Maybe I’m “old school”, but I hate bad customer service. Whether it’s trying to get a live person on the phone, trying to find out information about a bill, returning a product that didn’t work, or scheduling a repair, it just seems to be such a challenge. I find it to be a problem both personally and professionally. The time spent on hold alone is ridiculous. Lately, either I am growing more intolerant or the problem is growing, which caused me to step back and find some solutions I thought I would share.
On the service receiver side: A center was struggling to get medical clearances from a specialist consistently. I was having to step in to make calls routinely to request clearances at the eleventh hour so surgery wouldn’t have to be cancelled. It became a routine conversation in the facility..accompanied with rolling eyes and sighs (on my part as well!). I’m sure you know the drill…patient needs clearance…requested it a week ago, left two voice mails, surgery tomorrow. After multiple calls on multiple patients, I decided to approach it differently. I called the facility leader and made it our problem. Yup! I basically stated that I realized that our facility staff MUST be impacting their practice with all our calls and faxes, and that we clearly must not understand their process, and would they be so kind as to help us understand what we were doing wrong? Of course I added an apology for all the time our requests must be adding to their already busy day. We got the clearance within the hour! What I learned? Complaints often get a deaf ear, but making the problem about process may get the attention it needs.
On the service provider side: I had a situation recently where a physician was complaining about something to me that was, in all honesty, a bit nit picky. It was, in my brain, something he should have resolved on his own, and definitely would not be on my priority list. It became clear, however, that it was important to him. I could have dealt with the issue in several ways…procrastination, delegation, refusal and referral all came to mind, but after I let go of my perception of the complaint, I realized that, despite my “rating” of his concern on my task list, it was important to him. I stopped what I was doing, made it my priority, carved out a little time, and got the issue fixed. The result? You would have thought I solved a world problem. I even got feedback from others as to his perception of me getting things done efficiently. What l learned? If it is a priority to my customer (within reason, of course), making it my priority will reflect positively on my relationship, so carve out the time to problem solve.
So, if you are like me and feel frustrated with customer service woes as well, especially if it causes eye rolling and sighing, take a step back and look at it differently. Put yourself in the other person’s role. If you are the customer, how can you voice your concerns in a way that the service provider will respond? If you are the service provider, if the problem is important to your customer, it is important. In either case, a little perspective review, and your customer service problems may get just a bit better.
As always, thanks for reading my posts! I consider my readers my customers, and I’m hopeful that I add a little support and insight in what you do.