On Friday morning I visited a 12-month old private dental and health clinic in the City of London.
Opened by a Spanish entrepreneur and innovating in the combined delivery of dentistry, facial aesthetics and other categories of healthcare.
The owner (who is not a dentist) is a notable networker – she has put herself about, visiting business breakfast and lunch groups, handing out her business card and working the room.
The practice has invested tens of thousands in external direct marketing, a web site, video and paid media campaign.
Patient numbers for year one are promising, given the competitive nature of the location.
All good so far.
The practice is based on the lower ground floor of a prestigious office block in the shadow of the Bank of England.
As with all such buildings, there is a doorman, employed by the landlord.
So, on arrival, he is my first impression.
I enter the building at 08:50 and notice that the doorman (a late-middle-aged chap in a suit) is on the telephone. He doesn’t acknowledge me.
I look at the signage and spot the dental practice on the “LGF”.
Entering the lift I press “LGF”.
The lift doors close and I remain motionless.
I open the lift door and walk back out into reception.
The doorman has finished his call and is staring out into the street opposite his desk.
I ask (very politely) “could you show me how to get the lift down to the lower ground floor please?”
He replies (without making eye contact) “to get to the ground floor you need to swipe the scanner in the lift”.
I ask (very politely) “and would it be possible to show me how to scan the lift please?”
He replies (still without making eye contact and in an indifferent tone) “I suppose you are going down to see XXX at the dental practice?”
They are the only tenants down there.
He continues “get in the lift and I will swipe you down there.”
Throughout, it is apparent that he is determined not to make eye contact and to treat my appearance in the usual denims, t-shirt and sweater as an intrusion into his palace of opulence.
I reply “thank you so much for your help” and enter the lift.
Fast forward to an hour later when I’m getting along fine with the owner and her practice manager.
“Do I have permission to give you some very direct feedback?”
“Of course, that’s what you are here for.”
“The guy on the door upstairs is a pxxxk and if I were considering becoming a patient at this practice, you would have had to recover from that first impression.”
“You are the third person to say that recently.”
There are Paulines everywhere. We have to be ready to deal with them – and brave enough to give the feedback to hard-working people who are investing to succeed.
A business prevention officer can lurk inside or close to your business and do incalculable damage, just because their own self-esteem is low.
That’s the problem with Paulines, they primarily hate themselves – then everyone else.