When you get things right, price becomes irrelevant.
When you get things wrong, then people start feeling like you’re nickel and diming them.
Last week my wife and I took six days off to rest, recharge and reflect.
We’d planned the time off a couple of months ago, but the rest and reflection was even more relevant for my wife who lost her father suddenly only three weeks ago.
Our six nights away included three nights in a remote luxury lodge on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, where everything was all-inclusive, followed by three nights in another luxury accommodation in the world famous Barossa Valley.
On Kangaroo Island we could not fault the operations at the Southern Ocean Lodge.
Although their accommodation was at a premium cost, everything was included, and I mean everything.
I mean breakfast, lunch, dinner, pre-dinner drinks, after dinner drinks, wine, beer, spirits, in room mini-bar, you name it….
Tours were included.
Tours to see major landmarks.
Tours to see kangaroos.
Tours to see fur seals.
Tours to see Koalas in the wild.
Drop offs for self guided bushwalks.
Guided cliff top walks.
Our stay also included $400.00 of credit to be spent on spa or shop products.
And at breakfast, lunch and dinner, if you wanted more eggs, more marron, more oysters or more kingfish, or more of anything, well, nothing was ever refused.
And interestingly, in the twenty-one room lodge, they worked on an open door policy.
Although a room key was provided inside our room, we never locked our room door when we were out during our whole three days.
There was really no need to leave the lodge, and no need for a car, despite the lodge’s location in the wilderness being an hour away from the island airport. The lodge organised all transfers.
There was no corner store.
There was no nearby village, or nearby anything for that matter.
But there was no need for a “nearby anything”.
The only down side was that Wi-Fi internet was really slow. So slow, that we were left to answer emails via our phone carrier rather than via our Macs.
But hey, was that a bad thing?
I know. It’s a first world problem….
And of course there was no TV.
Each evening after dinner we returned to our room to find the bed turned down, the blinds drawn, and the room bathed in a glow of mood lighting and music.
We wanted for nothing.
And the time there was truly relaxing.
In contrast, our time at the Barossa was go go go.
We had Cellar doors to visit, wines to taste, both old favourites and some new discoveries.
We visited quaint little towns and met interesting people and businesses.
We travelled in our hire car over bitumen and dirt roads, with some questionable signage discovered about dry weather roads.
[A sign warning a road was only suitable in dry weather did not report that although it was now a dry dirt road, during previous wet weather a heavy vehicle had created some serious twelve inch deep furrows in our track that needed careful negotiation!!!]
And at night we dined out at three of the finest restaurants in the district.
Each of which was trying really hard.
But maybe overly hard.
So hard that it showed.
Whereas our three lunches in the Barossa were all very gentle relaxed affairs, where everything was far less pretentious.
Or should I say, every thing at those three lunches was far less phony.
Sometimes sincerity shines through like a beacon.
Sometimes a lack of sincerity also shines out like a beacon, no matter how hard we try to appear sincere when we are sometimes way out of our depth.
And I have to say, by the end of the third evening in the Barossa, my wife and I had picked the service and the cooking at each of our three evening meals down to its barest levels.
And the judgments were not good.
Just like Pete Evans, we tried hard to look for the good, but the errors were seriously overpowering the highlights, each and every evening.
Like serving food before wine had arrived.
This happened on all three evenings.
And allowing wine glasses to become empty during the evening meals, without monitoring levels and topping up consistently to prevent this from happening.
And when alcohol sales is by far the biggest profit centre for all restaurants, wouldn’t it make sense to make sure that every diner had at least a half full glass in front of them at all times?
Topping up the wine glasses is also the best way for the restaurant to be checking in with it’s customers as many times as it can.
“How’s this wine tasting?”
“How was your first course?”
“Can I bring you more bread?”
Filling up the wine glasses is the restaurant’s equivalent of checking in with the dental patient during treatment.
And ignoring the diners’ wine glasses can have a similar detrimental effect on the diner in the same way as failing to ask our patients if everything is going OK for them during their treatment appointment.
Diners and patients who feel ignored start to pick holes in the operations of their respective establishments.
And rather big ones.
And although our accommodation in the Barossa was very nice, and expensive, it was less than half of the cost of the accommodation on Kangaroo Island.
And yet we took to the services in the Barossa with a fine-toothed comb, making verbal and mental notes that “they could have done this better, and done that differently….”
Yet at Kangaroo Island everything seemed far more appropriate.
Despite the fact the freight at the Southern Ocean Lodge was more than double the price of the Barossa Valley accommodation.
That fact seemed irrelevant to us.
What mattered more to us was the way that Southern Ocean Lodge took care of us.
From the moment we arrived to the moment that we left, Southern Ocean Lodge simply got it all right.
You see, when they rolled everything up into an all in one, one price for everything, it simply took all the worry about what to do away from us, the guests.
Because we felt like we were in safe hands.
We were home…
In my Dental Practice, I rarely if ever offered patients an itemized laundry list of their treatment plan.
Because what we wanted them to do was to have it *ALL* done.
So rather than have the patients turn up with these time-worn paper lists of things to do, our patients preferred to know only about how much is this all going to cost, roughly, and what are you going to be doing next time, and for what reason.
And just in the same way that my wife and I felt more relaxed and comfortable on Kangaroo Island than we did in the Barossa, I feel that this was exactly the same feeling we captured at our Dental Practice.
Our patients felt safe.
Knowing that we cared, and we had their best interests at heart.
And they could feel that care.
And it was palpable.
So that price, meaning our charge for their dentistry, really was irrelevant.
Can you create that ultimate caring environment in your Dental Practice?
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