Last week I received an SMS from Optus informing me that my collective [shared] data plan had exceeded its monthly limit, [with fourteen days of the month still remaining], and that extra 1GB lots of data would be added as needed for a fee of $10.00 each.
Does this story sound familiar?
So the first morning, I receive three such notifications that an extra 1GB of data was being added to my account…..
I thought to myself that this next fourteen days could become a little expensive.
So I phoned Optus to see what I could do.
I thought I might need to upgrade to a larger plan.
Here’s what happened
After explaining my situation I was placed on hold for a few short minutes before my agent returned saying:
“I have good news and good news.”
“Firstly David, for being a long term loyal customer, we are going to GIVE you an extra 25GB of data this month and next month too, just in case you run over, which will take you to the end of your current contract.”
She then said:
“Also, because you are a loyal customer, we are going to remove the charge for the extra 3GB we have provided for you so far this month.”
I asked her:
“What sort of contracts do you have that I could upgrade to now?”
And she replied:
“Our contracts are continually evolving, so there’s no real point in looking at what we have now, as a better arrangement could well be available when it is time for you to renew in two months time.”
I diarised to check the Optus website close to the time of my renewal being due.
What a breath of fresh air.
I could not believe how seamless and pain free this phone call to Optus had been.
My agent was flexible and solution oriented, as opposed to my calls to Telstra a year ago which were aggressively uncompromising and penalty focused.
I felt as if I had died and gone to heaven.
Ask yourself this question.
In your dental practice, are you solution focused?
Do you look for a resolution that will leave your patients and customers in awe, by providing them with outcomes that they never expected was possible?
Why not have your team look at all of the things that could possibly go wrong during your patients’ visits to your dental practice [called Service Defects], and then have them collectively brainstorm all of the best possible outcomes and solutions [called Service Recovery] that they could initiate seamlessly to WOW and amaze your patients.
When your patients and customers are left feeling nothing less than special, and are in awe of your processes, then you can truly congratulate yourselves on creating World Class Customer Service Experiences.
Linda Miles is coming to Australia in August.
Don’t miss this once in a life-time opportunity to see and hear Linda speak first hand…
My wife purchased a lounge from a fairly upmarket furniture supplier.
As would be the case, a deposit was paid and an ETA [estimated time of arrival] and delivery day was scheduled for when the lounge would be delivered.
Hiccup Number 1.
The date of arrival of the lounge was pushed back by the lounge company, because they were short of some of the components needed to build the lounge… they said.
That’s the first fail: it should always be the other way around. The lounge company should strive to have the lounge completed and delivered EARLIER than originally planned, thus surprising and delighting their customer.
Any delivering later than initially suggested creates a severe disappointment.
Hiccup Number 2.
On the rescheduled delivery day, a Thursday, the delivery driver rang and said that he wasn’t going to be able to deliver the lounge because he was “behind in his deliveries” and someone else’s delivery had more priority.
So we asked for the lounge to be delivered the next day.
No. It would be delivered in seven days.
They do not deliver on Fridays, [the next day]. And so the delivery had to be rescheduled.
There’s a mixture of stories about this day……
You see, the company initially gave us a window of four hours between 11am and 3 pm that they would be delivering the lounge. With this, we then asked them to phone in advance when they were arriving, as the person taking delivery, my son, was working from home on his computer [wearing headphones], and he would need to organise off street access for their truck through the garage entrance to the apartment block rather than the street entrance of the building, where parking is very limited.
Apparently the drivers failed to follow this instruction and [in their story] parked on the street and rang the front door intercom, which my son obviously did not hear because he was working.
He did have his phone right there on his desk beside him…
That’s the second fail: Follow instructions so that all parties can fulfil their roles. And if that isn’t done then someone at the company needs to act quickly and take control.
It appears that the driver failed to contact the company AND the customer before driving off. [the company was given two phone numbers to call in advance].
Put simply, the company messed the customer around just because someone on their team messed up.
The lounge should have been delivered that day.
Not the next day.
And not a week later.
Hiccup Number 3.
A week later the lounge is meant to be delivered between 10am and 1pm on the Thursday.
The delivery driver rings in advance [this time] to ask if we had some parts needed to assemble the lounge, which he did not have.
When we told him we did not, he said he would have to deliver the lounge another day.
My wife told him that this was not appropriate given the history of this job, and to go back to the warehouse and get the parts he needed.
Delivery was then rescheduled for 2pm to 5pm on that day.
Service fail: When you book the customer’s time, you need to value it.
Hiccup Number 4.
If you’re not going to deliver the lounge when you say you will, then it is probably wise not to send the client an email days prior to the [final] arrival of the lounge asking them how they are enjoying their new furniture?
Just because the lounge went onto the truck a week ago, doesn’t mean that the company should trigger a customer service email sequence if the darned thing never ended up being delivered.
Another service fail: Make sure that the people sending the emails are kept up to date about the status of various deliveries…
What’s the lesson here David?
If you run a company, make sure that all employees are clear about the company’s Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and Core Values.
Every employee needs to be on the same page.
When you have one weak link, be it in your team member or in your processes, then the whole chain falls apart and your mission unravels.
Mission Statements, Vision Statements and Core Values need to be visited by the whole team on a regular basis for reinforcement, and are worthless I they are only at best, a plaque hanging on some wall in some room of your office.
You and your company and your team need to live and breathe your Mission and your Core values.
Talk is cheap.
Customers who appreciate your Mission are priceless.
Stuffing up your processes and devaluing your customers once you “have their order” is either incompetence or arrogance.
I’m not sure in this case if it was one or both.
Ultimately, it certainly was NOT a regal experience for the customer.
In business there are three ways of growing your business:
1. Acquire more customers
2. Have your customers visit more often
3. Have your customers spend more with you each visit.
With points two and three we are working on the processes of “selling” to existing clients.
Existing clients are more likely to buy more often and buy more from us because they know us and trust us.
With new clients there is always an “initiation” time taken to begin nurturing that trusting relationship with us.
Some new clients do not want to trust us.
Some new clients take eons to develop a trust with us. They are hesitant committing to a “trusted” relationship with us.
But once we have that trust in place, and have developed that relationship with each of our clients, what we find is that the clients are indeed now more accepting of our treatment recommendations.
Yet, when I talk to dentists about what their practices need, the majority of dentists ignore their data base of existing patients and instead choose to go out chasing more new patients.
Some dentists even offer new patients an examination and cleaning visit at a lower fee than the fee paid by longer term existing patients.
[This in itself sends out a very poor message to the existing patients that the practice values new patients more than it values existing patients….]
So how do we help existing patients to visit more often and to spend more with us?
The answer is simple….the answer is to simply invest more time with your existing patients.
Chat with them.
Be in the moment with them.
Don’t engage in shallow conversations with them.
Spend time in conversation with them and truly LISTEN to what they are saying.
We have all experienced one of those times when we have been talking to someone who then gets distracted from our conversation in the middle of one of our sentences and LEAVES our conversation while we are literally mid-sentencetalking to them….
It’s not a very pleasant experience for us.
So why would we do that to one of our very own customers then?
More importantly, why would we do that ever to any other human being?
Remember, small children spell “LOVE” as T.I.M.E.
And our dental patients will spell it exactly the same way.
If we want our patients to truly feel our love and give love back to us we must be respectful of their time and spend time with them.
Engage with them.
Listen to their stories.
Make them feel important.
Make them feel as if we have been looking forward all day to seeing them.
Make them feel as if they are the only patient we are seeing on this day.
It is a simple mathematical equation.
The more a patient feels that we value them, the more times they are likely to visit us and the more they are likely to spend with us as well.
It truly is a case of Reciprocity in action….one of Cialdini’s Laws of Influence.
And it is the easiest way of growing a dental practice.