Do you know what your clients experience in your office? Be a secret shopper someday, so you know what your clients experience. Everything we do should be looked at from the eyes of our ideal client. From what they see outside our office to how they are treated inside the office. Are you delivering the experience you want them to have? Dr. Deb shares how to create the ideal client experience.
You're listening to the Functional Medicine Business Podcast featuring Dr. Deb, one of the most creative functional medicine business practitioners in her industry. She shares the wisdom and knowledge that she has gained over 25 years of functional medicine, a pioneer in functional medicine, scheduling, leadership and Practice Management. Dr. Deb has a wealth of knowledge and is eager to share to help functional medicine become more productive, and for the practitioners and patients to live better lives. Our podcast shares the good and the bad of our industry because Dr. Deb knows the pain you live every day building a functional medicine practice with practical tools on how to manage money, taxes and patient care. She will discuss it all with you.
Why is the customer experience so important for business? That's what we're going to discuss today. You see customers have come to expect more out of companies. But who can blame them. We've all had customer experiences that range from outstanding to infuriating. It puts more pressure on companies to find a balance between the experience they want to offer and limited internal resources and other priorities, especially when the well known customer centric companies are the ones reaping the rewards. Now I want to share with you a customer experience that I recently had. I was at a conference away in Florida. And I have a severe mold allergy. And I got to my room and I opened the door and this waft of musty moldy smell came over me. And I walked in the room and thought, oh my god, I there's no way I can stay in this room. Absolutely not. And I debated calling and complaining because I didn't want to be that customer that complained and whined, and I knew that the entire resort was really full, and they probably didn't have any rooms left. And so I opened the patio door and thought, okay, maybe if I get some fresh air in here, I can do this. And I called my husband and I looked around and I could see the multiple areas of water damage. And I said, There's no way I can stay here. I'm going to be here six days, there is no way I can stay in this room for six days. And so I decided to call the desk. And I waited on hold for 10 minutes. And during that 10 minute time, I was already having heart racing and shortness of breath and I was getting a headache. And I was just like, oh my gosh, there's no way I can do this. And I paid a lot of money to stay at this fancy place. And I was expecting some pushback at the desk. And I was already a little anxious. And I remember saying to the desk clerk I'm so sorry, I don't want to be one of those customers. But the room I have is moldy and I have some severe mold allergies. And I'm already not feeling well. Is there any way I could possibly have another room. And his response on the other side was absolutely don't worry about it, we'll move you to this room. I'm going to sell him a bellhop over to help you get your things and bring you new keys. And we're going to take care of this. And this is a very large resort. It sits on 1300 acres in Florida. So I grabbed my bag I waited out on the deck for him. And it took them about 10 minutes to come over and help me and the Bell clerk brought my stuff to this room. And when I got to the room that they brought me into, they had an air purifier running for me. And a completely different setup of a room that was totally clean and safe. And I was so blown away by that customer experience. Like they took me very seriously. They didn't say oh no, we don't have all the rooms here at this place. But for them to put an air purifier in my room was like over the top for me. That was an amazing customer experience.
So when we talk about customer experience, it's the sum of all the interactions that our customers have with an organization. It's the person that answers your phone, it's the person that rooms your client. It's the billing clerk. It's everyone all these experiences make up your brand. So you may not think of yourself as a brand yet, but you are, everything you do every single day creates your brand, having an unhappy front desk person is part of your brand. Having staff that eat or drink McDonald's at your front desk affects your brand. You see, if you're a wellness clinic, your brand has to exude that you cannot have unhealthy people working for you. And I know that sounds harsh. And there was a time that in my practice, I would have never looked at that I would have overlooked that. But I understand now how important that is. It's not discrimination. It's how important this is to your brand. You can't have your staff smoking at the front of the building, you just can't if you're a wellness, functional medicine practice, you yourself have to live the life of your brand. If you don't live the life of your brand, then you're a fake, you're a fraud. Think about that. If you're telling someone that they need to eat a gluten free diet, because gluten is inflammatory to you're to your brain, and you're eating tons of gluten that goes against everything that you believe in. Now, maybe you don't have a problem with gluten. And you can have it occasionally. But should you be consuming it every single day? No, I don't think we should, I think we should be living the lives that we share with our clients. Now we can call them customers, we can call them clients, there is a difference though, a customer, you may only have a reaction or interaction with once or twice. A client, on the other hand, is different. A client focuses on the relationships that get built between the business and its customers. And it's once your customer has engaged with you and you've created that relationship with them, now they become a client. So it includes every interaction from the first interaction to your office to the very last. And for a very long time, I had clients say to me, the only reason Deb that I still come to see you, is because of you. If you weren't here, I wouldn't do business with Serenity. Now that's nice, it makes me feel good. But it's a bad reflection on my business. Because the fact that I have people in seats that are driving my customers away, they're driving my clients, the people that I've worked very hard to build relationships with over the years that they don't want to step foot in my business because of them, eventually, I won't be enough for them to stay. And I knew that. It's disrupting your brand if you have people in your business that don't have the same philosophy, philosophy or viewpoint that you do.
Now, you may say, I really don't have a brand. It's just me. Well, honestly, honey, that is your brand. So how are you going to single-handedly take care of everyone's needs in a timely fashion? Because we live in an instant gratifying society. If you can't get your client what they want now, then you're not providing for them. And I'm not saying in medicine, that we have to be able to get to people's needs instantaneously. But it has to be within a timely fashion. You can't say, well, we'll get back to that client in four or five days and think that's acceptable. It's not they're going to find someone else to work with. And there was a time my practice was so busy, we would tell our clients, we'll get back to you within 72 hours. That was just the nature of my practice. We were so overwhelmed and we were so short-staffed. That was the best we could do. But it wasn't good enough for our clients. They did not want to wait 72 hours to get an answer to their question. And can you blame them? I can't blame them. Now we have a different setup. And we have better interactions and better timing and more people that can meet their needs. But we need to think about that. You see, loyalty comes from service. And if you want clients to stay with you for decades, you need to build a relationship with them and provide the best service you can. You have to continue to look for ways that you can service them and their needs as it changes with age. I have clients that have been with me for 20 yours? Would they have stayed with me if the only thing I offered was preconception care, and now they're menopausal. No, there's no need for them to be with me anymore. Because they're menopausal, they're not looking at preconception. Now, some people, that's their niche preconception, and that's all they ever want to work with. And that's fine. But understand your brand, is that you cannot have clients that are going to be with you for 20 years. So it's going to be more costly for you to continue to be attracting clients. And your, your lifetime of your client may only be a few years, it's not going to be longevity. My niche has always been postmenopausal women and chronic illness. So I have the longevity of my clients, I don't have to work quite so hard to identify and attract new clients, because I have a lot of residual time with my existing clients to make sure that they're on track, and they're doing what they need to do. And they're keeping their chronic illness in check. There's a difference. You just need to know what your niche is, and what is the longevity of your client.
You also want that service, that customer service to help you build the brand that can last for decades. So that yes, if you're a preconception care specialist, and now your preconception mom becomes a grandma, you want her to refer her grandchildren to you when they're ready. You want her to refer her children to you when they're ready for preconception care. You want that brand to encompass where people think about you at different phases of their lives. So I want to ask you, how are you building your brand? What are you doing to service clients? Do you offer discounts, birthday holiday or just appreciation discounts. We offer a $10 birthday coupon. And they get to use that in the month of their birthday. Several times a year we do patient appreciation discounts where we offer 20% off. We offer raffles where if you refer so many clients to us, your name goes into a drawing, and you're going to win something special from us. So we do these kinds of things to engage our clients. Do you see a need within your community or within your practice that you can fill? During COVID It's been a challenge for everyone, right. But in one week's time, I noticed how many of my clients almost every one of them in a week's time. So that's what say 70-80 clients that I see in a week. 60% of them were telling me they felt alone, they felt isolated. There's a lot of arguments on their family side of what to do, how to manage things. And by mid week, I had said to my office manager, we have to do something, we have this need of clients, our clients need to be in a group of like minded people, they need to have access to information that they understand to be true and safe. I want to start a support group, just like that. I said, Let's start a support group. Let's offer it once a month, we'll ask the group how often they want to meet, we'll meet via zoom. And they can show up when they want to and when they don't want to or they can't that's okay, but they can pop in and out. And I will facilitate but I will not be the only person contributing to this. And maybe we can make new friendships and new relationships with people since they're losing friendships, and they can come together. And we started this within like a three week time, like we put it out there and said, Here we go. And our first Zoom meeting. We had 60 people, and it lasted for two and a half hours. And so at that meeting, we decided we were going to meet twice a month. And we all meet via zoom. And we've been doing this for several months. And on average, we have between 30 and 45 people that show up every time and 95% of them stay on for the entire time and we're supposed to only meet an hour we always go over. We're on for at least two sometimes three hours and I'm developing a different relationship with my clients. My clients are developing a different relationship with me, and we're supporting and filling a need that they have no, we don't charge for this, this is totally free that we offer, because we felt there was a need and it was important for me to be able to get this information out there. Now, do you think that's creating customer brand? And customer service? You bet it is. Do you think it was started with that in mind? Absolutely not. It was started to fill a need. But it is part now of my brand. And this is what I am, and this is who I am. And this is what I do. And this is building my brand differently than I ever thought it would.
So I want to ask you, where are you leaving your mark in business? What are you doing to solidify your brand? And where do you have holes in your customer experience your client experience? Where do you need to do a little work or a little polishing of your team, or a little bit of changing of who you are, who you're hiring and how they're presenting themselves to your client base. So I want you to think about that. And I want you to come back in our Facebook group and share the things you're doing right and the things that you could be doing better in customer service and delivery. And let's share and grow together with this. So that is your homework for today is let's define your brand. Thanks for listening.
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