Published - July 1997
"AROUND OUR FIFTY STATES"
By Dave Jakielo
BE THE BEST LEAVE MEDIOCRITY TO THE REST
One of the great things about living in America is that we have free choice. You can decide to have one of the best companies in the country or you can be just like everyone else mediocre. It has been said that it’s easy to go the extra mile because the road is not crowded. Openness - Never try to hide mistakes from your customer. Getting caught trying to sweep something under the "carpet" will destroy your credibility. Once your client loses confidence in you, it is almost impossible to regain their trust.
We can stand out from the rest just by incorporating, in our own firms, some of the success strategies that many of the outstanding companies utilize. Now don’t become confused. Going the extra mile doesn’t mean you must spend a zillion dollars. But it does require some effort from both you and your team.
Here are some ideas that will allow you to soar to greater heights:
Seek and You Shall Find - Welcome complaints and bad news from your employees and clients. The worst problems we can have in our firms are the ones we don’t know about. Make sure you create an environment where people are not afraid to bring problems to your attention. Don’t shoot the messenger.
Keep in Touch - When is the last time you called your client just to say, "Thank you, I really appreciate your business." If we only talk to our client’s when there is a problem then they will always equate a call from us as a negative occurrence. Change that perception by calling when things are going well.
No News, Is Not Good News - Don’t stick your head in the sand. Contact your client occasionally to ask, "How are we doing?" Proactive questions can prevent future conflicts.
Send Them Something - An effective tactic is to send them articles that would be of interest to them. The articles could be about them, it shows you recognize their achievements, related to their specialty or pertaining to their hobbies. A written thank you is always appreciated. Birthday cards are another way to show your thinking about them.
What Else Can We Do? - Find unmet needs. What other services could we provide to our clients that may increase revenue or help further cement the relationship.
Fit It Fast - Address and cure all complaints as soon as possible. Do not let problems go unresolved or ignored. A problem that lingers on without a solution is like a festering boil. It gets bigger and bigger until it explodes.
Customer Council - Invite your clients to get together as a group and act as your companies "Board of ideas." A gathering at your office with some of your most progressive minded clients is a great way to identify your strengths and weaknesses and helps you develop future products and services.
Customize Your Services - In our business "one size does not fit all." However, always remember to charge fairly for the services you provide. Being flexible shouldn’t mean going broke. I haven’t meet anyone yet who is providing practice management services as a hobby. Nor have I meet any of our clients who practice medicine as a hobby.
Keep Improving Constantly - Your competitors are trying to outdo you each and every day so keep forging ahead. Will Rogers said, "It’s not enough to be on the right track, you got to keep moving."
Lastly always remember there are three types of people:
1. Those that make things happen.
2. Those that watch thing happen.
3. And those who wonder what happened.
This is America and the choice is up to you. Since I am only going around once is this life I would sure rather, "Fly with the eagles, than scratch with the turkeys."
Remember this monthly feature will address topics of interest to you. I really appreciate the input and suggestions I have received in the past. Please send your questions or ideas on topics you would like addressed, to:
Dave Jakielo, Seminars, Training and Consulting, 86 Hall Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15205-3214. Phone and Fax numbers are 412-921-0976. Email = firstname.lastname@example.org. I wish you continued success. Look forward to hearing from you soon. Have a safe and prosperous summer.