Going to the dentist is not something I look forward to, and I am sure many of you feel the same way.
It can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. I have been going to the same dentist for 10 years, and what makes my trip a little bit more bearable is the fact that when I arrive at his clinic the ambience is calming. It is always quiet, the air feels fresh and I always start my consultation on time. There are no screaming children running around and I do not have to look for a chair to sit down because of a crowd of patients in the waiting room, unlike many hospitals in Abu Dhabi.
A couple of weeks ago I had a check-up with my dentist. I asked him why he had not considered accepting health insurance cards yet – something many private clinics and hospitals do. In my opinion, they seem to be making good returns because of the overflow of patients seeking their services. He smiled and simply said: “I don’t want to jeopardise quality.”
I asked him to elaborate. He said that he only has two hands, that he is the only doctor running the place, and that he is doing just fine. He did not feel the need to introduce the insurance plans. He explained that while accepting health insurance cards would increase the number of patients he receives, the quality and attention provided to each patient would be compromised.
“I already have many patients to see every day and I’m making a good income,” he went on. “I don’t need to start accepting insurance just because everyone else does.”
He pointed out something that some entrepreneurs might overlook. Sure, it is nice to expand your customer base, but it is also important to maintain the quality and service provided. In my dentist's case, he is a one-man show and the only dentist in his clinic. If he started accepting health insurance cards, he would have more patients and his service and reputation for providing a great service might go down the drain.
A while ago I spoke to one of my editors about contributing more writing pieces on different topics. He gave me good advice, telling me to be careful about overstretching myself. While I am a good writer, he added, it is important to maintain the quality of the work I produce instead of trying to broaden the subjects I write about.
“People know you because you write about specific topics. Don’t overdo it,” he said.
With social media and the availability of many platforms to reach clients, entrepreneurs can be tempted to provide more and more, not realising how that could take a toll on their quality in the long run.
Here are a couple of tips that I have found very useful:
• Think long and hard about the kind of service you want to provide your clients and find out who your target audience is. Are they young and hip or older or retired? Having that in mind will assist how you deliver the right message and quality.
• Appreciate your strengths and what you can and cannot provide for your customer. Assess how many customers you and your team can cater to without compromising on the quality of what you offer. Are you able to handle 200 customers a day? 500? You should also develop a plan to see how you would be able to handle more customers if that happened.
• Learn when to say no. At some point you might have too much business to choose from. Although it might be tempting to accept it all, think long and hard about how that would serve your business and yourself. These opportunities take time, and often lots of dedication. Are you able to handle that?
Recently, my friends and colleagues were discussing a socialite who has been representing a number of brands. Just two weeks apart, she had advocated two competitive service providers on social media. She represented one at an event, then its competitor two weeks later. Comments on her page asked her to make up her mind.
As the business expands, so will the opportunities. While some will elevate your business, others could pull it down. Evaluate the opportunities and choose only those that work best for you and your enterprise.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer based in Abu Dhabi. Follow her on Twitter at @manar_alhinai.
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