Friday, October 21, 2011

You Have Got to Be Kidding Me

Say it with me: F-R-I-D-A-Y!!!!

Hope you all are well. "Bridesmaids" just arrived from Netflix. I have heard great things about this movie. I have had a couple of my patients tell me it is the funniest movie they have ever seen. I am looking forward to watching it.

I went to by that book "Red" this week for my Kindle. It is $14.99 for a virtual book. Come on! Why would I have a Kindle if a used hard back is $8.99? I just can't understand why they are so expensive.

Speaking of expensive, that is what the topic is today. I have this patient. Let’s call her Wanda. Wanda is an 87 year old woman who has been a patient here for 12 years. Now, that is a long time. That means that she probably likes it here and will be here for the rest of her life.

But Wanda has this thing she does every time she checks out: she makes a stink about the price. She makes such a scene that one of my front desk staff leaves the front so she doesn't have to deal with her (seniority). EVERY TIME. This time was really the first time I heard of it. She was up at the front saying, "Oh my gawd! Forty-two dollars for an exam! He was only in my mouth for like two minutes!"

I was up front. I said, "Wanda, it is not only the two minutes you pay for, it is the 16 years experience that I bring to the table." The people out front were dying listening to this. The other people checking out were hearing this.

She wouldn't give up. "Are you really going to make me pay that? My gawd. Are you going to give me a discount or what?"

I wanted to just walk away. I wanted to let my poor staff member deal with it. But I hung in there. I looked around and, of course, everyone was looking at me.
I said, "Listen, Wanda, sure I will give you a discount, but here is what is going to happen. I have to give the people out in the reception area a discount and I have to give this other one checking out a discount. I know everyone is going to be happy, but is that what you really want? Did you really want me to give everyone a discount?"

I was being serious and sarcastic at the same time. She looked like she might have been slightly embarrassed (I doubt it). She got what she wanted. The funny thing is that her husband was in two days prior and never said a peep.

I think people just want a discount. They don't need it, but they just don't like paying full price. Heck, I am like that. Some people will go to dinner at 4pm to get the early bird special and they are not even yet.

My mom is totally like that, and she will browbeat someone until they give in. I used to think it was great. You should see her in action – it is a sight! But now I don't think it is so great. I realized sometimes it was her fault (see blog on Ryobi equipment) and she would still persist. One time, she bought fine garlic powder at Costco. She used it and then took it back saying it was TOO fine.

I guess I recognized this in Wanda and realized I was not going to win. She doesn't care if I am good. She doesn't care that I saved her teeth and about $8,000 in the meantime. She just wants a discount.

What was I supposed to do? Fight her? No. I just gave in. I gave her $8 off and she went back being happy and telling everyone about us.

I know some of you are thinking, "Tell Wanda to pay the fee or leave." I take this out of my marketing fund. I don't really pay a lot to market the practice. I just paid $8 to market myself. In fact, I have already told my staff to charge her half of my exam fee in the future just to see what she says. I kind of already know what is going to happen.

"Oh my gawd! Twenty-one dollars for an exam!..."

Have a great weekend.

I know for a fact the Gators will not lose this weekend (mercifully, we have a bye).



Anonymous said...

My response usually is "No, I don't give discounts because to do good work I have to charge these prices. I'm not going to comprise your treatment by having to do cheaper work."
There are times though when, as a social responsibility, I make the decision to reduce a fee and I even do pro bono work for a nearby crisis center.

I have a colleague however who inflates his prices and then gives discounts to everyone. His "discounted" prices are still higher than my usual ones but his patients are delighted so you are correct- it's about the thrill of a bargin and a momentary feeling of "power".

Anonymous said...

OK. So you caved and gave a discount in front of some other good and loyal paying customers in order to save face. Good PR perhaps. But now the others know that you will discount them too, and their families, on a whim should they put on a mild display. I guess anyone would have to do the same under the circumstances, so I do feel for you there. But it is now time to fire this complainer as she is mistaking cost with value, a confusion that you will never correct. What do you you have to lose other than 15 systolic points and $20?? Git'er done!

Anonymous said...

Hey, love your blog. You guys had Tim Tebo and that was your time. Hope we have another good week.

Tiger Fan

Anonymous said...

That's a funny story but it happens all over... I know one dentist who quotes more but then says that he is giving a discount and hence a happy patient. That is unethical but really? Some patients needs that-they need to be fooled because they are trying their hard to fool you. And having done everything in good intent you are not doing partial fillings, you are not doing half exam so why discount. I don't get it but i know people want it. But then it could be a start of chain reaction too.

Have a wonderful weekend. I have yet to see that movie as well, not yet on netflix here in Canada


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