IN MY REARVIEW MIRROR: LEXUS, the DMV and ENT

January 3, 2023
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We own one car (2018 Audi A5) and lease another (Lexus NX).  Since we’re not getting out as much these days, and I no longer commute into Manhattan, we rarely use the second car.

The lease on the car we drive every day, the Lexus SUV, was coming due in December.  We contemplated our options.

Give it in and be a one-car family again?
Buy a new one at sticker or above prices?
Or lease another at double what we’re currently paying per month?

 

We looked at the book value of the car we currently lease and decided that it was a good investment to buy it off lease, as used car prices are through the roof.  Besides, our eldest grandchild will start driving next fall.   And so, for the first time, we bought a car off lease.

It was an unfamiliar, convoluted process.

First, the dealership aggressively tried to get us to return the car and buy or lease a new one.  Understandable given the current circumstances from their perspective.

Since the lease was held by Lexus’ parent company’s, financial arm, Toyota Finance, they too insisted that we had to start the buying-out process by going to the dealership.  They gave several cockamamie reasons, which boiled down to having us see several people who tried to get us to turn in the car and buy a new one.  It was an interesting sales tactic to watch, if not a frustrating one to be a part of.

Their sales efforts failed. And though they offered to help us with the process from the DMV, we thought the $1,400 fee for doing so was a bit excessive.  We declined their final upsell andopted to do it ourselves.

Lexus and Toyota didn’t make it easy.  It took several calls to finally receive the title, even after they cashed the check.

Finally, we had everything we needed for the NJ DMV to transfer title and get a new registration.

We heard that there were private expediters.  We contacted one and though the cost was nominal compared to the $1,400 Lexus wanted, they also wanted a power of attorney and other personal information we were uncomfortable handing over to a complete stranger.

We decided we would go to the DMV and do it ourselves.

We rued the process.  The last time we went to the DMV, the experience was worse than having a colonoscopy without sedation (long story for another time).

I went online, researched the process so we could have everything we needed for the visit.  I’s dotted and T’s crossed.

We were happy to see, that for this process, you had to make an appointment online.  Still, we anticipated that an 8:45 appointment would take us the entire morning.

On Wednesday, December 28th at 8 AM our adventure began, as we left home for a 22-minute drive.

We got to the DMV, 20 minutes early, as directed, and met state employees with smiles on their faces.  Was this the right place?  Everything was orderly.  People were nice.  Some even spoke to us.

We were back home at 9:20. Not PM as anticipated but 9:20 AM.  OMG, was this a dream?

Being me, I had closely watched the process so I could point out all the customer service mistakes that I anticipated were to be made, so I could share them with my clients.

There were NONE!

What I witnessed was a multistep process (system) that ensured that no one proceeded to the next step unless everything necessary for the next step was in order.

 

Security Guard:  Do you have an appointment?  What time?
Check-in:  What are you here for?  Do you have your forms?
Admin:  Verify identity and completion of forms.  Ticket number given.  Asked to sit in reception area and wait until the number was called.
Processing:  Went up to window, presented the paperwork, made some small talk, left with new license plates and title.

Less than 30 minutes, start to finish.

We expected mayhem and frustration and what we got was order, organized service, and rapid results.  Plus, I saved $1,400!

Contrast that experience to one I’ve been recently having in the healthcare system.

After speaking at SSC Live in Newport Beach, at Glidewell headquarters in November, Laurie and I took a well-earned trip to Hawaii.  3 days after arriving in Maui, my right ear clogged up.  It felt as if I was on the plane and my ear never popped.  But it had, and then reverted.

I went to an Urgicare 2 days later and received some medication.  It didn’t work.  While not painful, it was uncomfortable and affected my hearing.  I had no problem on the flights from Maui to Kauai to Honolulu and back to Newark.

Upon getting home, I made an appointment with the ENT office I’ve gone to in the past.  I couldn’t get an appointment with the doctor I usually see, so I saw whoever was available quickest.

Fast forward.

I’ve seen one ENT doctor 3 times, audiologist twice.  I’ve spoken to 2 other doctors from that office (including our kids’ friend 3 times), all after hours (after my ear began to leak).

My ear has stopped leaking, it’s still stuffed, and I can’t hear squat.  I’m awaiting a CT scan and then an appointment with a “specialist” next Friday.

It’s now 2-months with no resolution and a decent amount of administrative frustration along the way.  Think I’m happy?

Who would have thought that the DMV would provide better service and better results than Lexus or our healthcare system?

I take some solace in the knowing that my exorbitant tax dollars are going towards improving some of the State services I require.

I bemoan the deterioration of other service-oriented businesses.

And that’s GREAT NEWS for you as a service provider.  The service bar, for the most part, has been lowered to the point where if it were a game of limbo, you’d have to dig a hole to get under it.

Expectations have been lowered too.  Everyone knows the excuses; supply chain, inflation, the great resignation, hiring issues and covid still wreaking havoc.

So, when the DMV over-performs, my reaction was that of AMAZEMENT.  I thanked the people there and if I could, I would have thanked the Governor.  I was apoplectic with gratitude.

Can YOU and your TEAM promote a similar response in your patients?

And if you can, do you give them a vehicle by which they can brag on you and tell others?

Dentistry is not a product.  It’s a service.  Can yours be due for a tune up?

And for those of who receive referrals from sources such as physicians, you are providing services to both patient and referrer.  Please pay attention to both.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year,

Michael

P.S. Now, if they would only fix the potholes in front of my house!

P.P.S.  Resolved to give better service?  Start the New Year off by subscribing to the Coffee With The Coach program, where along with other valuable resources, you’ll get the Exceptional Patient Experiences weekly newsletter.

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Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

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