07 Dec What Is Your “Experience”?
I know you’ve heard me use the words “client experience” so much that you’re probably thinking, Lauren do you know any other words? The answer is “NO”. For me (and should be for you), “client experience” is THE cornerstone of everything that you do in your practice. Or, it should be. It should be the focus of every decision you make with regards to your strategic planning, your marketing plan, your budgeting, EVERYTHING. Your firm is nothing without clients, therefore your firm is nothing without an exceptional or WOW client experience. So, after all of my articles on client experience, you’re still wondering, what can I do to get that WOW client experience? Don’t worry, I will continue to tell you all of the new things, the latest technological advancements that will help you be more efficient and effective so you can be even better, I’ll give you tips on reports, tracking and measurement so that you can stay on top of what is giving you the best ROI not only in your marketing (which is and will always be important) but will also give you info so you can determine where your clients are coming from and are getting the best of you and the list goes on. So the bottom line, you haven’t missed out on anything. 2018 is going to be a great year for increasing and developing your firm’s client experience! I’m so glad you’re willing to take the journey with me!
Before we start the year off, I want you to think about your “client experience”. I want you to read this month’s article and really think about what kind of “experience” you offer. Have you ever been “your own client”? Think about it from a client’s perspective, then make a list of things you could do to improve. A list of the little things. You might be surprised at how far the little things go and what a real difference they make in your experience. (Don’t worry, I’m going to give you some of the best things you can do that will make your client experience a WOW client experience throughout 2018.)
So, all of this started because not long ago I found myself in a very unusual situation. I ended up as the patient, and then within a heartbeat, a potential client in a medical malpractice law suit. So, the short version of an otherwise very long story, is that my perspective has changed greatly with regards to the medical “profession”, the “health care industry” and what it means to be a “patient” – “patient” being what it requires you to be most of the time. When dealing with any health care issue lately, it is very much like the scenes from the movie “The Doctor” with William Hurt, a 3-star at best, movie from the early 90’s where Hurt is forced, after basically being a total butthead to his patients, colleagues, staff and family all of the time, to “turn over a new leaf”, because of a throat cancer diagnosis and resulting surgery. Now, I do hope that I didn’t start out as the butthead that Hurt was prior to his diagnosis, but I do know that his “awakening” and mine have been quite similar and I hope that the perspective I have gained and will share will be a gift to you and one that will affect the client experience you give your clients.
I had a necessary surgical procedure. I woke up. I was wheeled out. I was placed in the front seat and buckled in. We were headed for home. Approximately 20 minutes into our trip, my right arm fell off of my lap and into the space between the door and my car seat. I couldn’t pick it up and put it on my lap. I really couldn’t even feel it. My fingers were tingling. I knew it wasn’t a heart attack, wrong side. I didn’t think I’d had a stroke, nothing else was numb and I could talk. We go back and we go straight to see my neurologist who happens to be working at the hospital that day. The tests, the strange looks and the endless questions with no answers begin.
What I was left with was no real use of my right arm (a real problem since I am right handed) and I could barely type because I couldn’t even lift my right arm to a table height. It was numb to the touch and some nerve pain (that when a doctor asks you to quantify on a scale of 1-10, you really want to say – 1-10 of what? Including mental, emotional and the thought of possibly never being able to use my right hand/arm again? Not to mention all that my family and husband are dealing with?
So, you’re asking, how does all of this apply to “client experience”? And specifically “your client experience”. Well, all of this resulted in many (understatement of the year) doctor’s appointments with numerous doctors. I really got to a point where I thought I should be able to sit for my medical boards. So, one of those many doctors was my neurologist (who I had a prior relationship with). So, the client experience part begins. When I walk into my neurologist’s office, they have always called me at least 1-2 days before my appointment to remind me of my appointment & to confirm (granted it is with an automated service), but I can/do confirm by pressing #1. I have always been given exact instructions on the call to arrive 15 mins. prior to my appointment (even though I have a LONG standing relationship with the doctor and they already have all of my necessary info), where to check-in, what necessary documents to bring and if there is any testing involved, what special instructions to follow for that and finally, where they are located and how to get directions if you need them. And, all of this happens BEFORE I ever walk in the door for the 1st appointment or the 101st appointment.
So, now I arrive for my appointment. I know exactly where to go to check-in (because – see above, they told me) and it’s a different location than the waiting room (so the waiting room is set-up much more comfortably) and the check-in room is able to run more efficiently and is less crowded. They are able to review my insurance info, contact info, the reason for my visit, my treating physician and any complaints i may have about their service (and they are actually able to and are willing to listen, typing what I am saying and appearing genuinely concerned and pleasant.) Then I am given a printout of all that I have given them + my relevant info and directed to the proper waiting room (not just a large waiting room for everyone – designated waiting rooms for each physician so I don’t feel like cattle) and so that all patients aren’t grouped together – elderly & children (right!) – this allows them to cut down on confusion, germ sharing and overall a more pleasant visit/encounter for the patients (I didn’t instinctively know this, I had to ask) and this makes the overall visit feel more personal and intimate. This is the area where you sit and wait for your doctor or only 1-2 other doctors who is grouped in the specialty that your doctor is with. The best marketing opportunity would be for them to only have magazines that address their specific specialties or that relate to issues for caregivers for those particular specialties. But, since I’m the patient, I’m not really paying attention and they may already do that.
Then I go in and see my physician, get my examination and my “marching orders”. Usually that includes a directive for more testing (bloodwork and/or imaging). They always shake my hand as they enter the room and usually again when exiting (sometimes they hug me depending upon the familiarity of my relationship) and off I go to “check-out” (another entirely different area). And the positive experience continues. If bloodwork is requested, they have an “onsite lab” – I only have to walk a couple of feet (not to another facility) and they do it right then and there. If the order requires imaging, THEY – not I, schedule it right then and there while I am standing there, so that I can get it done ASAP. An understanding (by looking at my info in front of them, without me having to say a word), that “I have an hour ‘s drive and only one arm and have a very busy work schedule”, they move heaven and earth to get me scheduled there at their location (next door) – where they can do MRIs, CTs and PET scans. And again, the phenomenal client experience continues, only after I’ve finalized the ultimate client experience process and scheduled my follow-up appointment where I know I’ll have another phenomenal client experience. Because I know that they’ve “got this” and there will be no glitches, confusion, problems or changes and therefore I won’t have to worry or stress.
All of this took place in a well decorated, not “over the top”, but not sterile office environment. Each of the professionally dressed staff persons I came in contact with expressed genuine concern and never “re-asked” the same questions 1 million times about the issues or the medications I was on or the other doctors I was seeing because it was all there in my well organized chart on their computers (that they were trained to use & they used them) and which they actually read.They also discussed and talked to me about reasonable “personal matters” – vacations, family events, etc.), either because I had shared information about them or because they’re using tools they’ve been taught to try to remember me or it may be because that’s “who they are” & they can. They “appear” at least to get along with other doctors & nurses – amazing! And they all appear to be happy. Maybe that’s because they don’t see a ton of new faces from year to year like they are processing cattle. Wonder why? And because of this they listen (yes listen) when you mention that the 1 time I called and were placed on an unusually lengthy hold in their “new phone system” and I never got a call back. They don’t ever “blame” me, but instead commiserate with me, saying that they aren’t fans of the new system either and promise to pass along my feedback.
So thinking and using a casino analogy, does your “casino” sound like the “Wynn” or more like the “Golden Nugget”? Is the client experience I have described sound like your firm with a few areas that might need tweaking or does your firm need a complete overhaul? Is your firm client centric, very efficient and maximizing the use of your tools/processes & procedures (in the “back of the house”), so the “front of the house” is running like a well-oiled machine? Do your clients feel like “you’ve got this” & you can handle anything that gets thrown your direction? Do they feel like you’ll get them the results they need and deserve? Are your clients having a “custom” experience based upon “The (your firm’s name) Way”? It’s never too late to be the “Wynn” and to create a client experience that your clients will never forget!
Happy New Year & Welcome to 2018! I look forward to sharing all of the wonderful tips that will help make your client experience second to none!