As I sat there buttoning my shirt, it occurred to me that I had been there for more than an hour and a half, and had about 10 minutes of total interaction time. For illustration purposes, let’s call the interaction time with the nurse and the doctor “value-added” time and the time where I was waiting in one room or another “non-value added” time. In lean terms, this equates to a total time of 1.5 hours, and value-added time of 10 minutes. To calculate the value-added percentage, divide 10 minutes value-added time by 90 minutes non-value-added time, which comes to about 10 to 11 percent.
Well, as a customer, I don’t want to pay for 10 percent value-added time. I want to pay for 90 percent value-added time. I don’t want to wait in this room for a while and then move to that room for a while. I want to walk in and have my appointment start when it is supposed to, and I want to flow through the process from start to finish. I should have been walking out of the doctor’s office at 10:15 having completed my visit and onto my next errand or back to work. Instead, I was walking out of there at 11:30 and not feeling very good about my supplier.
If I am the customer, and I am always right, then why am I the one stuck waiting around? Why am I paying for a very expensive service and leaving there feeling completely unappreciated? More importantly, how many times will I come back to this doctor with these feelings of under-appreciation and wasted time?
I don’t want to suppose what this particular doctor’s office was dealing with, or what their thought process might be. Frankly, I don’t care. What I do care about is that my time is valued by my vendor and my patronage is appreciated on some level. I also want to feel that I am paying for real value for the goods and services for which I pay.
Don’t all of our customers want the same thing? Whether you are making widgets, providing a service or even supporting another group inside the same company, it doesn’t matter. If you took a survey of your customers and asked them to rate your service, how would you rate? Would you be stellar at 9 out of 10, or 10 out of 10? Or, would you rank about a 3 like my doctor’s office? More importantly, if they had a choice, would they keep doing business with you? Take a minute and think about whom your customers are, and ask yourself if they know you appreciate them. Do you show them that you appreciate them by trying to maximize your value to them? Do you tell them thanks for the business? If you make a mistake, do you personally reach out to them and apologize?
As the global marketplace continues to change at a frightening pace, you need to make sure that you (and your organization) cherish each customer that you have and that you share your appreciation with them. Additionally, look at your processes to see where you customers are stuck in waiting areas for you (your product) to show up. If you make them wait too long, they will go somewhere else with their business.