On a training call yesterday, I helped a young lady break out of what I call “Alexa Mode.”
For 95% of the practices we secret shop, the person on the phone (whether it’s a consult scheduler or a counselor) is stuck in “Alexa Mode.” It’s super-common, and it’s expensive because it’s costing you patients daily.
Me: “Hey Alexa, what time does TCU men’s basketball play this week?”
Alexa: “TCU takes on Seton Hall in the first round on Friday at 8:57 p.m.”
This is Alexa Mode. I ask a question, Alexa answers it (actually it’s Siri in my case, we roll deep with Apple around here).
I ask, I get the info I need, and I go about my day.
For Siri, for Alexa, for any other digital assistant, this is solid work. But when our schedulers go into Alexa Mode, it results in massive holes in our consult schedule.
You are not Alexa. You are an amazing human being, made in the image of God, playing a crucial role in the patient journey.
You are not a machine that robotically spouts answers to random questions thrown your way. You are a leader who understands the needs of your patients, and helps them make the decision that’s right for them.
Make no mistake: If someone calls our office, asks questions, gets the info they need, and then goes about their day…
We have failed them.
“Troy, people ask me questions. You mean I shouldn’t answer them?”
Couple notes on this:
First, do not feel beholden to answer every question asked of you. That said, it’s important to identify and address the concern underlying the question. That’s a whole other lesson in itself (literally – we have a coaching module on that in our E3 Bootcamps where we go in-depth on this concept).
To summarize: every question is the surface-level manifestation of an underlying concern. Deal with the concern at the root, and you don’t have to mess around with the question.
“Do you guys offer financing plans?”
The common ANSWER to the QUESTION is: “We don’t finance, but we work with a company called Care Credit/Alpheon, and they have XYZ promotional rate right now.”
But the underlying CONCERN is “Can I afford it / How can I fit this into my budget?”
So addressing the CONCERN (vs. simply answering the question) would be more like “Great question! We have several different payment options, including plans as low as $X a month. Look, we have college kids who come in here and have LASIK. We can help you figure out the money part. Most important thing is first making sure you qualify and what’s gonna be the best solution for you.”
One more concept to etch into your brain:
The person asking the questions is the person in charge.
Think about the last cop show you watched (my wife digs NCIS). Officer has the suspect cuffed in the interrogation room, asking him questions. The officer is the one in charge.
We don’t want our engagements to feel like an interrogation, but the analogy is useful – the person asking the questions is the one in charge of the engagement.
Which means if our prospects are asking questions, and we’re answering them… then THEY are in charge.
And in case there’s any question: YOU need to be in charge of your patient engagements. NOT the patient.
Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? After all, we like to call our patients “guests.” We like to follow the Ritz-Carlton customer service model. Seems the patient should be leading this relationship, yeah?
But don’t forget a major part of Ritz-Carlton’s success is their ability to anticipate their guests’ needs. Yes, the experience is focused on their guest. But Ritz-Carlton leads the experience.
Do you want to call housekeeping for a towel change, or go downstairs and pick up your own room service order? No. You don’t want to tell them how to do their jobs, you just want the result – a great experience. It’s RC’s responsibility to lead the process make it happen.
Same goes in your practice. Your patients want you to lead them. They want the result, and they are trusting you to get them there.
You are in charge. Practically, this means after you address the concern they conveyed with their question, YOU ask a question of your own and continue moving them toward the consult. YOU take the leadership role.
Don’t just sit there, answering questions… waiting for the next one… until your prospect runs out of things to ask and decides to get off the phone.
We are the leaders of our patients. This is a hill I will die on.
We are not here to take orders. We are not here to answer questions. We are not here to wait until the patient says “Let’s go!” to get them moving on their transformational journey.
Every single lead that comes into your practice – every person you talk to – has in some way raised their hand and said, “I need help.”
And it’s our job to help them. Which means being the leaders, taking charge, and guiding them down the path of their patient journey.
You are not Alexa. But you are awesome when you step up and lead your patients. So do it, today and every day.
Make the shift from “Question Answerer” to “Leader” and watch how patients follow your lead.
Have an amazing day,
– Troy “Alexa-less” Cole
PS – This is such a powerful mindset shift when you apply it to your engagements with prospects and patients. Read it again, then forward it to your team.