Service lessons learned from my doctor
I recently had an operation to put an end to months of yucky pain, fatigue and writing cheques my physical strength just couldn’t cash.
So here I was in hospital in a state of forced rest as I accepted that my body will take its own time to heal, and why patience is a virtue!
Every single day, my surgeon came in to see me just to check in. He had other people to see and rounds to make as part of his day and the visits only took 2-5 minutes AT THE MOST.
But it was the quality and frequency of those visits that enabled him to deliver better care for ME and in turn, help me recover faster, go home sooner and for the hospital, free up a bed for someone who needs it more than I do. I thought about what it was that made his visits valuable to me, and here’s the application I can see to sales and service:
ONE: Frequent, top of mind contact
Sometimes we overcomplicate what this needs to be. Take time to think about your key clients, referrers and prospects and how you can stay in touch, directly and indirectly, to stay connected in a way that adds to their day and reinforces a positive association with you. It’s about anchoring a good experience with frequent, small pieces immediately after the event, and then intermittently after that.
For example: if you have a great meeting, outcome or something else that you’ve been directly involved with for this person, text straight after to thank them and refer to what made it great for you personally. Reinforce that with a call, text or email a couple of days after that with the next meeting and then another communication point that can just be an article, a picture, a link to something that is relevant to them.
Then, it’s a matter of setting a cadence after that that you can sustain.
TWO: Personalised conversation
How well do you know your clients or customers outside of your business relationship? While you don’t need to talk about their private lives (after all, they’re called private lives for a reason), you can get to know their world at work, their personal challenges and drivers so that your conversation is relevant to THEM. Meaningful to THEM. This means being able to meet people where they’re at by becoming experts at rapport.
THREE: Outcome driven
No one has time for long winded conversations that amble with no obvious point to them. Be clear about what you want/need to cover by the end of the communication and ensure you are deliberate about achieving that. It’s respectful of your customer’s time, and frees up yours too. For example, my surgeon of course knew what he needed to achieve each visit like my response to medication, progress, wellbeing, and so on. Which isn’t to say his visits were business like. It’s not binary. Conversations can be both purposeful AND deepen connection
FOUR: What is the most help I can give right now
If we show up with curiosity and a desire to give, we look for ways to do just that. It’s a game changer. Is it directing them to someone else first? Is it just to listen? Is it to build more insight about how we can partner better? Once we know, we can take appropriate action.
I’m not a doctor, but I am The Sales Doctor so…..
Remember that service is not a role, it’s a practice.