Pre-Week 13: Building Idea Extraction skills in an every day phone call

During my focus on Idea Extraction in the security market, there are a lot of different skills I need to work on. Next to doing a lot of calls I’m trying to practise these skills as much as possible in every day situations.

This week I needed to contact my General Practitioner about an issue with my foot. Once again I found out how hard it is to reach him or his assistants. A good reason to do some inquiries about the way he is running his business.

These were my findings:

A permission problem
In the morning I called and got to speak the assistant. She told me I needed to repeat a recipe. But, to be able to do so I would have to call the GP during his phone consultation between 13:00 and 13:30 hrs. Yes, this was the only way because she wasn’t allowed to help me.

Wasting clients time
From 13:00 hrs I tried to call and for 10 minutes I kept being told it’s too busy by their automatic voicemail. Then, all of a sudden, I got a different message and got into a waiting line. Finally, after another 10 minutes, I got to speak to the GP, who needed less than 2 minutes to repeat my recipe. Great.

So I started asking some short questions about communication and contact with his clients. This is what I was told:

The underestimated business side of being a General Practitioner
“Yes, it takes quite some time to become a GP. After about 6 years you’re a doctor. And it takes another 3 (?) to become a GP. And then all of a sudden they tell you you’re an entrepreneur as well. But that’s not what they teach you at all.” (PAIN)

Objection for possible solutions
“Yes, we’re thinking about a call-me-back system instead of having a specific time for phone consultation. But…”

  • “My 2100 clients would have to get used to a new way of doing business, while they are used to working this way for 31 years.” (Is that you or your clients who need to adjust?)
  • “For a lot of clients we don’t have their phone number”
  • “A lot of clients change number”

What about emailing?
“Yes, that’s possible, but our system is not secure. We are working on it though”

Is your email address on your website?
“I’m not sure. I sometimes do get an email where I wonder how did they find my address?”

Doesn’t this way of handling phone calls cost you a lot of time?
“It sure does.”
And what about your assistants? Aren’t they working overtime as well?
“Yeah, one just burned out. And my other just came back.”
Must be expensive.

When I listen to you, and the way you talk, I always get the feeling you are someone who is thinking about innovating his business?
“Yeah that’s true. This problem has more attention now, we are working on it. But stuff like this takes time”.

Not too long ago I spoke to someone running a notification system for this particular kind of problems. So it’s nice to give him the lead. I tried to close:

I just spoke to someone who is running an easy call-me-back service. Would you appreciate it if I let him contact you?
“Sure, if he has a good solution”.

I felt it was a good practise of asking implication questions in an unexpected situation. And there was a closing exercise as well. Next time I should also focus more on quantifying the pain or costs in an amount of money.

Even though it was unrelated to my current market, I did enjoy the extra learnings.