When S### Hits the Fan Are Your Patients Still a Fan?
Hello, Optical Family! Wow! Guess what? Its football season again! YaaaaY!! And yes! I am a huge football fan, particularly the NFL. My favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys! Last year my team went 13-3, went to the playoffs and lost the first game...s###! HIT! THE! FAN! I was so upset, so distraught, so freaking' disappointed, and as a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, I am still a fan! Kinda crazy huh? Yes and no. The reason why I am like that about the Cowboys is that I have brought in on their brand. So when my team disappoints me, I am still loyal to that brand.
I read an article entitled, "Lessons From United Airlines" by Gary Gerber, O.D., via Optometric Management magazine. He gave a 6 step bullet point about PR nightmares within a practice or Optical office.
- You don't have to make a profit on every single patient. But, you should try to make every patient happy--keeping in mind that "happiness" is in the eyes of the consumer, not you or your staff. This fundamental, core value will usually keep you out of trouble and help you avoid the PR nightmares.
- The, seemingly counterintuitive, practice-building belief that every patient interaction does not have to be profitable for your practice must be infused into every fiber of your practice culture.
- Even if a customer incident is not your fault, if it makes it on to social media, it will be perceived that way.
- Apologize right away, and be genuine and appropriate.
- Don't blame the victim. See above point.
- Have a service recovery plan in place, and practice it.
I perused the article, and I agreed with each point. I thought about how some patients/clients can make you go 0 to United Airlines real quick! Some people you just can't please. For example, the patient who comes into your office for the umpteenth time and is still complaining about he/she can't see clearly out their RX glasses and after doctor RX rechecks, the remakes...STILL, can't see?!?! WTF?!?! What's The Focus?!?! Now it's your job to bring that patient back to happy. Sometimes you just have to cut the cord and let go to bring everyone back to happy as graciously and cordially as you can. Kindness always creates happiness even when there is anger, disappointments, or disagreements. How you treat people whether in your professional life or personal life reveals the person/brand that you are. So when s### hits the fan, your job is to make sure that your patients/clients are still a fan through the adversary times. Hear your patient/client out, move them to an area away from other potential clients and let them vent. Listen to them, accept accountability, and ask them what do I need to do to bring you back to happy. Be understanding, put yourself in their shoes and have a solution to their concerns. In the end, they will be like, "Wow, thank you for understanding. I didn't mean to be an a##, but I just want to see." Why? Because you listened, their concern became YOUR concern too, and you have solutions at task to bring them back to happy. In the long run, we are our patients/clients biggest cheerleaders. We are our patients/clients biggest fans, even when they are distraught with us. In return, our job is to show that we care -- always no matter what the situation is. Always remember that people don't want to know what you know until they KNOW that you care. Oh, by the way, go Cowboys!!!!!!!
David Butler, ABOC, CPO, LDO