Profit: Buy or Bye?

April 1, 2009

Making or losing money in the ‘now’ economy means you have to ensure each customer micro-moment delivers a message of  buy not bye.  Here’s a teaching tale of what not to do that will amuse and instruct you and your team.

It’s a high-end medical office offering cosmetic treatments with equally high price tags. I have been invited for a complimentary consultation prior to two ‘free’ facial micro-dermabrasion treatments.My last micro-dermabrasion occurred when I wiped out rollerblading but that was my hip and when I discovered the healing properties of  Scotch.

I arrive early and look for a coat rack, it’s winter after all, but alas no hook, no coat stand, no closet. A rust-colored coat is the sole occupant on the middle waiting room chair. Are you getting the message? We might care about your skin but not what you wear to cover it. Sparkly red Christmas branches decorate the room. It is January 26th. Subcutaneous message: we are too busy for superficial details even though we are in the ‘superficial’  (that is to say the surface of the skin) business. When a customer walks in your door what messages are you sending?

At the high-countered reception window, Jessica a native woman in a large, motorized wheelchair, is booking her next appointment. Her wheelchair has tires that would make an Arctic transport truck proud.She motors to the door and gets stuck. No staff come to help. I widen the opening of the first door and we joke as I squeeze by to open the second. Message: we care about you just not very much. Once you pay your bill or book an appointment you are on your own. >Next I am greeted by the receptionist, a young gal with a pleasant demeanor and equally pleasant skin. She hands me a cheap clipboard (one dollar at any dollar store) with a forest of paper requesting a great deal of personal medical information. I don’t recall a privacy form. This is, I remind you, a meeting to set a meeting to remove some dead skin not remove an organ or three. It’s reno time not demo time. They are not meeting me where I am. They are meeting me where they want me to be.  Are you giving the impression you want a customer to open their wallet or their bank account?

Katherine appears. She looks ten, okay twenty but you know what I mean. She walks me to a small consulting room with a plush club chair. White feather Christmas trees adorn the shelves. Need I remind you Santa left the building 3o days ago. Katherine asks me more questions and begins her pitch. Procedure, benefit, procedure, benefit. It’s 85% content and 15% connection.  I find myself tuning out once in a while despite her melodic voice. She could easily have a future in radio when wrinkles appear and she’s too old to be on staff. All of a sudden Katherine says “Just a minute”‘ and listens intently to her earbud, which I hadn’t noticed before because of her blonde bob. She pinches the mini receiver by her collar and speaks.  This could be the final straw but I had not yet met the camel. Message: whatever happens in my earbud is more important than the customer before me.  In the field of manufacturing they have analyzed each moment and made them ‘lean’  – all unncessary steps are eliminated.  In the service industry we need to find out if moments are fat.  Fat the way Hagen Daz makes your day.  If you want to people to spend money make them feel rich by giving them your full attention. There is so little of it these days that if you do it and do it well you will stand out like a Rolls Royce in a parking lot of tricycles.

At this point – and it’s me here I’m writing to you. Every blog experts says you are going to stop reading because this is too long. But stick with me; the pay off is coming. I am taken to the Physician’s treatment room. The walls are a crazy Crayola blue which match the treatment table crammed into the corner.  An 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper taped to the entrance to the treatment rooms said renovations were underway; they should have started with this room.  A sensitive gay man would run out shrieking, it’s that ugly. Message: we know nothing about beauty we can’t even choose a paint chip.

The doc arrives. He’s hyped. He sits, crosses his leg and it begins to twitch, alot.I am worried about him. After his prolonged assessment of my visage, he says I frown.  I try to explain that a cleft lip means my lips don’t meet so I have to bring my bottom lip up to meet my non-existent upper lip to do the daily things that lips enjoy. I frown on one side by default. Doc says no it’s just me, I frown, and fillers would help. He adds “You use your cheek muscles a lot”. I can’t help it I’m trying not to laugh: he’s high, the room is ugly, no one is going to believe this.

Twitch asks if I have any questions. I do. “How much coffee have you had today?” He laughs, “I don’t drink coffee.” “Tea?” I ask.  “You seem really revved.” “No I just move fast to get the most out of life.” Yeah right. I was tempted to ask what his conversion rate was from pitch to sale but didn’t.  Time to go. It has been two hours from start to finish. I  could have rented my own sander and polished Joan Rivers. On the way out, another twenty-something tries to book me for blasting. Message: We botox women over 40 but we don’t hire them.  Or for crying out loud does your business show that it cares about its niche?

I ask them to call me Wednesday.  It’s a test. They fail. In fact they don’t call for three weeks.

In the now economy we have to ask ourselves what are the messages embedded in every micro-moment because, face it, you are either getting a buy or a bye.



One Response to “Profit: Buy or Bye?”

  1. louisekarch on January 29th, 2009 3:09 pm

    [kaltura-widget wid=”xpd0rxv2ow” size=”comments” /]

If it is not your genius it is not your job.
Louise B. Karch