The Importance of an Extraordinary Client Experience

UPDATE 3/5/12 As a result of such a great experience, when someone asks me who my son’s orthodontist is, I start telling everyone about how fantastic mine is.  Apparently, one of those people became of patient as a result of the recommendation.  I had no idea until I received a handwritten thank you card in the mail with a $10 gift card to Dunkin Donuts.  Now, the card would have been sufficient.  But the added gift card just shows what a class act they are…and are smart marketers, too.

Those who know me know my son is seven and has now entered the wonderful world of orthodontia.  We knew this was coming up, stockpiled our pennies (you know how expensive it can be!) and through a series of referrals decided on an orthodontist.  We landed there because he has a wonderful reputation among his peers.

When we went to his office for the initial consult I could not get over how kid (and adult) friendly the office was.  The staff was almost Prozac-happy.  There were gameboys, a flat screen TV with the latest kid movies, toys, educational games, magazines for the adults, private areas for cell-phone use and the coolest check-in process for the kids.  They put their finger in a machine (not traditional fingerprinting) and it checks them in.  Their photo pops up.  (I actually think the receptionists know who the kids are and use their computer to call up the file and voila!)

Orthodontia is very stressful for the child and parent and it’s expensive. Many times it’s not even aesthetic but required for the child’s well-being. There are no shortcuts in the process, either.  The experience is long and drawn out with no guaranteed results.  The relationship established at the beginning and throughout the experience is critical to maximize the professional’s ability to give the child the desired result.  The child and parent play a critical role in the professional’s success in achieving the desired outcome for the patient.  Sound familiar?

So, back to the Prozac-induced happy office.  They were so efficient and pleasant, prepared for all my questions, were ready for the hot button issues like price with easy payments plans, the numerous  and onerous appointments and working with my schedule.  Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, was anticipated and answered.  They had ample time to address all my concerns and I did not feel rushed.  No concern was too small.  In many ways it was surreal.

When my son finally had his appointment to put in the appliances I had to plan for ninety minutes.  They took him right on time, had coffee and snacks available knowing I would be waiting. In the alternative, they suggested if I wanted to go shopping and return he’d be in good hands.  (I opted to get on the phone and tackle the insurance company who messed up…but the insurance company was also really helpful and pleasant!  What’s going on?)

Towards the end of the appointment I was provided detailed information verbally and in a written packet.  They demonstrated how to handle his appliances and encouraged me to try while I was there so I was comfortable.  A stressful situation was made so easy I was, quite frankly, stunned.  They again anticipated all potential issues which could arise between this appointment and our return the following week so I was comfortable. And the appointment was exactly ninety minutes.

Then two days later my son receives a lovely handwritten card from the technician complimenting him on what a great job he did, discussing how glad she was he shared stories about his vacation and dog and included a sticker of a dog in the card. She concluded by saying she was looking forward to seeing him at his next appointment.

This is an extraordinary client experience and highly personalized.  The price:  comparable to all orthodontists recommended.

More than facts, process management and functional product or service attributes, value creation is a designed based discipline of creating an episode, an encounter, an adventure, a perception, and a sense that there is greater use value in the experience than in the goods themselves.

It has been shown that an extraordinary client experience is crucial to success today.

Don’t you think that I will talk about my son’s orthodontist to all parents I know who need braces?  Don’t you think I will very easily be able to detail the experience, address all their questions and do so with confidence and enthusiasm?  That’s right. The orthodontist gave me all the tools I needed to do so.  He gave me all the tools to leverage his work.  He gave me all the tools to market his practice for him all while giving me an extraordinary client experience.

How are you creating an extraordinary client experience?  How are you converting your clients into evangelists for your law practice?

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3 comments on “The Importance of an Extraordinary Client Experience

  • I feel the same way about my daughters’ dentist – I chose him because my younger daughter had highly cavity prone baby teeth, with about 8 fillings before she was five (good news – just turned 12, no cavities in any adult teeth). He is the highest priced pediatric dentist in town but he can put in a filling in 60 seconds or less. It’s amazing. I changed to him from another dentist when I heard screams emanating in the waiting room and heard the dentist ask the nurse come in to “hold” a child down (the little boy was three).
    Not only is this dentist very nice to kids, he is non-judgmental to parents (he did not blame me for my daughters’ cavities)
    So for all these reasons, I do rave about this dentist – but I also do mention that he charges about 25 percent more than other dentists. Do you think that doing so undercuts my recommendation? I don’t want people to call him and find out how expensive he is and then decide he’s not right for them – or even have them feel upset if they go and receive a very high and unexpected bill.

    • I don’t think that telling others he charges about 25% more undercuts your recommendation at all. He gave you these tools and facts. It depends if you qualify it with, ‘I found it worth it for these reasons or I didn’t find it worth it’. That’s the true recommendation and if one of your friends goes there and they know what to expect and did so prior to the consult, it’s still an excellent referral with great chances of conversion for the dentist. I just indicated the fairness of pricing because I didn’t want readers to believe that I or others would pay for ‘surroundings’ over quality and that the orthodontist didn’t price in the extras from what I can see. It was simply part of the overall client experience and was incorporated in the presentation to others, too.

  • I am currently reading “Clued In” by Lewis Carbone and “Management Lessons From Mayo Clinic” by Berry and Seltman. Both are eye-opening as to the power of creating and managing the total customer experience and how that experience determines value and defines brand. It’s nice to read about a real world example

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