Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What is wrong with people?

Hey all,

First, I wanted to show you the family photo that is going to go out in our reception area. I thought it turned out nicely.

My mom, her husband, my dad, his wife, my brothers and sisters, my wife and my kids. Like I said, I am going to put this picture out in the reception area with others around it to let people know me more.

On to today's topic -

I have gotten to be good friends with another small business owner. We are in the same Bible study and afterwards we usually get together to have a piece of pizza and hang out. Well, he was telling me about how it is going with his business, and I'd like to share that story with you.

It was 5:45pm and it was getting close to closing time (6pm) when he got a call from a regular customer asking if he could swing by because he is looking for a very special Christmas gift for someone.

"We close at 6pm."

"I know, can you please just keep the store open for me?"

"Sure, come on over."

The customer showed up at 6pm and started to look around. Knowing they were staying late, you think he would get in and out. It turns out that he stayed and shopped for quite a long time - 45 minutes.

My friend was staying afterwards for this man and he knew it and didn't even hurry. Finally, he chose something and it was a whopping $40. A $40 item for staying after for 45 minutes. My friend wrapped it up nice and made it really special for him. He said he made a $40 gift look like $80 (he takes pride in his work). He was telling me this story and I was just shaking my head.

If you're shaking yours, wait, it gets better. The next day, he returned it for a FULL refund because he found another present he liked better. Now you are officially ticked off for my friend. The icing on the cake - this customer was a dentist. There are so many things wrong with this story.

A DENTIST?!?! Someone who knows what a bad patient looks like. Someone who must have a family and know what it is like to want to get home to them. Someone who knows what is like to stay open for someone and not feel appreciated. This guy should know.

What would you do? In these times, we all are doing things that we normally don't do. If someone calls at the end of the day, do you stay open for them? Are you staying late to squeeze in one more patient?

I have to admit that in my younger days I would agree without even thinking twice about it. Now, I don't do it. Let me rephrase that - I rarely do it. I see patients until 3:30, knowing that I usually BS too much and run late with the last patient, and this allows me to get out at 4pm and not go over.

I am a people-pleaser. I want to make people happy, but this attitude has lost out to a couple of other things. The number one reason I don't stay late is the staff.
They are all mothers and wives and a lot of other things, and they have lives outside of here and to hold them hostage makes for a very angry staff. And two, the patient that does this to us is never the A+ patient. It usually is the person we don't know or the D- patient. The ones that do this to us usually don't appreciate it and/or don't care about us anyway.

I understand the occasional "front crown came off," or the "I know you were here to do a filling but this tooth really needs a crown, can you do it now?" We do what we have to do but...

The "can you stay open for me? I need to get a Christmas gift for a friend" (see above story) doesn't fly here. It never pays off. It is never the cost/reward ratio that works out. They are never so happy that they told 12 of their friends how well you took care of them. They don't send some homemade brownies for you telling you how much that meant to them.

"No good deed goes unpunished." That is just how I feel about it. Do you feel the same way? What would you do? Is it an age thing? Do younger dentists tend to stay later? Or, are you that guy? The guy that calls people at the end of the day?

I would like to know your thoughts.

Have a great Wednesday,
See you Friday,


Anonymous said...

Amen brother. I do the same thing. Do your best and help people out but don't go out of your way because it always bits you in the butt.

Anonymous said...

What a great picture of a beautiful family!

Cynthia Becker DDS MAGD said...

I can usually be talked into staying, but in my case, I stay if the staff thinks I should. I think they are the best judges of who deserves the special treatment and who doesnt. Also, that means they made the decision and they are better with that than if I "order" them to stay. My staff rotates "call" on weekends as well. They know 90% of the calls can be handled without an office visit, but some cant and they come in without complaint. We just had a little guy where Mom said he was crying nonstop and had a bump under his lip. When I saw him, Mom had not only not exaggerated, but had understated the case. It was a 1 cm purulent granuloma that had to be lanced and the tooth removed. Oh, did I say it was on Thankgiving Day with our house full of guests? In that case, the Mom will tell lots of folks so it was worth it. Happy Holidays! Dr. Cindi Becker DDS MAGD (28 years in practice...it is not an age thing)

Anonymous said...

I've been in similar situations, and it's hard for me not to get flustered and have a bad attitude. If the occasional situation does happen, we should have a good attitude about it. BUT... like you said, there are limits, and it shouldn't be allowed to occur on a regular basis. I like what Cynthia said about having the staff choose.

gatordmd said...

Great stuff Cynthia.
Right on as usual.

Edward Logan said...

I think it is an age thing. I used to be that guy, and so did most of my colleagues similar in age. One of them recently stated, "Give them a finger and they will take the whole hand." This same dentist used to come in at 3:30 a.m. to treat dental emergencies!


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