Monday, September 15, 2014

Wow, Your Office Is So Cool

Recently I went on a daddy/daughter weekend with my 13-year-old daughter. We were originally going to go to NYC, because she always wanted to go there. Then we started looking into flights and hotels and found that a four-day weekend was going to cost us too much money. 

I broke the news to her and told her that I wanted to take her to Savannah, Ga. I had never been there. I always see it in Southern Living and it looks like so much fun, and all our friends tell us it is so nice. My daughter was disappointed but she thought Savannah would be fine. 

I told my wife, “Since we are not going to NYC, please book us something nice.” 

So our trip was on. I took Friday off and we left at 8 a.m. We rented a car (I don’t trust my vehicle to go more than 100 from the house) and my daughter thought that was pretty cool.

We rolled up to our hotel in Savannah at about 2 p.m. We stayed at a place called the Andaz.

Wow, was this place nice. We had the door opened for us and we were greeted by a staff member in the atrium. 

Yeah, this place didn't have a front desk. It had young people standing around with iPads in their hands greeting the guests. They had a key card-maker on a small table, but that was about it. This was the hotel version of the Apple store.

I was a little taken aback. I thought to myself, “Where's the front desk?”

Then I calmed down and thought, “This is how cool places look nowadays. I am cool, so I can handle this.”

Of course, I start thinking of my practice. And, since I am cool, I started wondering if this kind of concept could work at my office. But just because it is cool and I am cool, it doesn’t mean that all cool ideas are going to work for my office. 

I looked at my demographics and it turns out that 40 percent of my patient pool is over age 55. Great demographics for a productive dental office, but not so great for rationalizing why we need new computer gizmos.

I think that the older generation might be starting to feel pushed out, or maybe even left out. You know the Gen X attitude: “Figure it out quick, because the next generation of gizmo is coming out and it’s just going to build on this one.” It’s like math. If you sucked at Algebra 1, you were in real trouble for Algebra 2.

And, for the older generation, it’s being shoved down their throats and they don’t like it. I don’t want my office to treat my older generation this way.

Then I started to think about what the staff does at the Andaz when no one is walking in the door. Do they just stand around or do they play Candy Crush on those fancy iPads?

The desk at our office also is a work station. And when no one is walking in the door, my staff deals with the hundreds of other things they have to do. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have someone there just to greet patients.

But really the issue is…how should we greet patients?

I mean, you can get the same welcome from a warm smile and a “We have been waiting for you and we are excited that you are here"; you don’t need someone just standing around.

So let’s look at our offices. Do our patients actually get greeted?  

Are your front desk people looking up from their computers and smiling at the people coming in? Do you have photos of all of your patients? We take photos of all of our patients (with a camera that hooks to the computer; about $29 at Staples), so we know who is walking in the door and we can greet them by name. 

Have you thought about, when a patient needs help filling out paperwork, having a staff member come around the front desk and sit with the patient and offer assistance?

When we see another company doing something that we think is cool, we don’t necessarily have to change. But we should think about our office and how we do things. 

Maybe my office can’t be the Andaz, but just because we don’t have a staff member in the reception area just waiting to greet patients doesn’t mean we can’t do something for our patients to make them feel welcome. 

Tell me your thoughts. 

How do you greet your patients? Have you implemented something you saw being done at another company? 

Have a great day, 

1 comment:

Jon said...

John !
Your back!

Welcome back to blogging!
Dr Hardinger


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