Business System Communication Gone Wrong

About a year ago, I experienced a business system that failed horribly.  It wasn’t the fault of the system, but the problem was the result of the system owner.

The System First Impression

Last fall, I decided to visit a new Doctor.  I was excited to visit this Doctor because he was a “metabolic” doctor which meant that he preferred to treat patients with health and nutrition rather than starting with a prescription. 

As my home town of Fort Wayne is only recently starting to see these “alternative” approaches to medicine, I had discovered this Doctor online and really liked what I saw.  I wanted to focus on some preventative care and nutrution (as I had been a vegetarian for over three years). 

So I called the number on the website, and to my surprise, the Doctor answered.  He had his calls forwarded to his cell phone and spent over twenty minutes discussing things with me and answering my questions.

I was completely sold.

Getting Further Into the System

As the Doctor's treatment methods are non-traditional, I had to pay for my “consultation” out of pocket and I will say it wasn’t cheap.  The initial consultation went well, and my next step was to have a number of tests done to determine what course of action to take.  

Once the tests came back, I had to have another consultation to discuss the results where I was told to start taking supplements.  This was great.  At the time, I had been a vegetarian for over three years and really wanted to start ensuring my body was getting everything it needed. 

But there was a twist I didn’t really like.  The Doctor wanted me to order my supplements through a company he partnered with.  He claimed that he had personally inspected the quality of these supplements and gave me an order form. 

The problem was that these supplements were expensive.  Very expensive.  In fact, I could get most of the supplements at a fraction of the cost at an online company I had used in the past.  So I decided to order them through the cheaper company I was familiar with.

But I had a question on one of the supplements I was to order.  So I called the Doctor’s office expecting to get his assistant.  This was the same Doctor I had talked to before my first visit who talked to me for nearly half an hour before I was even a paying client.

This time, however, he was upset with me for taking his time.  In fact, he threatened to bill me for the call.  All because I had mentioned that I wasn’t ordering supplements through the company he recommended - which I am sure he gets paid a commission.

He said that he had a “system” that works for all of his other clients and he couldn’t understand why I just could follow his proven system.

The problem was that he had broken his system. 

His lack of communication had broken the system.

I was looking for someone to continue to coach me on the supplements I was taking, but at that moment, I lost all trust in the Doctor.

Evaluating The System

In contemplating the Doctor’s system, I don’t have any issues with it.  I understand that he doesn’t get paid through insurance and wants to spend as much time with a patient as he needs to.  This means he needs to charge more.  

Fine. 

The problem is that he had assumed that his patients wanted to be blindly shephered through his system.  Of course I didn’t want that.  The content on his website, coupled with the questions I asked before we met the first time were clear indicators of what I wanted.

What Should Have Happened

The bottom line for me what the the Doctor failed to communicate the system to me. I had no idea that he was going to want quarterly consultations and additional annual tests. Furthermore, I was happy with the supplement supplier I was already using and didn’t realize that this was going to be a problem.

For me, I was happy with the service.  I just needed better communication to understand what where the system was taking me.

A Question for You

What systems have you experienced that should have been refined?