One day soon, I want to hold a big contest in central Missouri:
Best business bathroom.
Think yours is clean? Roomy? Replete with, umm, reading material?
That thing is bigger than my first apartment … always spotless … real towels – not paper ones … a bountiful selection of scents and smells (perfumes and colognes, I mean) … large mirror … dazzlingly lit … and a flush like a jet engine …
I think back to when they built the physical plant for the practice …
I’m not sure you can begin to imagine the costs associated with starting a dental practice – and that’s just the plumbing for the operatories.
And Nancee and Dr. Jay Reese don’t have a partner or a group. They invested it all themselves.
Wouldn’t you think they’d try to save money where they could? Wouldn’t the bathroom be a smart place to start? I mean, how long are folks actually going to hang out in there?
Before opening the new practice, Jay, an Academy Graduate, asked himself some questions:
"What does the Ritz-Carlton do right?"
"What does Nordstrom’s do right?"
"What does the Pike Creek Junction Cafe in the Texas Hill Country do right?"
There’s more, naturally. In fact, I’m certain I have at least four hours of he and I talking on tape that would make a most useful guide for any small and medium-sized business owner.
I won’t release that – fearing it might fall into the wrong hands, but I will recommend three things to you.
1. Consider every element – every potential touch point with the consumer (including how your person who answers the phone answers the phone – call 573-446-8000 and listen to what the lovely Alison says – it’s subtle but so smart) – as a language that communicates who you are to your customers. Advertising may bring customers in for the first visit, but the world is littered with the corpses of failed businesses who had lots of first visits. How well you make those first visits meaningful and turn them into second, third, and fourth visits is the ultimate barometer to the success or failure of your business.
2. Since we won’t share our interview with you … yet … I might suggest picking up a copy of my partner Mike Dandridge’s new book, Thinking Outside the Bulb.
3. If you live in Columbia, call Show Me Smiles and ask to see the place. Learn from it.
If you’re like George Costanza who knew all the best bathrooms in Manhattan, you’ll have your spot for Columbia’s southwest side.
If he’s free, maybe spend five minutes speaking with Dr. Jay, too, but I warn you – five minutes quickly turns into an hour, and he may just turn into your new dentist, too. He’s turned even the most cynical of wives (love you, honey) into a true believer.
Yes, he’s a client, but yes, too, I’m a patient and true believer.
Right now, take out a sheet of paper and see how many true believers in your business you can list.
Hmm … that it?
Time to do some hard thinking about who you are and how well you communicate.
I suggest picking up Mike’s book … and heading to Dr. Jay’s John.
Have a good weekend.