A friend of mine has been battling an illness and as such has had to make several trips to the doctor. When she first went ill, she had her husband take her to a walk-in clinic because she didn’t want to wait to make an appointment. Immediately she noticed that the doctor’s manner was very brusque. Because my friend was feeling out of sorts, her husband tried to help answer some of the doctor’s questions. The doctor turned to him and coldly said, “Who are you? Why don’t you let her answer the questions?” It got worse from there, with the doctor shrugging off every symptom and offering no real treatment option. When my friend asked how long it would take for her to recover, he shrugged and said she would just have to wait and see. At this point my friend got upset and started to tear up. She said the doctor just looked her up and down and said, “Why are you crying?”
Luckily she was finally able to get an appointment somewhere else, though she didn’t know what to expect as it was her first time visiting this particular doctor. The new doctor couldn’t have been more different. She was warm, asked thoughtful questions, and recognized that my friend was really in dire straits. She also ordered a rush prescription and created a treatment plan that made my friend finally feel like she was being heard.
At the end of the day, we’re oftentimes willing to put up with a lot of attitude if it means finding a cure or feeling better (anyone seen “House”?). Still, my friend’s experience shows how a good bedside manner and pleasant customer service can make the ordeal of an illness much less upsetting. She was in a vulnerable state and felt that the doctor who was rude and unwilling to offer any sort of diagnosis gave her anxiety and a sense of hopelessness. With the second doctor, she felt that she was being listened to and that she would ultimately feel better.
Do you make your customers feel like they are important? Do your customer service skills feel supportive, or that this person is just a nuisance? What can you do better?