As seen in advanced care team solutions
Over a span of years, I noticed a tiny red spot developing on my right cheek. It’s was about the size of a pin head at first, but over time it evolved.
We have a cosmetic surgery center here locally that does a bunch of advertising. After seeing the ad on TV about hundred times, I decided to call for the “free, no obligation” consultation. (No, I have not moved to California! Yes, I have a little vanity.) About a week later I received a phone call from the center and made an appointment.
I showed up promptly for my free consultation. I was seated in a small but pleasant consultation room. After a minute or two a man (Joel) entered the room wearing a long while medical coat. Pointing to another chair he said, “sit over there.” This guy moved quickly and seemed like he was in a hurry.
The spot looked like a simple broken blood vestal to me. However, I was told I would have to see the surgeon to further discuss the spot, identify its cause and make sure it wasn’t something more serious. All of this seem to made good sense I guess.
To understand things a little more clearly, I began to ask a few questions. Like running into a brick wall, I kept getting the same response. “You will have to ask the surgeon.” Then it dawned on me, the free consultation is really a sales call.
As you might expect, I agreed to see the surgeon. As soon as I agreed, Joel went for the close. He said, “okay, if the surgeon says it can be removed, do you want to have it removed?” I said “yes.” Then Joel said “you will have to pay for the procedure now.” I felt a little awkward about the whole situation but said “okay.” I signed a bunch of paperwork and scheduled the procedure.
Now a couple weeks later, I returned. I waited in the lobby for about 45 minutes. Finally, I approached the reception desk. Joel looked up as I reminded the lovely receptionist why I was there. Joel pointed to the waiting room and said, “Just wait in there, we’ll get to you.” I was taken back by his gruff voice tone and demeaning attitude. Or, maybe I took offense because for the last 45 minutes, I listened to Joel directing his the office staff like a drill sergeant with a group of new recruits. None of this was sitting well with me but a few minutes later Joel came to the waiting room and asked me to follow him to meet the surgeon.
We walked into the room, Joel introduced me to the surgeon by saying, “this is Dr. Smith and this is… I forgot your name.” Fortunately, I remembered my name! After a few seconds, the surgeon said, “this is no big deal, Deanna can remove this with the laser.” Off to another room I go.
Deanna entered the room and we made some small talk. She told me there was a chance they would have to see me again for a second procedure if this treatment didn’t completely remove the spot. So, I asked the obvious question… Is there a charge for that? She said, “yes, half the original fee.” Funny Joel never mentioned this. It wasn’t the money that was bothering me. The whole customer experience was whispering “GET OUT!”
Lets review, at the first consultation, Joel points and says “sit over there.” I was really thinking ok, but I’m not a dog Joel. Next, Joel can’t answer any of my questions and sells me a procedure he doesn’t even know need. I left thinking am I stupid? I return and sit for 45min listening to Joel mistreat his very pleasant and helpful office staff. I’m thinking is this guy for real? Next he introduces me to the surgeon and doesn’t even know my name. Now I’m sure someone is stupid here and I’m no longer thinking it’s me. I decide I didn’t want to put my future appearance in the hands of an organization with such poor attention to detail.
Back up at the reception Joel got a bit out of hand. I kept calm while he refused to refund my entire payment. I would not accept his terms and indicated I’d peruse it through other means. He said fine then we won’t refund any of you money. I nicely convinced Joel it would be in his best interest to see things my way and was able to negotiate a full refund.
Although I still have to spot on my cheek, there must be a silver lining. So, here is what we can take away from all of this.
- We should all pay attention to your own bedside manor. I didn’t particularly like or trust Joel right from the beginning, but I did move forward in the sales process oddly enough..
- Always keep in mind that a “yes” does not always correlate to a satisfied customer, client or patient.
- Be mindful of how you interact with your office staff, coworkers or case management support team. Treat your staff as well or better than your very best customer. The way we treat others becomes a model for interaction with our customers, clients and patients.
- Pay attention to the small details. It’s the little things that make a difference to the people you serve. Be warm, friendly, honest and up front about things. Slow down and take your time with those who seek your expertise and guidance related to the services you provide.
- Evaluate your own sales process, office environment and customer interactions. Check your voice tone and the rate of your speech, others are watching.
I usually don’t like to share stories of a personal nature but there is a lot to learn from this experience. In closing, I remind you, an uncomfortable customers, clients and patients may may accept care (buy) but they won’t become a long-term satisfied patrons. The certainly wont become part of the referral source network you are counting on for future success.
Fortunately for all of us, with a little self awareness, these things are easy to fix. And, they don’t require Major Surgery.
All the best,
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