I avoided getting a mammogram for years because I was afraid to get my breasts squished under two plates of glass. It sounded painful and needlessly tortuous as preventative care. On top of that, there was the whole facing breast cancer issue that comes with getting one of these tests done. No one wants to think about cancer happening to them, but the reality of taking a test opens the possibility of discovering that you have it.
My doctor finally called me out on my avoidance during my annual exam and strongly encouraged me to have one done. She told me about a newer procedure that wasn’t so scary, so I booked an appointment and went.
The experience far exceeded my expectations. Not because my expectations were lower than a basement floor, although that was a factor. It was because the provider communicated confidence through their well-planned, thought-through experience. This gave me confidence that they knew what they were doing.
What communicates confidence? Making an experience easy. You know what you need to do, the information you need from a customer, and what the customer needs to do. Why not provide your customer with all of the guidance they need to get things done right from the start? And this promotes trust. If you communicate to customers through your actions that you know what needs to happen and how the process should work, you are communicating directly that you are conscientious and you care about doing a good job for them. You are also indirectly communicating to them that you want to do a good job and care about the quality of your work, so there is no benefit for you to lie and cover-up an error. You want a great review and referrals and we all know that those are earned from a job well done.
Communicating confidence reduces your customer’s fear of the unkown. It’s fear that causes distrust and stress. The more you demonstrate that you are competent, your customer will feel like they made a great decision by choosing you, further reinforcing trust. Confidence can be contagious.
Confident people and organizations naturally give that to their customers through other signals, such putting encouraging signs on the wall like "Be Brave," or how they named their lockers or how they make everyone feel important.
How did Solis Mammogram (where I got the mammogram done) make the experience confident and easy?
- Convenient and free parking. They were located in a hospital with a huge parking garage with hundreds of parking spots. The parking was inexpensive to start, but they offered me a free parking validation voucher at my appointment. I didn't need to remember to get my original ticket validated. It was super easy!
- Easy to get to the building and find the office. Lots of signs and guidance to help me find where the exact location was.
- Not much paperwork. I had to sign 2 forms and enter information into a tablet. It took not even 3 minutes to complete. So easy, straightforward, and automated!
- They provided me with courage in case I felt scared and needed inspiration, especially in places where I would be waiting. Rather than having numbers on lockers, they named each one using the names of some of the most courageous women in history from Harriet Tubman to Audrey Hepburn to Eleanor Roosevelt to Amelia Earhart. Choosing a locker to put my belongings in reminded me of my own power - and not to be stressed. They also had words on the examination room walls like "Be brave," to remind all of us patients that in the end, we will be ok.
- The office felt like a home - inviting and soothing. The waiting room felt as much like a home that it could, complete with green plants, soft furniture, and soft violet and grey tones. There was no steel or glass around, which can always feel a little cold. It was decorated with a lot of wood and frosted glass. It was warm, friendly and welcoming.
- The technician told me what she was doing each step of the way. I had literally no surprises. The procedure took not even 10 minutes total and she told me everything she was going to do. There was no time to be stressed! She also warned me that first time mammogramers may be called back if the doctor finds an irregularity because there are no scans for a baseline analysis. They told me not to assume that I have cancer if I get a call. When I did get a call back to return, the woman was surprised that I wasn’t freaking out; I told her it was because I was prepared.
- Almost no wait time - for anything. I was left alone to wait a total of 5 minutes during the entire visit. Wait times contribute to fear because it allows time for a patient or customer to reflect on possibilities of what may happen during the visit. Often in a visit like a mammogram, people imagine what may go wrong more often than what will go right. If you remove the wait times, you will have patients and customers who don’t have time to wait or stew about problems. They will be more in the present moment, more positive, and in the end, easier to work with. It also communicates confidence that you have a handle on your schedule and how long it takes to work with each patient/customer.
The lesson I learned during my visits with them is how confidence is communicated through an experience with a doctor, technician, waiting room, or administrator. Confidence can turn-around a fearful situation to a pleasant experience that someone will want to have again. It changes everyone's attitude to create a better relationship with customers who will return in the future. This is especially true for a mammogram. Confidence brings trust and removes fear. Everyone will want to feel that again - even for a mammogram.