A while back I wrote about an experience I had concerning a customer service issue. When I logged in today, I was reminded of it and the events that have taken place since then. I have had several more encounters with this business because the process requires multiple visits over time and once begun, I am locked into dealing with them at least to the conclusion of this procedure before I can look elsewhere for someone who more politely meets my needs. Sometimes, medical concerns reach way beyond the physical issues well into a person’s emotions and often times people are emotionally affected by their physical concerns. Because of that, everyone needs to be treated differently; some with "kid gloves", others with gentle reassurance and even some with a strong confidence that says you are the professional for the job and they need not worry as they have chosen well.
The place has rotating physicians and I was fortunate enough to have a physician the two times previous who handled me and my emotions perfectly. The appointments were quick and painless because I felt like he cared about me and not as much about shuffling me through as quickly as he could. However, my last visit was once again a customer service nightmare as the physician I saw was one I do not care for because he is arrogant and treats others as though he is the "expert" and they should simply agree with whatever his determination is, no questions asked and move along please.
The appointment ended when they called in the assistant they utilize specifically to get rid of the patient when their time has run over. She enters the cubical, assertively tells the associate that has been working with you that she is needed elsewhere and then gruffly asks if you have any other concerns. Any protests to her intervention or attempts to go back and give her a history of the appointment to catch her up to speed are met with resistance as she bluntly tells you that you need to sign the paperwork and see the receptionist. She is rude and obnoxious and when you see her, you know you have been labeled as a "difficult" patient who is wasting their time. Stick the proverbial fork in you because you're done.
What reminded me of my ongoing medical drama with more twists and turns than the Twilight Saga was a new community article written by Steve Strauss entitled Business Etiquette Today where he discusses appropriate manners businesses should utilize. From the receptionist that greeted him with, "What's up, Bro?" to the "multitaskers", Steve outlines what should be a rule and what's not cool with office, employee and business manners today. It's a good read. In fact, I think I might take a hard copy to my next appointment and casually leave it on the receptionist’s desk when she steps out.
In my last post about customer service I asked if we, as a society, have possibly brought this on ourselves and I would like to address that point again. Do you think that customers with poor manners constantly yelling, cursing and ranting about their discontent have resulted in businesses allowing their employees to "cop attitude" in order to "fight fire with fire"? Is it acceptable for a business to "give back what they get" from an angry or upset consumer and more so, should that bad vibe be allowed to carry over to customers who are being polite just because the employee has been put on the defensive?
When, if ever, is it okay for someone representing the business to utilize less than appropriate manners? Weigh in with your thoughts and comments! You know I always love a good discussion!
Cheers and Happy Holidays!