What’s the price of pain vs. the cost of cure?
The other night I bent over to change the cat litter and by back popped. Bad. Immediate excruciating pain. Barely crawled to bed. Since this was my first back experience, I asked Teresa about her chiropractor, she had his home number call him “But it’s Saturday ni…” “Please call him!” I exhorted. “Pain.” She calls, he had changed his home listing to unlisted. Rats.
When you have pain, pain is all you think about or act on until it’s gone.
It affects your attitude.
It blocks creative thinking.
It shortens temper and tries patience.
It makes you feel mortal.
It makes you change plans.
It makes you reassess importance of things (changes order of priorities)
And, it can flat piss you off.
Back to my back. I called a two friends to ask them if they know a chiropractor. “Dr. Eric Cerwin used to be a member of MBC” said Bob Salvin (MBC is the Metrolina Business Council, a group of about 100 Charlotte entrepreneurs whose objective is to meet, network, and do business with one another.)
Connie Kearney said, “Have you tried Eric Cerwin?” The gods are sending me a message to call Eric Cerwin. Phone book, call office, voice recording, office hours, and just when I was about to give up hope the last sentence was, “If this is an emergency, call Dr Cerwin’s pager 5551234.” Cool.
I call Cerwin’s beeper. Three minutes later on Saturday night at 9:20pm, the phone rings. “This is Dr. Cerwin, did someone page me?” YES! YES! “Dr. Cerwin, my name is Jeffrey Gitomer and I’m in big pain.” I told him the litter, back pop, crawling story. And I can’t move. He immediately prescribed ice every hour for twenty minutes and ibuproffin. He said, “Can you be in my office tomorrow after church say about 12:30?” “Heck yeah!” This guy who doesn’t know me from Adams house cat just made an appointment on Sunday at 12:30. Already I feel a bit better. I’m in pain, but I made an appointment with someone who could possibly take it away.
Teresa goes to Eckerd’s and buys me crutches so I can walk.
I hobble around the next morning still in big pain. Get to Dr. Cerwin’s office at 12:25. Cerwin gets there at 12:29. Cool.
He puts me on a table, feels around, tells me it’s a common injury and that all will be well, he will adjust me, he twists me into a pretzel, then he pushes and pulls me in a sudden motion and I hear a crack and like a miracle I am healed I can walk cool. I still have some pain but I can walk! Throw away those crutches, I’m healed!
He makes me several more appointments. Tells me to “be here first thing Monday morning. You can pay me then.”
Do I care what the fee (price/cost) was? Hell no I’m walkin’ baby. It still hurts, but I’m walkin’! Walking is something that has no price. Pain also blocks price. Making the pain go away has value and is worth it at (almost) any cost.
I gave him a copy of my customer loyalty book, and inscribed it with several thank you’s.
Dr Cerwin called me at home that night. “You been reading the book?” I asked. “No, not yet,” he said. “I just wanted to see how you were doing.” Cool. Way cool.
NOTE WELL: This is not just a great story of service, it’s a powerful lesson about the reality and opportunity of customer pain.
Your customers experience pain. Customer pain is the same as personal pain. Here are a few examples of customer pain:
Something is broke
Something is late
something is back ordered
something is wrong
something is missing
Add the word “still” after the word “is” and you have intense pain
PAIN: Customer has stopped production, customer has lost time, customer has lost money, customer has lost information, customer will be late for his customer, customer has financial constraints, customer is frustrated, customer is mistreated, customer’s boss is up his butt.
When your customer has pain in whatever form, it’s all they think about or talk about UNTIL IT’S GONE. The faster (and more memorable) you relieve it, the more positive will be spoken of you and viceversa.
And you are the doctor of your customer’s pain. You have the power to heal and the faster the better. And for those of you unsure about “how much it will cost to fix some customer’s pain, here’s the rule: It never costs as much to fix the pain as it does to let the pain, and the story attached to it, fester and grow.
Your customer may not always be as happy to talk to you as I was to talk to Dr. Cerwin, but you are always the doctor capable of making the pain go away. And as a customer service pain doctor, you may need special stuff to keep the pain level down or under control sometimes drastic measures like change resources, seek new answers, or get additional information. But don’t forget the objective it’s throbbing, fix it now!
And how fast you take away the pain dictates how much you get talked about good or bad.
And don’t underestimate the power or the value of pain relief. The person who takes the pain away is a (spoken about) hero. Dr. Eric Cerwin isn’t my chiropractor, he’s my hero. How many customers are you a hero to?
FREE GitBit … Want the surecure customer pain relief prescription? The 7.5 elements that when given to a customer in pain are certain to bring relief and create a memorable story. Just go to www.gitomer.com click FREE STUFF then GitBit register and enter the secret words, “PAIN RELIEF”.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlottebased Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/3331112 or email to email@example.com
1999 All rights reserved Don’t even think about reproducing this document or it’s contents without
the written approval of Jeffrey Gitomer or Buy Gitomer 704/3331112 firstname.lastname@example.org