Friday, November 19, 2010

VIP Service?

Question: How do you know if you are really providing “V.I.P. Service” to your patients?

Having concluded our ToPS Total Immersion course in Las Vegas last week, we were checking out of one of the big name hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. This place is so big that it has three registration and checkout areas in three different parts of the hotel for guest convenience.

Over the several days that we were there, I noticed that the “front desk” and taxi stand on one side of the building was less busy than at the front of the hotel. So I strategically planned our escape when were ready to checkout and get to the airport. We naturally went where we would not have to stand in line and wait. And we were right! There was no line at the taxi stand. The only problem was, there were no taxis either! (And no hotel employee to seen anywhere.) We waited for a few minutes. No taxi and no bellman.

I ran inside the hotel and into the place I was sure could solve my taxi problem. “V.I.P. Services.” After all, these are the guys and gals who know how to jump to attention and make it happen for the hotel’s high rollers, right? I told them the situation and asked if they could call a cab. “There are cabs out there,” they said. I pointed outside through the window so they could see for themselves. “Just ask the bellman,” they said. “There is no bellman,” I explained for the second time. “Then you’ll just have to walk to the front of the hotel to get a cab,” was their solution. (That’s quite the hike mind you.) Keeping my cool, I asked if there were any way they could pick up the phone, call the bell desk at the front of the hotel and tell them that a cab was needed at the taxi stand on the other side of the hotel. “Oh, yes! I guess we could do that,” they responded.

Answer: If your customer is the one making suggestions as to how you can provide V.I.P. Service, you’re not providing it!

Providing “V.I.P. Service” is about thinking on your feet. It’s about coming up with a way to solve the other person’s problem without being told. It’s about being a little creative. It’s about taking initiative.

Over one hundred years ago, author Elbert Hubbard defined “initiative” as “doing the right thing without being told.” Providing the right kind of V.I.P. Service requires initiative.

So what initiative would you take in these every day situations that are opportunities to provide V.I.P. Service?

· An “emergency” patient calls and there are no openings in the schedule today.

· A patient really wants to start treatment, but doesn’t have all the money and doesn’t qualify for third party financing.

· A busy mom just can’t seem to remember the appointments she sets in your office.

· You have a patient scheduled in one hour for whitening and you just discovered you have no whitening kits left in the office.

Every day presents opportunities to use your initiative to provide “V.I.P. Service.” It all starts with simply asking yourself, “how can I make this work right now.” That’s the kind of thinking that every office could use more of every day. It’s the kind of thinking that makes “ordinary” patients feel like V.I.P. patients who will tell everyone they know about you as a result.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Too many options?

A quick visit to the pharmacy this week turned into a major problem. Cheryl, my wife, needed some cough drops. Her brand of choice? Ricola. Easy enough, right? Wrong. When I found the display, I was immediately distraught. There were multiple options to choose from: Original, Cherry, Lemon, Honey, Green Tea, Mixed Berry, and then many of the same flavors in sugar free, menthol, and Echinacea. Good grief! I thought this was going to be easy. Not wanting to disappoint Cheryl, I immediately called her to go through all the options: flavor, sugar or sugar free, menthol or not, Echinacea or not. “Forget it,” she said. “Just get me some Dayquil!”

And such is life. Sorting through too many options creates too much stress so we opt for the less stressful route – no decision at all!

Now let’s step back into the dental office. How many treatment options are you giving your patients? One, two, three…five?

In an effort to try and find something that will work for the patient, many make the mistake of presenting too many options. Science has proven that the greater number of options we have to choose from, the less of a chance we have of making any type of decision. It is too confusing. It takes too much effort. It is too stressful. Since we are all susceptible to natural laws, we revert to the natural law that is stronger than choice: The Law of Least Resistance. “Matter tends to take the course of least resistance.” In other words, water flows down hill. We all tend to take the course of least resistance. Rather than sort through the mental process of options and alternatives, we look for the easiest way out…no decision at all.

Take the better path of a clear, recommended direction. Based on what you know about the patient, make a clear recommendation that makes sense to your patient tied to the benefits they are looking for.

The efficient way out for you is to just give the patient a lot of options because you have not done your research. The more effective way is to do your research, find out what matters most to the patient, and then make a solid recommendation that makes the most sense for the patient, their situation, and what they want.

Isn’t that the better option? It’s the only option that makes sense.