Our “No Fault” Remake Policy

 

I have a standing policy of charging 50% for all remakes NO… MATTER…WHOSE… FAULT it is. Whether it is the doctor’s fault, the patient’s fault, the post office’s fault, my fault, or God’s fault I still charge it out at 50%. The purpose of this policy is to eliminate the ego bruising tug-of-war of who is to blame (i.e. pay) and focus attention on fixing the problem.

My remake policy applies to everyone. Most of my accounts have been happy with the policy over the long haul. I’ve had a few offer to pay full price for some remakes for various reasons. I have refused those offers. I have also lost a good paying account over a $63 remake charge. The policy is in place for a reason. And, stupid though it may be for me to risk losing an account over what is generally such a small amount, I do it because I care about the work. I care about the integrity of our relationship.

Be assured, this policy makes us a better lab. I hate remakes. I hate charging for remakes. But knowing how much our docs hate paying for remakes keeps us on our toes. Losing a few bucks isn’t very threatening, but, the reality that we can lose an account is what helps keep us vigilant. Staying vigilant is what helps us keep accounts. Patients do not judge us on our body of work. They judge by what’s in their mouth – not what’s in someone else’s mouth or in a brochure or on a web page. You lose a patient; you could lose an extended family of patients. You impress a patient; you could gain an extended family of patients. The stakes are high for every case. That is the message I try to convey to my employees and not that we can buy back our mistakes with free remakes. This policy helps us focus on our commitment to give every case our best.

The benefit of having such a policy is two-fold:

1) I am never mad at my accounts.

I cannot afford to be mad at them. It affects my work. On the other hand, if they are mad at me, I can still do good work. Because, no matter how mad they are, they have still chosen to PAY ME to do the best that I can do. I do not feel like I have to ‘make it up’ on the next case. Instead of feeling like a victim, I feel like I owe the doctor/patient my very best. And that is what they get it.

I simply tell my accounts that this is my policy. It keeps me, as a technician on an even keel with a positive attitude. And let’s face it, in our business; good work is a result of good attitude. I realize that this may not be a wise business decision because there are plenty of labs that offer either free remakes or haggle over them on a case by case basis. But this it is what I need to maintain a professional attitude and focus on the work and not on the $$. However, if this puts too much of the financial burden for failed cases on their shoulders, then I understand their need to find a different lab.

2) Those doctors who rarely have a remake are not subsidizing those who do. One year 3 of my 28 doctors accounted for 80% of the remakes…which was still less than 2.5%.

The policy is not always easy to enforce. I had one doc leave me after two years because his first remake was my fault.  He didn’t believe me when I admitted it was my fault. He thought  admitting it was my fault but charging him was my way of saying it was really his fault. No, it was my fault. I hated to see him go, but I prefer accounts who recognize that I’ll always try to deal with them openly and honestly.  It’s a shame, too, because when it is my fault it really does make me work all the harder to give every case my best.

This “NO…FAULT REMAKE POLICY” is also combined with my “NO HARD FEELINGS” policy, which states, “Your last remake is free.” This emphasizes my “It’s not about the money or the ego. It’s about the work.” attitude. I don’t argue or “go after” that last case. I just ‘let it go’.

 

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