This week, like so many of us, I went to the florist for Valentine’s day. There were two people in front of me in line. When the florist brought out a somewhat meager bouquet and told the first person in line it would cost $95 the young man looked astonished. He sheepishly said that was much more than he had in mind and after some discussion with the florist the customer just turned and walked out of the store. The second person then stepped up and went through the same discussion. He said he only had $30 to spend and wanted to know what he could get. After 10 minutes of heartbreaking discussion the florist convinced him to spend $50, a number that was almost double what the customer wanted to spend. I wondered if I stood there all day how many similar discussions would I have seen?
It occurred to me that I had never seen this type of gut wrenching discussion at an Apple store. Customers there always seem happy and excited about the next Apple product they are going to buy. Price never seems to be a surprise and never seems to stop a purchase. Customers love to buy at Apple and in many ways it seems their only regret is that Apple doesn’t have more things to sell them.
The question I would have is whether our industry is more like the florist store or the Apple store? Do our patients, providers and payers view us like the customers in that florist store or at the Apple store? Clearly the products we sell are much more important than either flowers or Apple gadgets but I am not sure our customers see it that way. I am always stunned by the hundreds of prescriptions waiting to be picked up at my local drugstore. I am painfully aware that a high percentage of them will never be purchased and that represents a huge failing of our industry.
How can we make our customers as satisfied as those at the Apple store?