8:40 am Today
While on a visit to the orthodontist with my 15-year old son this morning, I started noticing all the ways the doctor added value to his patients. Sure, we are 'buying' straight teeth, but he is delivering so much more.
6 Months Ago
For some perspective on the situation, some quick history. We haven't always used this orthodontist. With my oldest son, we used another highly-recommended orthodontist about a mile away. She charged about half the price and did a great job for my older son. But, as time went by, we noticed that as the doctors patient load increased everything else stayed the same. Well, almost the same.
Wait times, attitudes of the staff, neatness and wear and tear on the office, and the demeanor of the orthodontist, those are the things that changed. The patient experience degraded significantly even though the treatment outcome was met.
9:05 am Today
So, with the contrast between the two experiences being so great I wondered why I had been so willing to leave the other doctor and pay twice as much here. My answer? The value the doctor added by choosing to invest in patient experience.
As I walked around I noticed first the two story building this doctor occupied exclusively versus the rented strip shopping center location. Yes, it's expensive, but very comfortable and wildly spacious. The decor was top end and so was all of the state of the art equipment. Next, the staff. Friendly and helpful, each seemed to be happy to be there. I feel sure their jobs are stressful, but not because they are doing the jobs of three other people. Wi-fi for all, a game room for the littlest ones, multimedia presentations of the doctors success on screens all around, demos of special products and services available and free coffee! Best of all? A doctor who was not running around stressed and angry because a parent asked too many questions and disrupted their whole overloaded daily schedule at 8:40 in the morning!
Invest in your business! Because the second doctor had invested in his business, he was able to accomplish more and charge more for the patient outcome and experience. I gladly paid the price and so did alot of other parents. Of course, they weren't all sitting there elbow to elbow with me in the waiting room! No, they were spread out all over the office in comfortable chairs sipping fresh coffee and enjoying complimentary wi-fi while their kids were getting the screws tightened on their teeth! Joy!
What could you do differently right now to
improve your customer's experience?
What could you do differently right now to improve your customer's experience? How could you invest in your business now in order to charge more? Even for a so-called 'commodity?' Maybe it's streamlining your ordering system, training your staff so they are more efficient and effective at what they do, teaching the staff customer service and communication skills so your business is known as the most helpful around, unifying your branding so the customer has a more coherent picture of exactly what you're all about, engaging with (or creating!) a social media presence (yes, it does matter and they do check it out!)
Just remember...nothing happens on it's own. If you want to charge more, you must deliver more. That doesn't mean you have to go broke trying. It does mean you have to be willing make some changes and know how to deliver a value proposition that sets you apart from the competition great people though they are! (It's a shame they won't be around much longer.) Remember: there are MILLIONS like me who will gladly pay a higher price if you will just give us a reason why.