Folks, nothing destroys a brand more quickly than disrespect. I will put up with lousy food that comes with great service, but not great food that comes with lousy service. Anybody else? I thought so. Doctors often seem unwilling or unable to recognize that they are a Brand of One. Not all doctors, mind you. Doctors who compete in the free market figured it out quickly. Alas, the only doctors who compete in the free market are cosmetic surgeons. But these doctors have it pegged. It’s the EXPERIENCE. Yes Doctor, the experience. I’ll bet successful cosmetic surgeons have nice offices, pleasant staff and current magazines. I know they have advertising that sends a message (I’m not saying it’s good mind you, but it is conveying a message). And I’ll bet a million bucks that they keep their appointments. (insert Scooby Doo “hughhh!?!” sound here). Keep their appointments?
Here’s the thing: When I make an appointment with you, I expect you to keep it. Even if you’re a doctor. To do otherwise is simply disrespectful. Putting 10-month old copies of Time in the lobby? Here’s the message you’re sending: “I am more important than you. Your time is insignificant. It doesn’t matter what you do while you’re waiting.” I doubt that it’s intentional. I don’t believe that doctors as a class are jerks. But they seem oblivious to the experience, believing that competent medical care is the only consideration. And maybe we (the patients – the customers) are the problem. We pick a name off the list and take what we get. Most people spend more time researching a DVD player than they do a doctor. And we seem to demand little more than a handful of prescriptions for our time and money.
Well, I’m through complaining (about this. Only about this…). Time for action. I will no longer visit a doctor that doesn’t have a nice office. No longer use a doctor that doesn’t keep electronic medical records. And if there are any doctors out there listening…I am granting you a grace period of one year. Starting July 1st 2006 I will no longer wait more than 15 minutes in your waiting room.
2 lessons for me today.
1. Take some action if possible to change the system if you don’t like it. Whatever that system may be.
2. It’s still the experience. I know that my industry has it’s own problems, so I’m going to take a hard look at things we do as a company inside of that industry and find the stupid ones. And then I’m going to kill them.