I recently had the responsibility of planning a hotel stay for my son’s basketball team, of which my husband is the head coach, and their parents for an out of town tournament.
I figured a group reservation for 12 families couldn’t be that hard. I told my husband, “I’ll take care of this for you, honey.” I winked at him and walked away thinking that ‘someone’ is going to get major brownie points for this task.
What seemed easy in theory, proved exasperating. On my multiple calls to the hotel, I was passed around to four different people to make the reservation. At no time did any of these people describe to the following person who helped me what we just spent time speaking about. So, guess what? I had the pleasure of repeating myself quite a bit. I encountered resistance from customer service representatives who advised me that it “wasn’t our policy” to do certain things and overall I had to be very patient and persistent in order to get what I needed. I finally reached someone who was willing to make a group reservation and allowed me to do business with their hotel-- after four people had ‘helped’ me, and numerous phone calls.
As I went through all of the brain damage and the rigamarole of simply trying to get the team to stay together, I began to draw parallels from the hotel industry to the dental practice.
This experience reminded me just how challenging it can be to complete a simple business transaction and how it should never be difficult to schedule an appointment, set up a time to do fillings, or get a patient out of pain quickly. If it IS difficult for patients to make an appointment, we all know they will not stay with us, and they'll look for someone who will accommodate their needs, their busy schedules, and their family with less difficulty. One of the most beneficial things we can do is to remember to train and empower our teams to understand how to effectively communicate with our patients.