Make life easier for your customers
Last night I arrived early at a prominent, Wilsonville chiropractic office to collect my birthday present. My wife gave me a gift certificate for a full body massage. I had been waiting for a schedule opening for almost a month. I know the doctor well. He is past president of the area Chamber of Commerce and the Oregon Chiropractic Association. He runs an extraordinary practice. I had never met their new masseuse, Andrea. My wife, who has had several massages by Andrea, raves about her. A few minutes after I arrived, I was ushered into the quiet, darkened massage room. Andrea said, “You will need to complete some paperwork, some forms. We can do that when we are through with your massage.” The massage was worth the wait. I only slept through part of it. After getting dressed, the office manager asked me to start filling out the forms. They didn’t even have my name on them. I said in hopefully a playful way, “Don’t you know my name?” Then we worked through the forms and had fun filling them out.
This experience reinforces for me how inefficient, almost disrespectful it is to ask patients / repeat customers to fill out forms each time they show up at the doctor’s office, auto repair shop, or any other business we visit repeatedly. If filling out forms is required, the form could be printed out with all the information the doctor already knows; at least your name, address and phone, which they obviously have. The customer could start from there, but to start from scratch is inexcusable. It is like calling for help with your cell phone and being asked your account password not once, not twice, not three times, but sometimes up to six times before you get to someone who can really help you.
Here’s the important question – What are you asking your customers, internal or external, to do that could be automated? I don’t know how you feel; I object to
recorded messages that ask me to leave the time I called. It seems like an unnecessary step. Don’t all message systems add a time stamp to the messages? If not, why not? The game goes to those who strip steps out of processes. Every step provides an opportunity for errors, added costs and expensive delays. These steps are not free; complexity is expensive; simplicity, by its’ nature, is streamlined and is desirable to pursue. Simplicity is virtuous. Turbo’s definition of “world class” is highest possible quality at the lowest effective cost with the fastest customer response time. Your path to world class performance is to take steps out of your processes and do things right the first time.
It’s a brand new year. What better time to chart the steps in your macro and micro processes. Write them down, map them out. You may be amazed to discover the unknown delays, dupl icated steps and unnecessary redundancies. This discipline will be invigorating to your employees, welcomed by your customers, and the profits will be pleasing to your pocketbook.
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