Lip Service

What happened to customer service?

Everybody talks about providing great service. But nobody actually does. I find it interesting that there are so many books and seminars dedicated to the subject of customer service today. Is anyone reading them? Is anyone attending them?

Here’s an example: When I walk into my doctor’s office, no one looks me in the eye, smiles and says hello. Instead, I’m expected to sign a clipboard, take a seat and wait to be called to provide my insurance card and co-pay. It’s cold, impersonal and I don’t like how they waste my time. Then I’m taken to a patient room where I, once again, sit for quite awhile, waiting to be seen.

Through my marketing business, I had an opportunity to counsel one of my physician practices about their shoddy reception desk service. The doc’s all agreed that something needed to be done. They told their front desk staff to provide better customer service. But nothing changed.

I pondered this and came to the conclusion that customer service can’t be ‘caught’ – it must be ‘taught.’ A training program with a behavioral modeling component needs to be put into place. Will they ever do this? Probably not. It will require time, and maybe, money. But if they did, just think how their patients would feel – not just under their care but actually cared for.

I’m not picking on medical practices, it’s just one of many places I visit where the service is less than stellar. I can find the same shoddy treatment at any retail store, restaurant or auto repair shop in any neighborhood. The good news is, I’m resolved to avoid their mistakes when dealing with my own customers.