Hey, who’s the customer here?

customerservice-webToday’s blog is about a topic that seems to be increasingly rare in the business world — and that is customer service — with the actual CUSTOMER as the focal point.  It’s just the approach of making yourself easy to do business with and being a good client- facing company.

Recently, my daughter needed to have a letter sent from her dentist to her orthodontist. My wife called the orthodontist’s office to make an appointment and the orthodontist’s office said they had not yet received the referral letter, which is not surprising — sometimes that happens. But then we got to experience their “standard” of customer service at which point the person in the orthodontist’s office said, “Call me back when the letter arrives.” My wife was perplexed. Her thoughts: First of all – Huh?  How am I supposed to know when the letter arrives? And second of all — really? I’m the client here. I’m a patient and a client.

Conversely, I was recently taking my parents out for a round of golf and it fell upon me to make the tee time. I called a local golf course and a young lady answered the phone. Clearly, she’s not the owner of the course, she’s probably a summer intern. But when I called to make the reservation, their computers were down (they use a computerized tee time scheduling solution). She apologized, and with low expectations, I assumed I would be told that I could call back in a few minutes. But no, that’s not what happened. This young lady, obviously at the direction of management, well trained in customer service, said, “Sir, can I take your name and phone number down and I will call you when our computer system is back up. It will probably be 5 minutes, but I will give you a call.” How refreshing. How absolutely 100% refreshing that something as simple as calling the client back, instead of putting the burden back on me to call back. And obviously this golf course is aware that having that level of service — being in a competitive environment — that this is how you retain clients. What a nice experience. And sure enough, she called back and we had a wonderful round of golf.

Unfortunately, healthcare and all its related businesses are “Big Business,” and with that customer service can be poor, if not absent altogether. Why? It’s cultural, with leaders not only demanding it of their employees, but also investing in training and technology to ensure it happens, and setting the example that the customer comes above all else. All the time, not just when it’s convenient.

We strive to do that every day at ImageIQ, I think most of the time we get it right. We’re not perfect, and the times we don’t get it right, we try to make it right.

As leaders, we owe it to our customers to make their service common practice, not a treat. I would love to hear from medical device, pharmaceutical and biomedical CEO’s on how they make that happen. If you read this, please leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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