Monday, May 30, 2011

Tokio Marine, a Japanese insurance service, phoned about a patient at the Kyoto Grand. Insurance services make up a quarter of my business, and I love them. All serve foreign travelers who often speak no English and stay in distant locations, but they also stay in every local hotel including those of my competitors. I enjoy good relations with one competitor, so I wouldn’t step on his toes. Others regularly poach, and while I don’t visit their hotels to solicit, if I happen to be there on other business…

The Kyoto Grand is a large hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Insurers send me every few months, but the hotel never calls. I was pleased when the Tokio Marine dispatcher told me to stop at the front desk where an employee would accompany me to interpret. Of all foreign patients, Japanese have the largest percentage of zero-English speakers, and interpreting over the phone with the insurance company is tedious.

Leaving after caring for the patient, I told the employee of my services. She responded that the hotel had a doctor who practiced in nearby Little Tokyo, but she accepted my business card, promising to keep me in mind.

Minutes after returning home, my phone rang. It was the employee informing me that another guest needed my services. Naturally, I was delighted, and I drove back downtown to care for an Australian with an upset stomach.

You might think I am now the doctor for the Kyoto Grand, but this incident happened months ago, and no calls have arrived since. While the lady may have lost my card, it’s more likely she simply neglected to tell anyone else about me. A dozen Los Angeles hotels call rarely because only a single employee knows me. Now and then the news gets around, and the hotel becomes a regular, but I have never figured out how to persuade someone to pass the word.

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