I am on vacation, so I won't keep you long (but you never know).
I have been thinking a lot of Dr. Scott's predicament. If you have been an avid reader, you know that I have blogged on a couple of incidents that I have gone through that were eerily similar. What should his next move be? I’ve thought of a few options.
It kind of depends on what type of dentist you are. If you are in it for the money and you leave your feelings in the car, this woman is totally SOL. You have done your due diligence, she verbally agreed to these teeth, to you and to your lab guy, and now she doesn't like them? Some dentists would say "Tough luck sister. Good bye. And oh if you want to sue me, you will lose. In fact you won't even get an attorney to take your case." I am not saying this dentist would be wrong. In fact, so many times I want to be this dentist.
Secondly, like another commenter suggests, is have a "sit down." This is for you and for her. You say, "I have gone over and above for you and you don't like it. I want to please you, so this is how it is going to have to go. I have no problems redoing things so you are happy. This is what the fee is going to be.” That way she knows that every time she has one of her "moments," it is going to cost her. If that is not a problem for her, it definitely is not going be problem for you because you are making money. And guess what is usually going to happen if you are going to charge them more? They magically become happy.
Or third, you can do what most of us do: take your medicine. We all know what this looks like. You suck it up and smile. You do it and redo it. She is never happy and even if you finish and she pays, there is this bad taste in your mouth because you know that she will never really be happy. Then a month later, you get a call from her. She says that she has tried to like it and just doesn't. She thought that over time she would like it more and she just never did. Then, like all the rest of us would do, probably give her her money back.
As I write this it just sounds so crazy. But we all know there is going to be some giving money back going on (if not all). So why wait to give them their money back? Because we all think that if we work harder we can make this person happy. I got news for you — YOU CAN'T.
All your time, all your money, all your redos are not going to make this person happy. You just got unlucky that she showed up at your practice and all of us got really lucky that she didn't show up at ours. Thems are the breaks to being a small business owner.
So, either lay down the law (which I know you and you won't do), or cut the strings now. That is my advice.
I’ve got one more quick story. Remember I was telling you about this 6000 square foot house that is being built on the lake in my neighborhood? I told you that the owner and I both grew up in the neighborhood and I think we went to high school together.
Well, we have been watching the progress. We started seeing big equipment on the property. I have used this as an opportunity to teach Noah about building a house. He and I go by there about two or three times a week. Sometimes there are people there and sometimes all the workers are gone.
Last Friday, around dinnertime, I announced to everyone that we were going to see the house. Noah jumped up and a couple of my friends were there, so we all went, three adults and Noah.
I was talking to Noah about plumbing and weight-bearing walls. My friends were looking around when the owner showed up. I introduced myself and he and I reminisced about the neighborhood. I told him that Noah and I were big fans of the house and love to come and see the progress. He told me he had a couple of young boys. We took the opportunity to ask him questions about what he was going to do with this room and that thing over there, things like that. We told him we were looking forward to him moving in to the neighborhood and went back home.
I know that sounds like the end of the story, but it’s not. We all went home and had dinner and were sitting around watching a game. Then I got a phone call. It is the owner of the house. Remember, we both grew up in the neighborhood and his parents still live in the neighborhood and there is a directory which he could use to get my number.
He said, "Yeah John, I don't want to be like this, but I really don't want you guys to come to my house anymore."
Then he went on to explain, "I am worried about your son getting hurt and the liability."
"I feel like I have a responsibility to the builder."
Really, what was I going to say? I said, "No problem." But I was thinking, "What a total a-hole." He went on talking, and I said, "No, no don't even worry about it. I totally understand. No, no seriously. It is not a problem. We will just enjoy the progress from the street. Yeah, let’s get the boys together when you move in."
I hung up the phone and was like, "Are you kidding me? Did this just happen?" If I had my wits about me, I would have really asked him some tough questions. "I am a dentist and you are a doctor. Do you really think that if my son got hurt, I would sue you? Do you not want us not to come around because you are you are worried about us getting hurt or are you just a total jerk?"
I am serious. I almost thought about calling him back. I mean if he has the guts to call me then I should be able to call him out. People are just weird, and I shouldn't be surprised when people show their true colors.
Hey, got to go. Have a great weekend.
P.S. AGD annual meeting in two weeks. Anyone going besides Dr. Joyce?