The person who taught me this runs a very successful beauty salon/day spa.
I know a doctor whose patients:
- Show up expecting to be treated without an appointment (and it's not an emergency!)
- Show up at the wrong time
- Forget about their appointments
- Repeatedly make appointments and do not forget but just don't show up and don't call
- Pay in arrears
- Expect reminder calls when he doesn't do them for everyone
Why? Because he lets them get away with it! When he first started his practice he was desperate for patients so he took walk-ins, let people pay later, and whatever else he could do just to build the practice.
But the people who take advantage of these things tell other people! So you get more of the same.
A new patient who called for an appointment actually said that she chose his practice because another patient told her that he did not require people to make appointments after they were established patients.
People who are waiting in the lobby often hear other patients say "I'll pay you Friday" or "I pay once a month" and of course they assume that is a normal practice.
Just a few simple things could change their behavior.
All he needs is a few signs at the front desk:
- Payment is appreciated at the time of service
- Treatment by appointment only
- We are now billing for missed appointments
Normally people do not abuse favors.
He can always refuse to treat people who refuse to follow the rules! By allowing people to not respect his time and the value of his services, and to not take responsibility for keeping track of their appointments, he gets the behavior he doesn't want! There is a fine line we walk in business.
We want more clients, but are we so desperate that we will take anyone, even if they don't value us? One reason I love my MLM business is that I have the freedom to choose whom to do business with.
I also set my own hours.
If people call me late at night, I do not answer the phone.
I want people to respect me, and the fact that I am not available at certain times.
Have you ever heard that you should not give away puppies or kittens for free? If you want people to treat animals right, they need to spend some money so they feel like the animal has value.
Of course everyone should respect animals (and people) "just because" but unfortunately many do not.
So, in your quest to build your business, think about who you want to work with and how you want them to treat you.
Then teach people how to treat you! Be sure to reinforce only the behavior you want!