Friday was supposed to be a good day, one that I had been looking forward to for weeks. It was finally time for my doctor’s appointment. Long story short, on June 24th I tried to walk on my foot which was completely asleep. I went down like a sack of potatoes and twisted my ankle so bad that I ended up in the emergency room. I was certain I had fractured something, but thank goodness the x-rays showed nothing. Although, I’ve been told that it probably would have been better if I had broken it. I didn’t understand that statement then, but I certainly do now.
Two weeks later, the nurse from the emergency room called to check on me. Her timing was good considering my foot and ankle were getting better but then suddenly turned into one big bruise and swelled up again. She referred me to an orthopedic doctor to schedule a follow-up to be on the safe side. And now, the saga begins.
When I called to make an appointment, I got voice mail. I left a message with my home and cell phone number and then waited. Two days passed before anyone returned my call and, of course I was not home when they called, so they left a voicemail. The next day I called again and, you guessed it, got the same voicemail. I left a message, but this time with my cell phone only. This went on every single day for a week. Why, because the person could not follow a simple message and call my cell phone. Every time she called I was out running an errand, picking up my daughter or house hunting with my real estate agent. I finally did reach her and learned the earliest appointment she could schedule was August 4th. I scheduled the appointment despite being annoyed that I had to wait 3 weeks to have my injury examined. Keep in mind, I can hardly walk and I have a 15-month old who would give Speedy Gonzales a run for his money!
As the days and weeks pass, I patiently await my appointment telling myself that my ankle will probably heal before then and I won’t need to go anyway. But, it doesn’t so when the day of my appointment arrives I am actually excited to go to the doctor! My appointment is first thing in the morning, so I alter my entire household’s routine to be there on time. I wake my daughter up an hour and a half before usual, schedule the sitter earlier than usual and leave my business unattended during a normally busy time of the day. Every minute I am away from my business is non-billable time. But it is worth it to me, because I am finally going to see what is going on with my ankle.
I drove downtown to the clinic, entered the registration area and was greeted by at least ten registration desks each one with a different plaque identifying a doctor. I saw mine. We’ll call her Dr. Davis. When I walked over to the desk, no one was there. I waited for a minute and still no one came so I asked the girl at the next desk if anyone was checking in patients for Dr. Davis. She asked my birth date, my name and a few other things and typed them into the system. She said she wasn’t finding me and then called for the girl who was supposed to be manning Dr. Davis’ desk. She came out looking perplexed and I knew immediately there was a problem and that I was not going to like the outcome. I remained calm and thought, maybe the other girl was new; maybe she didn’t look up the right information. Then, much to my surprise, Dr. Davis’ receptionist tells me that Dr. Davis is on vacation. “Vacation!” I said. “Yes,” she said as she began to type and ask me the same questions the other girl asked.
Before she actually tells me anything her telephone rang and she picked it up immediately. I could tell by her side of the conversation that it was a personal call. Did she tell the person that she would call them back because she was with a customer? Did she put them on hold momentarily until she was finished with me? No, she didn’t do any of these things. In fact, she talked to this person for at least 2 minutes while I stood there. And did I mention that at the same time her cell phone, which was sitting on the desk, rang? She finally completed her personal phone call and then told me that I was not in the system for any appointments from now to eternity. Then she implied that maybe I had my dates mixed up. Pardon me? How could I have my dates mixed up if I wasn’t even in the system?
I told her that I took time off work and hired a sitter for my daughter, On top of that, my injury occurred 6 weeks prior and it needed to be examined. I had all ready waited 4 weeks for the appointment. She said there was nothing she could do except reschedule my appointment. I asked if another doctor could see me and was told that Dr. Davis was the only foot specialist on staff. She repeated she could reschedule me…for August 18th. I told her to forget it and walked out.
You’re probably thinking this story is made up, but it is 100% true. I cannot express how upset I was. Not only was my injury ignored, but the rude and unsympathetic employees were unbelievable. Seriously, this was their mistake. Did they offer to get me in Monday when the doctor returned? Did they offer an apology for the mistake? NO! That is totally deplorable customer service.
So what kind of customer service do you provide in your business? Do you go above and beyond to make sure your customers are happy and satisfied? Do you apologize for mistakes you have made and make up for them in the process? If you don’t, I assure you, you will not have loyal repeat customers and more than likely, you won’t be getting new ones from referrals either.
I will never return to that medical facility and certainly won’t refer anyone. This is how I choose who I do business with, whether personal or professional. If I receive terrible customer service, I don’t be back and neither do any of my friends, family, neighbors or business associates.
And by the way, this isn’t the whole story. The saga continues next week in Part 2: Customer Service Gone Good.