Whenever my wife and I visit New York City we love to dine at Balthazar Restaurant.
It’s an institution.
Not only is the Classic French Bistro food just the best, but also the wait staff are well trained in the art of offering professional World Class Customer Service to their patrons and diners.
I realised on Friday, when I was there once again with my wife, that they are indeed the masters of Customer Satisfaction when it comes to dining reservations.
What Balthazar do with their bookings is ingenious, and should be a lesson for all restaurants as well as a lesson for all businesses making appointments, including Dental Offices.
One of the Number One difficulties Dental Offices have in their day, every day, is the ability to manage the Appointment Book in such a way that it is productive and profitable, but also accommodating if needed.
I’ve seen clients, and non-clients alike, struggling with the set up and layout of an appropriate appointment book template for their offices that reflect comfort throughout the day for doctors, team and patients.
Such days rarely result in a productive day being achieved for the office.
Moreover, days resemble a scramble more than they do a template.
We’ve covered this topic before in previous blogs.
The best way to reduce stress and create productive days is to plan and template the day.
Sadly, I still see appointment books that are “stacked”.
Patients and appointments are just piled one on top of another from day’s start, with little or no regard for doctor flow, patient flow and instrument flow.
Let alone cash flow.
Or collections and production.
The best way to create happy patients and happy team members, and happy dentists, is to template the day, so that there are spaces for various and different procedures.
There also needs to be an alignment between the doctor’s book and the hygienists’ books.
Space, or available time needs to be kept open in the books each day for same day appointments.
New patient same day hygiene spaces.
Relief of pain same day dentist spaces.
Keeping these spaces open each day until that day, and not giving them away prior, no matter how tempting, is the easiest way to grow your dental office.
Providing this service creates valuable, appreciative customers.
Like I said, it was at my recent visit to Balthazar that I saw this same principle working at it’s best.
Long story short, but last Friday, my wife and I ended up with an evening free on our current trip to New York.
We had planned to lunch at Balthazar later in our visit. So on Friday afternoon, around 4:30pm, I called them, on the off chance, to see what the lay of the land was for that evening, and whether they could fit us in.
On previous visits, we had often just turned up, without a booking, and waited, and been seated, after spending some time at the restaurant bar.
So on the phone we were told that the restaurant was fully booked.
And had been for some time.
However, I was told on the phone, that if we’d like to come early and wait in the bar, a table may become available, and we may be able to dine.
And that’s what we did.
We were geared for an early dinner anyway, so we headed up to Balthazar.
Upon arrival, our name was taken, and as expected, we were directed to the restaurant bar area.
And it was here that I noted Balthazar’s scheduling magic.
You see, the restaurant was empty. It was 5:35pm and all set for the evening’s booked patrons, who would begin arriving at 6:00pm.
However, the bar area was packed. There were patrons seated at the bar, as well as other patrons standing deep there as well.
Around from the bar were several two seater tables, where diners sat…..
And then I realised.
This section was the Balthazar equivalent of the Dental Same Day Emergency Appointment Time.
Balthazar had templated their floor layout!!
This side section, beside the bar, was kept for same day diners, who were willing to turn up and just wait.
On the understanding that they will be seen, eventually, but without disturbing those diners who had booked in advance and were seated comfortably away from the bar area.
In so doing, Balthazar always guaranteed themselves a full house of diners.
Because heaven forbid if there were any no-shows in the main dining section, they could easily be replaced by any of the many gathered waiting in the bar area.
And those waiting in the bar area are often enjoying a pre-dinner drink or two, and adding to the “collections and production” of the restaurant.
Now if this section of Balthazar was *NOT* present, then a couple of things would happen.
Firstly, as stated above, there would be no reservoir of patrons to draw from to fill unexpected no-shows.
Secondly, there would be no pool of happy customers to add to, or build upon, as a growing database of satisfied clients.
And that’s what it’s all about.
Without this side area, prospective callers and diners would be sent away.
Elsewhere…..and possibly lost….
Every diner we spoke to that evening was appreciative of being able to be seated in the side section.
Happy customers. Either new visitors to Balthazar or on a return visit to the restaurant.
And from out of town.
Or like us, from overseas.
Loyal to Balthazar. And it’s legend…
Templating your appointment book for maximum benefit to all is one of the straight forward lessons you’ll learn in The Ultimate Patient Experience, 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
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