I just returned from a practice-management meeting at the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Fla. It was our 20th gathering, and we wanted it to be special, which is why we chose a Ritz-Carlton hotel. Everyone knows the Ritz represents the gold standard of service in the hotel industry. How do they achieve this lofty goal?
A disturbing e-mail arrived the other day: Hello, Dr. Bellows: I have a 5-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever that I have routinely cleaned her teeth (with enzyme toothpaste and a brush, recently using Sonicare). Despite all best efforts, she is building up tartar and I think may have a dark spot (cavity on a rear molar).
It's easy to overlook the problems that come with making clients wait. We think, "Hey, it comes with the territory." We make excuses. And we hedge our bets, knowing most clients only grow dissatisfied when they wait more than 30 minutes. But that approach won't wow clients. In fact, even a short wait may leave clients disgruntled. So it's an issue you should aim to manage.
Ever wish pets could schedule their own appointments and bring themselves in for care? The key to stopping client-created stress is to see your clients for the different breeds they are—and adjust your approach accordingly.
"Increased customer loyalty is the single most important driver of long-term profitability," say Scott Robinette, Claire Brand, and Vicki Lenz, authors of Emotion Marketing: The Hallmark Way of Winning Customers for Life (McGraw-Hill, 2000).