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15 seconds: The difference between so-so and …

Creative Commons License photo credit: maessive

Today is about setting expectations.

When you go into a doctor’s office, most people figure they’ll wait 10-15 minutes whether it makes any sense or not.

If that doctor’s office happens to be an OBGYN, you can reasonably expect that it might be 10 minutes or 3 hours, which goes with the OB part of the territory.

The leg, again

So yesterday, I went back to the doc to get that spider bite thing looked at (again, I’ll spare you the photos). After waiting 10-15 minutes to get the standard temp/bp and probing questions, I somehow managed to find a way to wait for 30 minutes before seeing a doc.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore, I had to poke my head out and ask where ye old doc was.

Why, he’s right outside my door, finishing up some paperwork from the prior client. He looks up, smiles and says “Sorry, had a little crisis, but I’ll be in to see you in just a moment.”

Had Blood Pressure Boy (sorry, don’t recall his name) stuck his head in the door and said “hey, we’ve got a little crisis down the hall, it might be 20-30 minutes before the doc can see you”, expectations are set and reasonably so. I’d sit there and watch “History of the electric light bulb” on the History Channel and be all mellow and such.

Silence, on the other hand, just has me sitting there stewing as I stare at a swollen, red leg wondering if everyone went out for happy hour or over to Costco to taste a few samples.

15 seconds: the time it would have taken for someone to poke their head in and set expectations.

Power to the people

Over the weekend, we had a bunch of wind push over a tree onto the power poles just down the road. 1 pole got creamed, which put tension on the one in front of my drive. It ended up badly cracked. 6 hours without power.

When telephone poles get creamed by falling trees on my road, I expect the power to go out…just not randomly for 3 to 6 hours each day for 4 days.

Yesterday, I walked out to see if they were going to change both poles that day (not sure) and they volunteered that the power would be out for several hours in the afternoon. That allowed me to schedule around the power situation without a loss of time, productivity and so on.

Today, they showed up again. One of the trucks is parked on the road in front of my place.

It might have taken 2 minutes to walk down the drive, knock on the door and say “hey, we’re taking the power down in about 10 minutes and it’ll be down for several hours”.

But that didn’t happen.

Mid-morning, the power went out without warning.

Now, I knew that it was going to go out sometime during the day,  but not when. The effort to share that tidbit would have saved me no time (due to short-term UPS batteries protecting my gear), but it would have let me prepare my schedule around it.

The slight edge, again

It’s not a huge deal, but it’s one of those slight edge things that great businesses do for their customers.

  • “Hey, we’ve got a crisis in room 11. It might be 30 minutes before the doc can see you. Would you like a cup of water or something?”
  • “Hey, we’re cutting the power in 10 minutes and it’ll be down for several hours, just a heads up in case you need to shut down computers or something.”
  • “Hey, it’ll be 2 weeks before I can get to your mower, will you need it before then? If so, stop by and I’ll give you a loaner.”
  • “Hey, there’s a rebate on that item, better take this form with you. May as well save a few bucks where you can.”
  • “Did you know that our clients who sell this item sell 20% more if they present it this way? Might give it a try if you can.”

You get the idea.

Expectations can change in a mere 15 seconds. So can your entire relationship with a client.

2 replies on “15 seconds: The difference between so-so and …”

Mark, in our business at the very minimum we acknowledge customers and tell them “we’ll be right with you” when we are busy. That acknowledgment goes a very long way. Most customers just want to be acknowledged that you appreciate them and their hard earn money.

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