One of the best habits you can develop in your podiatry business, which applies to both the business owner and ALL TEAM MEMBERS, is to Under Promise and Over Deliver. Too often, though, Podiatrists do the exact opposite. They over promise and under deliver, and this causes a lot of long-term problems for the podiatry business.
Let Me Explain
I’ll use a simple orthotic adjustment as an example:
You say to a patient, “Yes, Mrs Smith, I’ll have your orthotic adjustment completed for you tomorrow. You can pick them up any time after 4 pm”.
You smile, and the patient smiles and basically, you have a verbal agreement.
However, you’ve had a busy day, and when the patient arrives at 4 pm, as instructed, the orthotics are not ready to pick up. And, you forgot to tell the receptionist to call Mrs Smith and let her know there was a delay.
Mrs Smith arrives, and all you can say is, “Sorry, Mrs Smith, we’ve been busy. I’ll have someone call you as soon as they are done” – This may give you some breathing room, but not a lot.
To the patient, this probably means 24-hours unless you’ve told them otherwise.
If a few days pass and you have not contacted Mrs Smith, she will phone you, and this time she will be upset, annoyed and possible abrupt to your Receptionist.
And your Receptionist is left with no other choice than to tell lies to the Patient to cover your butt and defend you; instead of just telling the patient the truth, you’re unorganized, somewhat unprofessional and don’t care about them as much as you think you do, but not to worry the Patient has probably already started to work this out.
The reason I know this happens is that I’ve had a lot of patients tell me similar stories over the years when they’ve been patients at other podiatry clinics. Similar to the one I just explained.
I’d love to say this never happened in my business, but unfortunately, it did.
I had a team member who repeatedly over-promised and undelivered, and it caused so many problems for my business and the rest of the team. No matter how many times I address the issue, this bad habit of over-promising and under-delivering continued, and I was left with no choice other than to terminate their employment.
I felt terrible having to let them go, but it was the right thing to do for my business.
As I had pointed out to them, the solution was straightforward.
If you know you’re busy, allow an appropriate amount of time to get the work completed.
Don’t promise to have an orthotic adjustment ready the next day if it is unlikely to be done.
You’re setting yourself up for failure
A better option is to allow a few days and surprise the patient with an early phone call.
For example, you may see Mrs Smith on late Tuesday afternoon, and you say, “Yes, Mrs Smith, I can have your orthotics ready for on Friday, probably around 4 pm.”
You then call Mrs Smith on Thursday, the day before the scheduled completion date and inform her they are ready to pick up.
In Mrs Smith’s eyes – ‘You are now a Legend’, and this is a perfect example of Under Promising and Over Delivering.
For this technique to be effective, you must first give the patient a reasonable time frame for completion. It must be a date or day that the patient feels are adequate to get the job done properly but not too.
You cannot tell them an adjustment will take a week; this is referred to as poor service.
Under Promising and Over Delivering is very useful when you’re making an orthotic adjustment, but also for podiatry reports, returning a telephone call or ringing the patient with X-ray or Ultrasound results.
The other benefit of understanding this technique is that if you require the full amount of time quoted to complete the task, you will still look good in the patient's eyes because it was ready, on time, as promised.
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