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No Bait and Switch Here
Usually, as I prepare for video and blog segments, I will plan and research the topic, gather some case studies to share… I design an abbreviated format so as to record by video and capture the audio in that way, then I publish a full blog for you on my website and other social media platforms. That process is indeed a process. Sometimes it takes time: to decide what to cover, to write, to sleep on it, and add edits. Not today.
Not today. Because I am mad.
Today I had something happen to me that was not right or just. It was a waste of my time. It was deceitful and deliberately misleading. After it happened, I knew it was something I would never do to you.
It all began with my dishwasher. (Read on, please). There is an option on the control panel that allows one to set the wash cycle to begin at a later time. I wanted the cycle to start right away, no delay. I pressed the selection again so as to toggle off the delay but to no avail. Soon I was pressing and holding and trying combinations of press-and-holds as I accessed the internet for DIY remedies.
I saw lots of mentions of the brand, some FAQs – things I’d tried. Then I landed on a website that featured lots of answers, and one or two seemed to match mine. There was a persistent chat popping up, and I kept clicking to close it. I wanted to review the articles. Finally, and with irritation, I opted for the chat. It told me there were three technicians online, and the tech’s opening question as the chat began was,” What’s going on with your dishwasher?”. Harmless enough, I thought, and as exasperated as I was, I typed in my dilemma. The chat engaged me, even asking if there was anything else I’d like to add before she (the assistant) connected me with the technician.
I pressed the button to proceed, and Boom! There I was on this alleged Site o’ Remedy, but first, I had to sign up, join, pay a fee and they’d surely be able to answer my inquiry. Not to worry, I could, of course, cancel at any time, etc.
I got mad. And I left that site.
I’d been had. I’d followed the bait. Was led down the garden path. Played. Ployed! And now I was angry.
As a business owner, and one who also provides services, I thought about the similarity of our needs to attract clientele, our “customer engagement” needs. Method, now that is ‘way different, and I am glad! My way may not look as slick, and I have no corporate money to build out engagement with chats (and bots), but I can tell the truth. That’s all it takes, y’all: truth, with integrity.
I sorely doubted theirs.
Business owners with service businesses, small or corporate, should give some thought about how they want to attract and engage new customers. From the little guy to the conglomerates, all would do well to first consider, to better-consider the customer. They could focus on the need, the state of being folks are in when searching for remedy, and then alleviate or fix their need. Business owners have choices as to how services are offered; how about with compassion and dignity for the end user or simply offering smart remedy? Have some ethics!
Bait and Switch: Patient Advocates can’t do that.
Patient Advocates don’t do that. In fact, I dare say we would even know how to think that way. When you encounter my website and the sites of other advocates, we are explaining our services and how to engage us. Some will post pricing on their website, and some do not. Let me say more about that.
Ours is a custom service, designed to be so because every patient and set of circumstances, and loved ones, or locations are different. We can learn more about your situation, assess, and then determine a best course of action for you. Why would you believe that? Because we’re not in a perpetual sales mode. We are in helping-and-solutions mode.
I will share with you that in my experience as a coach for advocates who are new or young in their business start-up, many struggle with sales and are at the beginning uncomfortable with pricing, truth be told. We want to make sure our pricing is right, just, and fair to all concerned. Dialogue along the lines of pricing can be uncomfortable for us in that most Patient Advocates have had little or no exposure to the business or sales world.
Then there are many Patient Advocates whose challenge is to charge what they are worth! Thus, they underprice the tremendous value, the absolute and positive impact they can have on a patient’s situation, along with benefits to their loved ones. In our innocent quest to help we often admit to doing more off the clock than we should. It’s a common problem, and I know this because I coach and guide folks as they learn to become business persons, all the while working at the top of their license, which is patient advocacy in its truest and most impact -full form.
What might seem like a Bait and Switch?
The other thing you may see from Patient Advocates, which could be misconstrued as having Bait and Switch potential is the offering of a complimentary consultation, a discovery call of some sort. It is most often at no cost and no obligation. That offer should never be misinterpreted as a “Come-On,” a carrot dangling, or an effort to get you on the phone and then somehow flip you into exorbitant packages. Our M.O. is not to prey on pain. It is to genuinely see how we might assist.
We offer a complimentary consultation to ensure you are finding the right fit. Then we have an obligation to get you where you need to be, even if it is not us! That fit is everything, for you AND for us. If there is any rush at all, it is because we regard inquiries as “there’s not a minute to waste,” knowing your situation is likely in motion or you wouldn’t be contacting us. Our responses can be immediate. We are real, we are there, right there with you, and willing to come alongside you in your journey.
A bit more about my Complimentary Consultations: I want to build safety and security for you in my Complimentary Consultations. You will hear me as we converse, and you will know that I am hearing you. As we talk, you can gain a sense of my style. You receive respect, and you can ask about my experience. I expect you to gauge my integrity. I am aware that all this is going on during our first call. In fact, I want it to.
It may be overkill, but did you know I even made a video entitled “What Is Complimentary Consultation?”. I am striving to build safety with no surprises. I want you to know what it will be like, what I am like, and you will hear me proclaim on camera and to you that I will NOT SELL YOU. I mean that.
No Bait, No Switch. Just Honesty.
We Patient Advocates are frequently asked to quote “how long it will take to do this or that” to effect change or find specific resources, to produce or enable the outcomes (EX: find housing for Mama). I have to prepare you that you may be able to gain a loose guesstimate, and from me you, the answer you may receive is that I cannot tell you. That is not me or anyone else backpedaling or being evasive; that reply much more likely means it can be impossible to predict. Here’s why.
It is much more likely we are hearing a scenario for the first time, and often from a third party, I might add, and let’s just say that the ball is often in motion. There are moving parts. We’re dealing with humans (we are a wily bunch) or, many times, the loved ones around them, which contributes to or results in interesting and complex “family dynamics,” shall we say. There are factors beyond our control, like how darned long it takes to get an appointment with a neurologist or what the availability or even the waitlist may be for the housing you need, even if rehab.
We are not engaging you so as to Bait and Switch. Most of us don’t even know what that is. If we do, it’s because it has happened to us but never BY us.
High-pressure sales? Fugetaboutit.
High-pressure sales? Fugetaboutit. We are off to the real deal solution. Intervention. Mitigation. Remedy. We don’t care about a sale or commission. Our wins are when we help you win.
My ‘mad’ is about something that happened to me and something I vow never to do to you. I, we (I say ‘we’ because every patient advocate I know or have ever met), will not use this tactic to dangle or to withhold a solution or make you jump through hoops to even find out about it. Nope, we’ll talk with you.
I’m gonna talk with you frankly. I will to the best of my transparent and honest, and ethical ability, tell you what it may take to get the outcome you are after. I will use my experience to describe to you the possibility, factors, challenges, speed bumps, and the things we can control and cannot control. You make the all-important, informed decisions.
No bait and switch here. Not me. Not today. I’m mad. If any of you want to get mad with me I am posting a transcript of the chat below this article. Curious?
So yes, you may now expect to read my Call To Action, my invitation to you:
Nancy Ruffner is a consulting Patient Advocate and speaker who helps patients and their loved ones navigate a complex healthcare system and the challenges that come with aging. She is all about options and solution and invites you to schedule a Complimentary Consultation toward engagement. Visit nancyruffner.com, Facebook or LinkedIn to learn more.
Yours In Truth,