Are you seeking a competitive advantage in your market? Of course you are. Well, here's one that won't cost you any money, but it might help you earn
by Shelly Prial

Are you seeking a competitive advantage in your market? Of
course you are. Well, here's one that won't cost you any money, but
it might help you earn some!

Customer care. What is it?

Your most important asset is your customer. To keep that
positive benefit working for your HME company, you must involve
every member of your staff, because customer care means a great
deal more than just being polite. Customer care is when your
clients feel, when being serviced by a member of your team, that
they are the most important people in the world. Because that's
true, they are the most valuable participants during any

Customer care begins as a simple greeting when a shopper enters
your establishment. The opening salutation “May I help you,
please?” will often relax an anxious customer. Take the time
to train your staff in recognizing the important role they play
when interfacing with any patron, patient or caregiver.

I also suggest that when the sale is not a casual one, that a
brief thank-you note be sent after the transaction. Good customer
care will help you build the competitive advantage necessary today,
especially as many of the country's giant marketers make inroads
into our industry.


Most salespeople are very articulate. They love to hear
themselves extolling the virtues of whatever it is they are trying
to sell. In their zeal, however, they may often forget to listen to
their customer. Your shopper will tell you what they want, provide
all the details and other information that can help you close the
sale — when you listen.

There is a big difference when you pay attention to your
customer and hear them out. The difference is that in the
customer's mind, they bought whatever it is they needed. You may
provide them with exactly the same item, but when you lead the
transaction, then the customer may feel that you sold it to

Making a purchase is rewarding for the consumer, but being sold
something always leaves a little doubt in their mind.

Listen to your customers, and they will buy.

Facts or Figures?

According to what has been reported in one of the newspapers I
read, 195,000 deaths occur annually as a consequence of medical
errors. I find this figure to be very misleading, as it casts
aspersions on how physicians and hospitals care for their patients.
“Facts” of this nature give a very wrong impression to
the average person and, thus, create doubt and fears

The report indicated that 37 million patient records had been
examined to arrive at the number of 195,000 deaths. I wonder how
many people are killed just crossing a street? This is a very
confusing number when you realize that by using the same figures,
36,805,000 people were successfully treated. The cup is certainly
not half empty, is it?

Thanksgiving Day

Isn't it comforting to know that we live in the most civilized
country in the world? Each year our nation sets aside a day for
“feasting and giving thanks for divine goodness.” We
call it Thanksgiving Day.

This is when everyone should stop and take a few moments to
count their blessings. The October “Shelly Sez”
commented on “… one Nation, under God, indivisible
…” and to my pleasant surprise, I received many
comments and kudos for what I said.

We voted, as a nation, and chose a leader for the next four
years. It matters little which candidate you supported; what
matters is that you had the privilege to express your choice.
People cannot do that in many countries, but here, we can. Yes, we
have a great deal to be grateful for, and one holiday follows
another. Soon it will be time for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and
other joyful celebrations.

I am very proud to be a citizen in the United States of America
where we can all enjoy freedom, and I count that as a blessing.

Sheldon “Shelly” Prial is based in Melbourne, Fla.,
with Prial Consulting and also serves as the director of government
relations for Atlanta-based Graham-Field Health Products. In 1987,
he founded the Homecare Providers Co-Op, now part of The VGM Group.
He can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at