I wish more people across the world were as demanding as I am.  Here’s what happened:

On March 3rd at 12:15 AM I had a consultative appointment with Oral & Maxillofacial. Incidentally, I had also made a 1:30 PM appointment with a Mark Matosovsky from Matcom who was going to show me some real estate investments they manage for me.

When I arrived at 12:14 PM for my consultative appointment they wanted me to sign more forms. (forms and money seems to be their major priority). They are very process driven. I told them I had a 1:30 PM appointment and asked how long it would take.  The front desk person said 30-40 minutes and that the Doctor I had an appointment with was running late. My regular dentist, Dr. Frys and his staff are awesome and he is ALWAYS on time and maybe I got spoiled

Every 10 minutes I asked them the status.  About 12:50 PM I was considering walking out. I even called my dentist, Dr. Frys, to see if he had another dentist he could refer me to. I was getting really irritated. 

At 1:05 PM they finally called me. I was not in a good mood. I told the woman why and she apologized. Everyone apologizes. Then I see another person who also apologized. I am a very direct person. I am blunt. The doctor came in and I complained about being so late.

The consultative process took about 10 minutes. They gave me the cost for the treatment plan which was $3,477.60 plus, the visit that I waited 50 minutes for was $295.80.  I said I would think about it as they had lost all trust in their ability to do a good job for me.

It gets worse. My wife picked me up to go with me to the 1:30 PM appointment who I had called several times to let him know I was running late. While in the car my wife said she was NO longer interested in seeing Oral & Maxillofacial for her tooth implant.

I called the firm and was on hold 7 minutes for the extension to make appointments so I left a message to cancel her appointment and told them why.  That was another $3500 they lost. Total about $7,000.

Lessons to Be Learned

1. Any firm using voice mail has no love for their customers. This firm loves technology but not customers. Waiting 7 minutes on the phone for the appointment line is really stupid. I wonder how much business they lose each year. When a company has sloppy service I question the quality of their work.

2. They should have live people answering the phone and pick up the call in 1-2 rings. 

3. NO speed. No urgency. With their total staff I saw no speed. No urgency on keeping on time. Very few firms understand the power of speed. Most employees have a slow mindset thinking this is quality service. Most firms have policies and procedures that slow down speed. Most employees are forced to be process driven.

4. Very weak customer service. At no time did I feel valued. My insurance does NOT cover this surgery. $3,447.60 is a lot of money to spend with a firm that has super weak customer service. Plus the fact that they lost another $3,447.60 from my wife.

5. In the U.S. I believe most employees lie when they have problems. I rarely believe employees. They say just about anything to get the customer off their back. I felt everyone at Oral & Maxillofacial was lying. I cannot prove this but I suspect they are making so much money and for some reason are busy, therefore they’ve become arrogant. 

6. NO Service Recovery. NO empowerment.  Less than 1% of companies understand or use Service Recovery.  It’s obvious that Oral & Maxillofacial has no concept of service recovery.

I teach 4 steps in my service strategy seminars, my book Loyal for Life and my customer service program for total staff called Loyal For Life.      

1. Act Quickly

2. Take Responsibility

3. Be Empowered

4. Compensate

All this has to happen in 60 seconds or less. Every organization, every day makes mistakes. Bad things happen to everyone.  Unfortunately, during bad situations, most employees lie hoping the customer will go away and forget who they talked to, which is what usually happens.

At Oral & Maxillofacial everyone knew they had a very unhappy customer in their office. No one understood customer service, empowerment or service recovery. I suspect few people are as candid as I am so they had no idea how to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one. They are used to unhappy customers deciding not to come back and the firm probably figures they do not have the money to afford their services.

Oral & Maxillofacial should have said, “Mr. Tschohl I really apologize for being so late. We screwed up. All our fault. We are going to waive the $295.60 treatment visit today. Again we are so sorry”.  (4 people could have done this including the doctor)  I probably would have gone ahead with the surgery and then convinced my wife to not cancel.  By the way, I have NO intention of ever paying the $295.60  

7. If you want to keep customers and increase sales you must train your staff at least every 4 months on customer service with leading-edge customer service programs. I suspect Oral & Maxillofacial has never trained their staff. They have NO concept of Speed, Empowerment, Customer Service and Service Recovery.

8. Word of Mouth matters. I told Dr. Frys to not recommend them to other clients. I told him that with his recommending this firm and their qualifications, he has put his reputation at risk. He gave me two other doctors I could use.

I repeat…“You can never be too fanatical about service.  Make it your goal to have 100% customer service every time, every day, always!”—John Tschohl