Today has been an exercise in patience. I know that I’ve said this hundreds of times, but it really is the little things that matter in customer service. Let me give you a few examples:
Today my scheduled was booked with back-to-back appointments leaving the remainder of the week reserved for cross country travel. Stuck in a snowstorm in bumper to bumper traffic was the first domino that fell for me today. That delay caused me to miss my 9:00 Doctors appointment which was 30 miles from my office. Rescheduling was not an option or it would cause me to have to cancel surgery for next week which had required that I eliminate travel completely for the following 3 weeks. So you can see how it goes.
1. I called the doctors office from the snowy highway. (Fear not, the traffic was moving at 2-5 mph and I have hands-free calling) I told the scheduler about my dilemma and explained that I could not reschedule to another day or it would mean cancelling surgery. I’ll admit that I was a bit amped up and expecting a roadblock. Instead, I got a sweet, empathetic response telling me that she would do whatever she could to help me get in today and that I should still proceed to the clinic. +
2. Within 5 minutes the nurse practitioner (Jane) with whom I was scheduled, called my cell phone to discuss scheduling options with the worst case scenario being a 3 hour wait. Not ideal, but I could live with it. (Have computer – will travel.) +
3. Arrived at the office building to find no parking available. Circled 3 times and went to a neighboring lot with no better results. Returned to the office building and “stalked” patients leaving the building to nab their parking spot. –
4. I had gotten specific check in instructions by both phone and mail so I knew exactly where to go when I arrived inside the building +
5. The registration attendant was immediately available, smiling and efficient. I was grumpy, but he was calm and professional. I told him that there is no parking. He thanked me and said he would make note of it and thanked me a second time for letting him know. +
6. Within 2 minutes of my arrival, Jane came out to greet me and updated me on an alternative plan that involved seeing a different provider but would cut my wait from 3 hours to 1. I could live with that. It made me feel like they really cared about my wait time even though it wasn’t their fault. +
7. Jane returned 5 minutes later and said she could further expedite my visit by at least completing my vital signs while she had a few free minutes. She completed these steps and I returned to the waiting area where I could have a cup of coffee or cappuccino in my favorite flavor. +
8. While I waited I watched how the staff handled other flustered patients. One registration agent came out to the line from another area and guided a waiting patient to another area where he could be served more promptly. +
My take on all of this is that I consistently observed frazzled patient being handled by calm, caring individuals who went above and beyond to keep things moving. Any one of these encounters, when viewed in isolation, may not seem to be a big deal. But when you put them all together, you have a positive experience.