The Inconvenient Truth

To keep things rolling along I make the rounds of all of my doctors  a couple of times a year, and I am always thrilled to do so. Their offices are very comfortable, their staff is friendly and happy, they run on time, and my doctors and nurses are present when we are together (I’m talking about large clinics here, not small offices).  They also follow up with a survey to see how my experience was and if any improvement is needed. Big love.

Cattle-herdImagine my shock when I accompanied my darling to an eye surgery appointment and watched the staff greet clients by taking their paperwork and telling them simply, “Thanks. Sit down, we’ll call you.” There were too many people, barely enough skinny chairs, and only a few old magazines. We had been told to arrive by 7:45 am. At 8:45, when we asked how much longer we had to wait, we were told not much longer. What’s the point of appointments? The whole time I had images of cattle crammed into metal cars. I didn’t like feeling this way.

At our follow-up the next day in the office next door, it was the same poor service, same skinny chairs (just fewer of them) and too many people again. The staff treated their patients as if they were a total inconvenience. When I asked the receptionist if they had Wi-Fi she sneered at me, “No. We don’t.”  I saw no point in asking why. Again we waited 45 minutes past our “appointment time.” Nobody ever apologized for inconveniencing us…

My point? During our recent move we have run into so much poor customer service – wait, make that abysmal customer service – that it’s mind-boggling. The eye surgery center was just the icing on the cake!

It seems that providers think they are doing us a favor. We reached agreements only to have them not honored, broken entirely, or billed wrong, necessitating hours on the phone to get things straight. I’ve noticed that in all of the encounters where the service was wretched, none of them ever did a follow-up survey.

Blue RibbonSo, for the sake of everything that’s decent in society – if you run a service-oriented business, set yourself apart.

  • Make sure your receptionists are well-trained (and well-paid) so your clients will always feel like valued guests.
  • Run on time. Be honest about your schedule and how long things take.
  • Give a damn about your clients. Respect the fact that they chose to come to you, then earn their respect.
  • Create a comfortable environment for your guests. Yes, they are guests.
  • Strive to be part of the solution…because if you aren’t, then you are part of the problem.


Are you feeling the same way? Do you know about “Yelp!”?
XO Donna

4 thoughts on “The Inconvenient Truth

  1. Deanna Russ

    Another thing that would be good to do, is to let the Dr know about the wait time and service (or lack thereof). Most times they are completely ignorant about what goes on in the front area of the offices, they never go out there. If the office is independently owned, he/she is likely to try and work on the problems, and not lose patients.

    • Thanks, Deanna. I think a letter will be written directly to the doctor. You’re right, he may honestly not know what an unpleasant customer experience is happening out front. We will give him the benefit of the doubt. XO

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