I was calling my doctor’s office the other day, trying to schedule an appointment. I only had a few minutes to make the call—I was headed into the office and I wanted to complete my call before my arrival.
This is Caroline, Curtis’ marketing manager, and my attempt to schedule an appointment quickly was thrown off when the phone was answered and a curt voice said, “Dr ———’s office. Can you hold?”
I opened my mouth. I closed it. I opened it again. “Okay,” I said eventually. What else was I supposed to say?
I sat on the line for two minutes in complete silence. I kept pulling my face away from the phone to check the screen to make sure I hadn’t been disconnected. Finally, running out of time and frustrated, I hung up. Then I hit redial.
“Dr. ———’s office. Can you hold?”
“Well, I just was holding. I’m headed into work, and I needed to see if I could schedule an appointment really quickly. If not, I’ll need to call another physician.”
The was a moment of silence. “Okay, I’ll be glad to help you in just a moment.”
The woman put me on hold for another 30 seconds. Just as I was about to hang up and call back a second time, she returned to the line, and in a matter of minutes my appointment was scheduled.
So what did I learn?
Obviously, the fact that the doctor’s office has their secretary answer with “Can you hold?” is terrible customer service. But while I full-heartedly believe it’s the responsibility of the business to have good customer service, I also found out it’s my responsibility as a consumer to demand high-quality service and to not accept bad customer service.
Whether that means asking repeatedly for a representative on an automated call system or refusing to sit on an unendingly dead line, we all have to show that we’re not willing to just sit and deal with it when we’re faced with terrible service.
Because you know what? If we don’t ask for more from our service providers, they won’t try to be better for us. And then we really will be getting just the customer service we deserve.
When was the last time you called your office as a mock customer on an unfamiliar number, to see what kind of service your company provides? Is it time to make a change, to provide the level of service that you are?
As a speaker and author, Curtis Zimmerman has impacted over one million people with his life-changing messages and award-winning programs. Curtis is an expert at transforming organizations by inspiring individuals to live their lives at performance level.
Want to be inspired? Check out his podcast The Next 24 Hours.