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Attitude Adjustment

Have you ever noticed that the higher you go on the human scale, the nicer the people are?  It’s all a matter of attitude.  You can tell a great deal about a person just from studying his attitude.  People are mean, suspicious and vindictive outwardly only when they are mean, suspicious and vindictive inwardly.  The more confident a person is of his value as a person, the better his attitude toward others and the world in general.

Big people just naturally treat you well; they’re smiling, courteous and confident.  Being happy with themselves as people, they can reflect it.  They have nothing to fear.

Only little people will treat you badly.  These are the people who have never really grown up or matured.  Something stunted their inner growth, their confidence in themselves, and since they’re not happy within themselves, and not confident in their ability and worth as persons, they can only see the world in their own reflection.  As a result, their treatment of you is a kind of punishment of themselves.

We can only love others to the extent that we love ourselves.  By carefully observing how others treat you, you can make a fairly good evaluation of what these people think of themselves.

People with the best attitude just naturally gravitate toward the top of any organization.  So, the higher up you go in any organization of value, the nicer the people seem to become.  Their good attitudes did not come as a result of their better jobs; their better jobs came to them as a result of their attitudes.

People frequently make the mistake when they meet a successful and happy person of saying, “I’d be happy, too, if I had what he’s got.”  It’s a natural tendency to think his attitude is the result of his success.  But this is not the case.  Just the reverse is true.

William James of Harvard once wrote:  “The greatest discovery of my generation is that people can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”

Each of us attracts the kind of life we, as individuals, represent.  That is, before a person can achieve something, he must become the kind of person this “something” would naturally belong to.  We must first be the person we would like to be before the things that person would have can come to us.  This might sound complicated, but it isn’t really.

If you know how you think you would act if you had everything you wanted, begin to act that way now, make that kind of attitude a habit, and you will get the things you want.  The attitude must precede the accomplishment.  Most people have this backwards and, as a result, wonder why they never quite make the grade.  If you want to be happy, spend your days acting like a happy person and it will come to you.  One day you’ll wake up to find you’re happy, and you’ll never quite know when the acting stopped and the  reality began.  That’s why the saying that people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be is true.

As a great teacher once said…”A good mental attitude is better even than mental ability.  Your attitude tells the world what you expect from life, and you will receive exactly that…no more…no less.”  Zig Ziglar said it best.  “Your attitude determines your altitude in life.”

THE UNBEATABLE ADVANTAGE

Keeping patients happy is the best defense  against competition.  The offices who keep their patients happy are virtually unbeatable.

Their patients are more loyal.  They buy more, more often.  They are willing to pay more for the practice’s products, and they stick with the practice through difficult periods, allowing it time to adapt to change.

Nothing Else Comes Close

Nothing matches the long-term protection that keeping patients happy provides.  New competition will not, technology does not, lower labor costs do not, size can not.

What Happened?

In general, however, keeping patients happy merely gets lip service.  This explains why the vast majority of dental offices have failed to  put this marketing concept into practice despite large investments in marketing.

The overwhelming difference between the winners and the rest lies not in what they do, but rather how they do it.  There are few if any differences between these offices and their counterparts in terms of the services they offer, the quality of staff, or even the technical skills of the doctor.

The critical difference lies in the fact that there is an emphasis on customer satisfaction at a profit.  These people never forget either of these goals, and their success lies in their ability to take an integrated, holistic approach that balances these two often conflicting requirements without compromising either patients or the bottom line.

Customer Satisfaction Creates Market Success

This is the central premise of the marketing concept: Keeping patients happy is good business.  Our quantitative analysis confirmed these findings.  The Wilson Learning Center found that customer loyalty was intimately related to satisfaction with the product.  The happier patients are with a given service, the more likely they are to buy it again, and the less likely they are to switch to your competition.

Vital Competitive Advantage

Offices who adopt the strategy of maximizing customer or patient satisfaction obtain several vital competitive advantages.  Their long-term profitability is normally higher than their competitors’, they have more protection against shifts in patients needs, and if they should slip up, their chances of regaining lost customers and markets are better.

Higher Long-Term Profitability

By providing superior patient satisfaction, doctors can obtain several competitive advantagesthat lead to higher profitability.

1. Less wasted motion.  In the process of keeping patients happy, you get to know them so well that you make fewer false starts.  You should know what your patients want even before they are aware of it.  This allows you to anticipate their case acceptance.

2.  The practice gets a price advantage.  In office after office, happy patients are willing to pay extra for the additional satisfaction they derive.  How much extra?  That depends on other factors such as the overall competitive environment, the price sensitivity of patients, the type of purchase, and practice positioning.  However, be it small or large, that extra margin is always there.

3.  Patients come back more often.  Satisfied patients are more loyal to their doctors than are dissatisfied patients.  They’re more likely to come back to your office to buy other services.  Combined with their willingness to pay a price premium, this higher repeat rate leads to greater revenues and, ultimately, more profits.  This is particularly valuable in a highly competitive industry where the price premium may be tiny (1 to 5 percent), as is often the case in most areas of the country.  In such situations, the slight price advantage, together with the higher loyalty or repeat rate, slowly but steadily adds up to greater long-term profitability.

4.  Transaction costs are lower.  As every Doctor knows, it is easier to sell more dentistry to an existing patient than it is to attract new patients.  Thus, greater patient loyalty means that the office’s continuing  overhead expenses are lower.  The office doesn’t have to spend as much time or money on marketing schemes.  The question is no longer why the patient should buy your services.  Instead, the focus is on which services, and how much, the patient should accept.  In many cases, the doctor merely sets up the treatment and answers patients’ questions:  you don’t have to spend much time selling.

5.  Communication costs are lower.  Lastly, happy patients act as a volunteer sales force.  They tell others (friends, relatives, and neighboring businesses) while you leverage your presence in the marketplace.

There are certainly many other types of competitive advantages than these few.  Take some time and identify your competitive advantages.  Work on them.  Refine them.  Create new ones.  You’ll have a stronger, more profitable, more valuable practice as a result.

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