“Lemme know when my drugs get here,” I tell Susan.
Always around the last couple days of the month, which is when my subscription ships.
They aren’t really drugs. Far from it actually. The box is loaded with a can of protein, workout supplements and vitamins.
The shipment of not-drugs arrives from St. Louis, usually in 2-3 days, direct from 1st Phorm HQ. With the holidays + us traveling, I just opened this month’s delivery.
Yes, it contained my order. Plus one additional item they never fail to include…
International fitness supplement powerhouse 1st Phorm started like many companies do – single location, single product, slow and steady word-of-mouth growth.
Almost 20 years later, they’re worldwide. A 9-figure (10-figure?) company.
1st Phorm fills a LOT of orders. 1st Phorm has a lot going on. 1st Phorm knows I’m a repeat customer and probably not going anywhere.
All the said, 1st Phorm never fails to add that one additional item to my order…
A handwritten a note, right on my packing slip. More accurately, one of 1st Phorm’s team members never fails to write it. Unique to me and what I’m ordering. 👇
Let’s talk about efficiency. I’m a fan.
And I’m gonna guess that 1st Phorm – with the tens of thousands of orders a day they are filling – has highly efficient processes in place.
But there’s no way around it – writing a note on every daggum packing slip (which I assume they do because they’ve written one on every slip I’ve ever received, whether the order was big or small) is inefficient. Period.
And let’s say Mr. Hot Shot Efficiency Expert zips in for an audit. He pulls out his clipboard and says, “Ok, let’s look at everything you’re doing and how it relates to the bottom line.” It would be tough to make a case for keeping the handwritten notes.
Glowing, he reports: “Well, if we cut out these handwritten notes, it would save an average of 1.7 minutes per order. At 7,549 orders per day, which would allow us to fill 4,320 more orders daily.”
And just like that, you become more efficient. but at what cost? The cost of providing excellency customer service. The cost of being different from your competitors. The cost of reminding your team how amazing your mission is.
“Yeah, but we can make more money if we’re more efficient.” Can you? Maybe in the short-term.
But the long game – which you should be playing – gets ruined. You become like every other mediocre company. Trying to squeeze an extra buck out of every little activity, which results in falling short of customer expectations.
1st Phorm knows this. They practice exactly what we teach the teams we coach:
Efficiency is a balancing act.
If you are too efficient in your practice, in every single little thing you do, you lose your humanity. You lose your connection with your patients. Ultimately you lose your competitive advantage.
But if you throw efficiency out the window, and just say, “We just like to spend as much time with every patient as we can…” you unnecessarily limit the number of patients you can help.
Like most things in life, efficiency has a happy middle ground. Be efficient where you can, so when you do have to take extra time with a patient, you actually have the time to take.
When surgeons come to us to coach their phone teams to book more consults, this is one of the first things we tackle.
How to strike the Efficiency Balance – shortening marathon phone calls, reducing the time between follow-ups, how to batch followups, get prospects on the phone faster, get them in the door sooner. All activities that add efficiency, reduce wasted time and grow your surgery numbers.
At the same time, we coach on how to take the necessary steps to build rapport, build value and make the prospects comfortable to come in to the office. Inefficient activities on their face, but necessary to appropriately serve your patients and set you apart as the premium provider in your area.
So if you want your team to strike the Efficiency Balance – which ultimately maximizes your value to patients and your profits as a practice – then shoot me a message so I can show you how we do it.
Outdated Method – Efficiency at all costs.
New yet Still Broken – put efficiency on the back burner.
Growth Path – Strike the Efficiency Balance to provide the ideal patient experience. (This is the one you want).
Have an excellent week…
– T-fficient Troy
PS – I talked about efficiency of time in this email, but this also goes for other areas of your practice.
Efficiency in staffing for example. Be efficient in your hiring (don’t carry a bloated roster), but don’t be too efficient in your pay. Find good people, pay them more than anyone else does (inefficient on paper and in the short term), keep them forever (super efficient in the long term).