By Martha Bartlett Piland, MB Piland Advertising + Marketing Business process is important. Presenting and promoting options to customers is a necessity.
I visited an eye doctor/eyeglass “chain” today for the first time. It was for a routine annual exam and new prescription. I was kind of excited because I’ve been having a bit of trouble seeing my computer and needed a change.
This company has a groovy-cool image and I was ready to start fresh.
What I actually experienced was a complete disconnect from the brand image the practice portrays.
My first warning sign might have been the absence of any contact phone number on their website. They only had a form for me to fill out… then I’d have to wait for them to call me. Hmm. Not convenient but I went along with it. I jumped through the hoops and made an appointment.
in their favor When I arrived, the people were pleasant enough. The showroom was nice. The doctor was on time. However, that’s not a differentiator: it’s what I’d expect anywhere.
some blinding mistakes
not asking how I found them I was obviously a new patient, but no one asked me why I chose them. WOW. Could it be their advertising? PR? Web search? A referral from a satisfied patient?
Since they never asked, they will never know. And since they don’t know, they can’t build on the marketing tactics that work and abandon the weak ones. So they’ll continue to push stuff out there and be left to wonder what’s working.
They'll spend more than they should and their ROI will be questionable.
not asking what I need While the first technician who examined me said I had healthy eyes, that was the only conversation I had with anyone there about my health.
When the doctor came in, she never asked about my concerns, how much I wear my glasses vs. my contacts, or what I was looking for. She flipped a few dials, wrote up my prescription and was halfway out the door before I could assert myself to talk about (some of) the issues on my mind.
selling too soon Before my questions were even halfway answered, I was given a pair of contact lenses to try. Another technician started pitching me on their contact lens package deal that includes a year of lenses, solution, eye exams, sunglasses and an eyeglass discount.
I felt like I was on a sales track the car business was once famous for using (and has probably done away with). Besides the package they wanted to sell me, they’ve already booked next year’s appointment.
Bottom line: I left feeling disappointed.
process is important—to a point Process is important, but it shouldn't blind employees to customer needs. This practice has obviously gotten some advice about how to generate more revenue from patients. They’re probably following it to the letter. The steps they took me through—in theory—should build revenue and repeat business.
What I wonder is whether there was also advice about listening and patient counsel that they've disregarded, or whether they’re only focused on the sale and not the relationship.
Healthcare or not, it’s still a business and I’m still a customer. I’m certain I’ll be canceling that appointment that’s booked for next year and look for someone who makes me feel like my eyes matter as much as my wallet. I’ll find a practice that really wants a long term relationship—and the loyalty and profit that naturally follow.