Last weekend Jayne and I presented a seminar with a guest speaker in Melbourne for over two hundred and forty attendees.
We decided to use the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre where we were professionally looked after from start to finish by an experienced and well credentialed team of professionals, both during our lead up time and also upon the day of our event.
In contrast, at the hotel where we stayed, nearby to the Convention Centre, we experienced some major service defects.
Now let me state clearly this was not the Westin Hotel in Melbourne where we usually stay and are always very well looked after by the courteous and professional team there.
We chose our accommodation on this trip purely for its location and its convenient access to the Convention Centre.
Upon arrival, on the Friday afternoon, we checked in to the hotel and our room and then headed straight across to the Convention Centre to inspect our meeting room and become orientated with its location and the nearby facilities and amenities.
When we returned to our hotel room an hour after our initial check in, we were surprised that our luggage that had been collected from us at the hotel entrance at our time of arrival had not made its way to our room.
So I phoned guest services on the hotel room phone and my call went straight to an on-hold recording, where I listened for a long time to a pre-recorded message about the hotel.
In fact, it was such a long time, that I decided it might have been quicker to dial the hotel on my personal phone and hope to somehow get ahead of my place on hold. Which I then did!
So I listened to the message in stereo!!
Finally my initial on-hold call was answered and our luggage was organised to be brought to the room.
There was no apology and no explanation as to why there had been such an unwanted delay with our luggage.
A one-hour delay on the luggage was totally unacceptable.
The next day, following our conference, when we returned to our room, Jayne and I found that we both were in possession of de-activated room key cards.
So down I went to reception to get the cards reactivated.
Of course, I didn’t think that I would need some photo I.D. to have my room keys re-issued.
Interestingly while waiting a while in line to be served, it did not dawn on me that the reason I was waiting to be served was that one of the two receptionists on the counter was dealing with a phone call….
And the other receptionist was indeed dealing with a live customer checking in.
When I checked out of the hotel the following day, I noted the same thing. That is, that one of the three receptionists that morning was dealing with the telephone rather than with the line of human beings waiting patiently in front of them.
It was at this point that I realised that at the Westin [where we usually stay, but did not THIS TIME], the check in staff are there specifically to help guests checking in and departing.
At the Westin, the phones are answered away from the front desk.
The second flaw of my weekend in Melbourne occurred at the breakfast restaurant on the Sunday morning.
Throughout the morning, there was always a long line of people waiting to be served, which meant that restaurant supplies of food as well as utensils and cutlery were always going to be at a premium.
And at a premium they were.
Tea cups were not available. Only mugs.
If you wanted a glass for your juice, there were not any. And when they did finally arrive, they were hot.
Straight out of the dishwasher.
Not ideal for serving cold juice into.
Plates too were at a premium. And were also hot. In fact they were so hot, you needed mittens to use them to serve your food.
Not OK if you are serving yourself cold cuts.
This Sunday morning there certainly seemed to be a gross under-estimation of supply of crockery, glassware and utensils needed to satisfy this significant number of patrons.
Having red hot glasses and plates that inflicted second degree burns to diners is unacceptable.
What are our dental lessons here?
I visit dental practices around Australia and around the world where their stock of hand instruments and drills is insufficient to cope with the number of dental patients being seen.
Having to wait for instruments to come out of the autoclave at branding iron temperatures is not a good way to run and operate a dental practice.
The cost of having sufficient numbers of instruments so that your dental practice is never waiting for the autoclave to finish is minimal compared to the negative impression your patients have of you and your practice because of the defects present in your instrument supply chain.
You need to have enough instruments available at all times.
Or you need to be scheduling in a smarter way.
Similarly, when you have your front office team multi-tasking with phones and real live patients at the same time, they won’t do either task well.
And so defect signal messages start to be transmitted to your patients about your practice.
“Why am I on hold for so long?”
“Why am I waiting here to pay you while your staff are on the phone in front of my face?”
Surely this was not the first time that this hotel had experienced an oversupply of breakfast patrons [and a subsequent service meltdown] at its Sunday morning breakfast sitting?
It cannot have been the first time that this sort of numbers had turned up there for breakfast?
It amazed me to think that this hotel was serving up this sort of poor service as acceptable.
Acceptable it was not.
At your dental practice do you have poor systems and protocols that you are serving up to your patients hoping that they accept them and don’t really notice?
Because they will.
And for some it will be unacceptable…
Linda Miles is presenting in Sydney Australia this Saturday August 10.
Don’t miss this once in a life-time opportunity to see and hear Linda speak first hand…
Need your phones monitored?
Are you concerned about the number of calls that are not being answered as best they can be?
You need Call Tracking Excellence.
For the cost of a less than one cleaning per week, you could have your phones being answered much much better….
Convert more calls into appointments…Click the link: http://www.calltrackingexcellence.com
Call Jayne on 1300 378 044 or email Jayne@theDPE.com for more details.
Make sure you subscribe to my monthly Dental Water Cooler Podcast Series…. “The Ultimate Patient Experience”
Click on this link for all details
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 firstname.lastname@example.org