At the recent Medtrade Spring show I noticed that my hotel shower had a little defect and it was leaking water onto the bathroom floor. I placed a call to the hotel's front desk and they said they would send up an "engineer" immediately. In less than five minutes after placing the call, this engineer-of-sorts had the shower fixed. After he left, my room phone immediately rang. It was the front desk checking to make sure my problem had been taken care of adequately. While this might appear to be of little significance, it stands out in my mind because it shows a business philosophy of an attention to detail. It is impressive enough to have a problem that can be fixed with one simple phone call, but even more impressive when it's followed up with a courtesy call to ensure that the problem was resolved. A few simple steps left a positive impression in my mind of the hotel's level of service and professionalism.
I have been hearing of this business philosophy repeatedly when it comes to the HME industry. In order to stay afloat in times of reimbursement cuts or other challenges?success lies in the details. Those details might involve tightening up your billing procedures or making that follow-up call to see if your customer is happy with their recent purchase. HME consultant, Roberta Domos writes about how you can stay profitable by reducing inefficiency and making fewer mistakes. (Read Tools and Tips, page 22.)
In this month's At Home with Dealers (page 16) we interviewed two dealers who base their entire business philosophy by focusing on the details. The detail might be conveyed in taking the time to understand customers' needs by designing a store that is inviting and comfortable or a store that looks vibrant instead of medical. Maybe the detail comes when you see your store as a "boutique" and not simply as a home medical equipment store, or maybe you offer your clients homemade cookies. Details can set your business apart, increase your profits and referrals, and leave a lasting impression on your customers.
When I was leaving the hotel after Medtrade had ended, I noticed that all personnel were trained to say "Delighted to help you," to every patron's request or question. I couldn't help but think that this simple act of business etiquette wouldn't stand out if other companies adhered to a policy of detail.
This article originally appeared in the April 2005 issue of HME Business.