Customer Service Is Dead. What Are You Going To Do About It?
I spend my days on the phone and in medical offices these days. I counted the other day and my daughter has 23 possible people or companies that I have to call for her. Each one has their own way of doing things. Some of them their own “portal” that I have to log into. They all call back at the end of the day, five minutes before closing time, from a blocked number, leaving a message with no information on it. They don’t call back if it is less than 5 days. You never get to speak to the same person twice. There are gate keepers and message takers for everything. Actual call I just had:
Yes, I need to speak to the Doctor and waiting for a appointment until September will not be ok. Who can I talk to that can help me with this? Mame, I have 8 callers waiting to be helped, I don’t have time to sit here and try to figure this out. (She actually said that)
Well give me someone who can.
Just hold music.
I guess I was transferred to someone who can help. But no, wait, I just got a voicemail. No idea who or why but I have no other choice. Oh boy… here we go.
Fast forward to when I am on the phone. UNKNOWN is calling. Before I had Olivia I just wouldn’t answer, now I do. Now I answer with such fury that I practically hang up on the person I am talking to and answer the phone with a pen in hand.
(I learned a long time ago to write down every single person’s name, the time, date, and what was discussed)
This lady listens to my song and dance and then says, “Ok well the Dr is on vacation from June 18th to the 30th so I don’t know if we can squeeze you in.”
*unleashing Mama Bear mode* because any other mode doesn’t seem to get my point across. I re explain to her what and why I need it. She says she will pass the message along to the doctor.
I can tell that she is just trying to get me off the phone and really doesn’t even care about me.
Sigh. Fine. I say, “Can you please tell me what message that you are giving the Dr?”
She says “That you want a earlier appointment”
I am so disappointed. I restate the reason WHY we need a different appointment. All the while feeling trapped. This ding dong is going to be appealing to the Dr for me to squeeze us in and she doesn’t even have the right message?
No joke. We go through this twice more until I talk slow, and she types the short, direct sentences I tell her to type in the message.
I’m so fed up, that I just sit here, eat this Cheesecake (seriously) and take my anger and create a blog out of it.
No One Cares Anymore!
I am serious. It is a day when pigs fly that we actually ever get anyone who is WANTING to help us. I have these conversations at least three times a week. It isn’t just the medical field. I have realized that so many people are working like their customer is an inconvience to their life.
When did “How can I help you?” go out the window and the birdy that says “How can I NOT help you?” fly in?
I keep telling my husband – If this was a business I would fire them. I would switch companies. But unfortunately it isn’t that easy. It is even more work switching companies and I have learned that it is all the same.
We had this one incident where our home warrantee sent out a plumber and they said they fixed it. They didn’t. It was still leaking. They refused to come back out. So we disputed the charge. I just don’t understand people these days.
Be Nice To Your Customers
Look, I get it. Things happen. You can’t always solve the problems. But you don’t have to pour salt on the wounds of your customer either. How can this apply to your business?
If you have to say no, show that you care by emphasizing with their feelings. I don’t mean re stating the problem like the TMoble representative does either. People can tell when you are being real or fake.
Give people options of what you CAN DO instead of telling them what you CAN’T do.
Come from a place of yes!
When people have a problem, for God’s sake, let them get it off their chest. If they don’t, they will find a place like a online review site to get it off their chest.
Listen to your customers. Care about them. Don’t avoid conflict. Learn how to go through it nicely.
Remember, you only have to be a little bit better than everyone else to knock someone’s socks off. Hopefully you are better than just a little bit. *wink*
I Will Pay More To Get Better Service
Do you hear what I am saying? I will pay for peace of mind. Do you know we had three therapist helping my daughter and none of them made the types of improvements that one did that we drove two hours to see? I will spend the time, energy, and money (entire day) driving two hours one way to see this specialist. I will pay out of pocket if I have to. She is a solution to my problem. She literally said to me, “here is the problem…. but don’t worry, we will find a solution!” And I believed her. Holy Heaven, I almost dropped to my knees and praised Jesus right in her office because someone was FINALLY there to HELP us… out of the 23 people on our “team.”
There are other people out there like me. Think of that client who was burned that time that she let her best friend’s daughter pet sit for her and she threw a party? Or that person who took their dog to the kennel and they got so sick they had to take them to the vet?
Be The Solution To The Problem. Not The Problem.
I know that we all have clients that drive us crazy. I am positive that I drive these medical people crazy. But I have to get to a level of crazy to get them to even call me back. Don’t make your clients crazy. Focus on what you can do. Come from a place of yes. Tell them you love and appreciate them. Thank them for allowing you to do your life’s dream of owning a business or working with pets. Celebrate their crucial role in your business and life.
How Does This Look?
I understand that you need XYZ and I totally get it! I would too. However, due to our policies I can’t exactly do that, but here is what I CAN do. Tell me which you would prefer:
Again, we want to do the best we can to help find solutions for all your pet care needs. I am interested in hearing your thoughts of these options and welcome your thoughts. If you think it is better, feel free to ring me at the office at: XXXXXXX I will be there during office hours between XXXXX
Sometimes it is as easy as just letting them know expectations BEFORE it happens. Perhaps your welcome email before the consultation happens?
|“Ok, so here is what you can expect during the consultation. We will XYZ.
When we are done, I will approve your appointment and send you a confirmation via email.
We do almost everything via email because we know that you are busy and we don’t want to be bothering you all the time with phone calls interrupting your day.
Our pawsome online scheduling system is there to help you as well, so after you book your airline ticket, you can bop on over to our website and book your pet sitting service as well…… etc etc etc.”
Talk with people. Not at people. Don’t be so focused on how we can’t help them, or what we can’t do. It is our job as business owners to educate them. Show them what we need them to do to have the best results together. We need to LISTEN and ACKNOWLEDGE. It’s pretty interesting how much one can accomplish by doing those two things.
I completely agree Belle – i know my dog issue is different from your child issue but your correct its not just the medical field (though it will not get better its getting worse thanks to insurance)
When my dog Petey was in his final year and suffered from a very bad heart he had 2 primary caregivers, a homeopathic and a cardiologist – i said time and time again you take insurance out of the question and the care was phenominal i said i would never get this type of care as a human being if i suffered the same condition – these doctors worked as a team with unbelievable caring, communication and genuine compassion for my dog and he was treated like a king at all times –
i find todays world frustrating with customer service and try to be nice and not loose it with these people but like you i will search out what i need and pay more for it if its that important to me – Great article
Customer DisService like this is one of the things that prompted me to start my company. I’ve had a variety of account management (high end customer service) positions most of my adult life, and what very few people ever understand is that EVERY job has elements of customer service. Even if you work in a closed office and look at spreadsheets all day, you have to at least minimally interact with coworkers. Guess what we call those? Internal customers!
Bella, I am so sorry that you are going through this, especially with something as non-negotiable as your daughter’s health. I hope that when you do (hopefully soon) see your doctor, you will let him know how disappointed you were in how his/her staff mishandled the situation.