Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program

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From the Desk of Dr. Mark Studin
Academy of Chiropractic
Preamble: many of these issues are small, yet each issue is just that… an issue. If you take care of the small issues, then the larger issues often take care of themselves and you can focus on the larger issues… a larger, more profitable practice and more family time.

“Acknowledge the Obvious and Build Your Practice”

I just got my haircut at a barber that I have been using now for 2-3 years. He doesn't take appointments and you would think you are back in the 1950’s as the barbershop is the quintessential small town gathering location. I first went Thursday and my barber was backed up with 4 people waiting before me. The barber said to come back tomorrow, early if I could, and I left. The next morning, I came back at 8am, 15 minutes before she got there and when the place opened, I was told she made a mistake as Friday is her day off. 

 
Not to be unreasonable, I said no problem and they suggested I come back Saturday again at 8am, just before they opened, so I wouldn’t have to wait. Saturday came and I was babysitting my 3-year-old grandson. I got him out of bed early, gave him breakfast and took him to the barber at 8am, 30 minutes before my barber gets there. The problem, there were 5 other people waiting for other barbers. When my barber got there at 8:30, I explained that this was my third day in a row and she was late, pushing me behind the others waiting, who she took first and I couldn’t wait with my 3-year-old. She said there was nothing she could do and I left NOT HAPPY as this was my 3rd day in a row wasting my time. 

Just as a note, wasting my time is the worst thing you can do other than calling me a liar. Those are my 2 buttons!!!!

Today, 3 days later, I still needed a haircut and figured I would give it one more try and if I had to wait, I was going to go elsewhere, permanently. I was able to get in and got my haircut, but I was angry that I wasted my time and I felt that I should have been given some consideration based upon my long-term relationship vs. people who they had never seen before, but I can understand this is their policy, like it or not. However, it was my expectation that something would be said, an apology or a statement of making me come back 4 times and wasting my time. 

What was said… NOTHING. Not an apology, not a comment on the unfortunate circumstances and my demeanor clearly indicated I was not a happy customer and still not one word other than small talk. I left saying nothing although I wanted to give them a lesson on how to give outstanding customer service, but they don’t pay me $199 per month. ;-)

I have already started looking for another place to get my haircut as I expect not only outstanding service, I expect to be treated better with the courtesy of being treated like someone who matters. Your practice is no different.

Rule #1, if a patient is not happy for ANY reason, always acknowledge the obvious up front and even if you don’t apologize, recognize the patient’s frustration. This will not only build your practice, but according to research from malpractice carriers, it is the #1 reason for patients NOT to sue you. If they are pissed as I was and a marginal issue arises, then you are more likely to get sued. 

Everyone is important and you should never forget that. It is very hard to get new patients and very easy to lose them. It is also easier to avoid a lawsuit then to defend one. 

A simple apology or acknowledgement of my frustration would have saved my barber from losing a client. In the end, how much does an apology cost? 


Respectfully,



Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Chiropractic, University of Bridgeport, College of Chiropractic
Adjunct Professor, Division of Clinical Sciences, Texas Chiropractic College
Educational Presenter, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education Joint Partnership with the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences 

 
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