“You mean you don’t get a new scoop with each can of coffee?,” my 22-year old son asked, AFTER he had thrown out the old scoop we had been using for years.
No, and you don’t get toys in your cereal, they don’t wash your windshield at the gas station (or pump your gas …except in NJ), and a half-gallon of ice cream isn’t really a half-gallon any more. Some of these changes affect what people buy; some of these changes are accepted as part of the changing economy.
We all need to cut costs. The fat needs trimming every once in a while. When you stop offering services or products, what kind of impact does it have on your patients? How much are you saving in $$$, vs. how much is it costing you in patient satisfaction?
An orthodontist in our town has video game consoles, free hot and cold drinks and snacks. My kids loved it. It seemed a bit much to me, since I knew that in the long run, I was paying for it. As it turns out, this practice was more flash than substance, and patients started leaving because they weren’t getting results.
Sometimes small things do make a big difference. These are the small things that make your practice unique. These are the personal touches…the time and attention that helps your patients feel cared for. Although you might stop handing out calendars each year, make sure the the quality of care never wavers.
Patients value the courtesy of the person answering the phone. They appreciate the training and knowledge of the staff. They also appreciate the time that the doctor spends with them. Don’t scrimp on those things, these are the things that matter.
I’m not sure that I would change my brand of coffee just to get a free scoop in every package. I wouldn’t change my dentist if they stopped giving me a free toothbrush. But if my doctor’s office was overscheduled, the staff was overworked, and I wasn’t getting the quality care that I had come to expect, I would start looking elsewhere.