sadly understaffed this evening.

Which didn’t bother us.

After all, how many times have you been out for dinner and felt RUSHED by the staff and the overly quick serving of one course straight after another?

A very apologetic waitress appeared, and did a wonderful job putting us at ease and taking our detailed order, paying due consideration to the dietary requirements of certain members of our party.

Our meal was served promptly and efficiently, and my friends and my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful evening.

After completion of our main course, the restaurant manager appeared and again apologised for the situation of his restaurant being under-staffed this evening.

What he then said came as a complete and total surprise….

He said:

“I’d like to thank you for your understanding and your patience tonight, and I’d like you to please choose any dessert from the menu and have that this evening COMPLIMENTARY, as a gesture of my appreciation of your understanding.”

How Good Was That?

If ever a diner was going to be angry, a comment and an offer like that one is the ultimate diffuser.

This manager totally recognised that diners were experiencing what’s known in business as a SERVICE DEFECT.

And he was doing his best to negate that defect.

And negate it he did.

How Can We Apply This Lesson To Dentistry?

In 2014, I saw a new patient to the practice for a relief of pain appointment, scheduled first thing, at 7:00am.

The appointment had been booked the day before, and the treatment that was provided to the patient was a pulpal extirpation and a dressing and a temporary restoration.

I think the patient was then being referred to an endodontist for the molar root canal therapy.

Anyway, following the treatment, the dental receptionist processing the patient came running back to me to let me know that the patient was challenging our fee for today’s treatment.

When I met with the patient, he told me that when he had called the day before, he had not been informed about the potential cost for today’s visit.

And as it happened to be, the person who had scheduled the appointment yesterday was not in the office this morning to confirm or to clarify the conversation they had had with this patient yesterday.

So what did you do David?

So here’s what I did.

Firstly, I apologised to the patient for the misunderstanding and miscommunication on yesterday’s phone call.

Although I had not been provided with any “report” on that call, and because I had no way of confirming or denying the patient’s memory of that call, the only thing I could do was accept the patient’s version of the event.

To me, it felt that this patient was looking for an argument about the fee.

So here’s what I said next:

“I’m so sorry that you have arrived without an estimate of the appointment costs being provided to you, so here’s what I’m going to do…

I’m going to let you decide what you want to pay me for today.

Obviously, I’ve performed treatment on you today that has gotten you out of pain.

Our fee for today is $405.00, but all you need to do is pay me what you think my efforts are worth for today, and ZERO is okay.”

The patient was shocked.

It was as if he wanted an argument…

So I repeated my offer:

“I’m so sorry for the misunderstanding today…all you need to do is pay me what you think my efforts are worth, and ZERO is okay.”

And with that, I left the room.

Why did you do that David?

In this day and age, when it is so easy for someone to leave a negative review on the internet, I wanted to make it so clear that it wasn’t about the money.

Sure, I could have gotten up on my moral high horse and asked the patient serious questions like:

“What do you think we are, a charity?”

Or

“Would you work for nothing? Well why do you expect me to?”

But there was no point in arguing…

And by arguing, I only would have brought THE TWO IDIOT RULE into play…

And that’s not a good place to be.

In summation:

Sometimes we get into situations where we would rather not be. But because we do not have a time machine, we are stuck there in the present moment and we have to make the best of what we’ve got at our disposal at the time.

Cutting our losses, and making a clean getaway with minimal damage, is often the best strategy.

I’ll certainly be going back to that restaurant next time I’m in Queensland….

*****

Make sure you subscribe to my monthly Dental Water Cooler Podcast Series…. “The Ultimate Patient Experience”

Click on this link for all details

*****

My next public speaking presentation showing Dentists how to grow their Dental practices will be in Sydney on November 9-10 and in Melbourne on November 12-13 with Dr Christopher Phelps, Dr Nathan Jeal, Mr Alex Lalovic and Mr Tiger Safarov.

For more information and to secure your seat click this link here.

*****

Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order

*****

The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

Would You Steal Another Person’s Intellectual Property?

Would You Steal Another Person’s Intellectual Property?

There is only so much finite information in the world.

Sure, there are new innovations every day.

But not so many.

On the other hand, there are a lot of things simply being rehashed and rehashed and rehashed.

Day in and day out.

I remember going to a golf show in Sydney many years ago, and chatting with one merchant about the latest innovations in golf club design. [the club you use to hit the golf ball. Not the “club” where you join to play golf.]

And his response to me was that most golf club designs are the same.

He said that nearly all golf clubs are really just the same as each other.

From time to time in golf, there’s a revolutionary breakthrough in thinking. But not that often…

Cavity back irons using perimeter weighting?

That was a revolutionary design.

Metal woods? [Is that an oxymoron?] 

That was a revolutionary design.

As was the invention of the hybrid club.

And the broomstick putter?

But apart from that?

It was Jim Rohn who said:

“There are no new fundamentals”

And he was correct, and is still correct.

The principles of most businesses and most ways of doing things do stand the test of time.

They don’t change significantly over time…

Not much at all.

And unless you are an innovator, like Steve Jobs, there are very few opportunities to be an inventor.

So what is left?

Well, you could do what I do?

You could look outside of the box, and look outside of your industry, and see what other industries are doing and then see whether you can apply those thoughts and discoveries back to your industry where nobody else had really thought of using them?

Do you remember me talking about the hot towel?

And about the post it note?

And the restaurant seating card?

These were all thoughts that I had about things from other industries that I then took and applied into my practice of dentistry.

One thing that I also see people do is to steal other’s and others’ IP and relabel it as their own.

And this could be the blatant stealing of presentation notes and slides and powerpoint presentations, which sadly, I have seen done.

I once saw a new-found dental guru transcribe an article written by someone else and pass it off in their own blog as if it were their own.

Yes, really.

And I’ve seen people take other people’s key phrases and brands and use them in their own material to create some false “association”.

I’ve just recently seen phone scripts that I’ve been teaching being cherry-picked into another’s presentations, as if that person made those phrases up themselves.

Which is really disappointing to see…..

What do you think?

I don’t think theft is kosher even if you can get away with it?

It certainly leaves a bad taste… do these people think nobody really notices?

*****

Make sure you subscribe to my monthly Dental Water Cooler Podcast Series…. “The Ultimate Patient Experience”

Click on this link for all details

*****

My next public speaking presentation showing Dentists how to grow their Dental practices will be in Sydney on November 9-10 and in Melbourne on November 12-13 with Dr Christopher Phelps, Dr Nathan Jeal, Mr Alex Lalovic and Mr Tiger Safarov.

For more information and to secure your seat click this link here.

*****

Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order

*****

The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

Would You Be So Bold?

Would You Be So Bold?

I was playing golf with one of my clients last week…

At his golf club.

And we stopped for some lunch and refreshments at half way.

As we sat down at the table a waitress showed up with twocoffees.

“One coffee to go and one skinny late”

she said.

And we said:

“No. That’s not for us.”

And she said:

“Look. I’m assuming your joking. And I’m going to leave these here and walk away now”

What the heck?

Where did this sort of ATTITUDE in a waitress come from?

Did we look like practical jokers?

Were practical jokes like this par for the course at this golf club?

So what did you do David?

So we called her back again.

And we protested thus.

And she took the coffees away.

And then the original orderers of those coffees appeared.

And we were royally pardoned.

And in fact, the waitress in question, returned to apologise to us for her slip up.

What really happened?

I’m not sure what happened there originally, but for all intents and purposes my client and I were virtually accused and “labelled” by this waitress as being troublesome and mischievous.

I’m unsure as to what her pre-conception had been, but her failure to embrace our comments as being real and truthful was certainly a point of concern.

Did we look untrustworthy?

This was no public bar or nightclub. This was a prestigious golf club on a Friday at lunchtime.

I could only wonder what exactly she had on her mind that she would even contemplate addressing two patrons [or members for that matter] in this manner?

The Customer is Always Right.

This is one of the principles of doing business.

Make sure that the customer feels that the decision they are making is indeed the correct decision, in their eyes.

However, if there does appear to be a moment of conjecture, the best approach as a staff member is to look objectively at what has just occurred and try to have a resolution that does not involve the “chopping down” of a customer.

For what it is worth, winning a battle against a customer is not something clever to do if it goes towards the losing of a war….

What happened next David?

Well, fortunately, the true owner of the coffee order did appear and the coffees were claimed, or allocated, and an apology was issued to my client and me from the waitress in question.

But it should never have ever happened, should it?

What should have happened?

What should have happened is this:

When my friend and I originally declined the coffees and stated that they were not ours, the waitress should have removed them, and gone and found out who they originally belonged to.

Instead of launching into her own game of blame.

What she did was assume that there was no error in her system and delivery.

What should have happened is this:

“Oh I’m sorry gentlemen, let me get that sorted for you”

Then there would have been no problem.

Presumed innocence.

Sadly, this waitress presumed us guilty of ordering these coffees.

My client and I were both surprised at her response about “walking away now”

What’s the lesson David?

The clear lesson here is to review all the information and make a decision based on all possibilities, rather than to presume an action and an “intent”.

Sure you can think there may be an “intent” but without true evidence, a blind accusation can lead to tears.

Years ago, as a dentist, I was delayed from seeing a patient while I was performing a difficult surgical extraction on another patient.

The delayed patient just got up and walked out of my office.

Without saying a word.

I decided to phone the patient that afternoon to follow up and find out what happened.

And here’s what he said:

“How dare you keep me waiting while you’re sitting in the back there watching the golf on TV!!”

Well I was shocked.

Sure we had the golf on the TV in the lounge out front where the patient was sitting, but down back, in the engine room, there were no TVs present, as I sweated over that broken tooth fragment.

And sure, it seems that this patient was not fully informed on why I was not seeing him on time.

But his supposition of putting two and two together to make five was way off the mark.

And so a patient was lost to the practice.

Partly from our failure to keep him updated. And partly I believe from him being embarrassed that he had jumped to a premature, incorrect conclusion.

Don’t ever take an action without all the facts.

And sometimes, taking no action is a whole lot better than taking a premature, incorrect action.

*****

My next public speaking presentation showing Dentists how to grow their Dental practices will be in Sydney on November 9-10 and in Melbourne on November 12-13 with Dr Christopher Phelps, Dr Nathan Jeal, Mr Alex Lalovic and Mr Tiger Safarov.

For more information and to secure your seat click this link here.

*****

Make sure you subscribe to my monthly Dental Water Cooler Podcast Series…. “The Ultimate Patient Experience”

Click on this link for all details

*****

Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order

*****

The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

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