Urgency, Empathy, and Communication

One of our techs recently shared a story with me regarding a visit to a doctor’s office.  He showed up 15 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment, as requested by the office.  However, after delays at the front desk, delays being seen for check-in, and delays being shown to an exam room, it was 2.75 hours AFTER his scheduled appointment before he saw his doctor!  Needless to say, he was not happy with the customer service he received by his medical practice that day.

At the completion of each of our service request tickets, the end user receives our close notification with the invitation to take a one-question survey to provide feedback regarding the service received in regards to the request – was the service received Unsatisfactory, Average, Good, or Excellent.  Each month, we receive around 250 responses on average, and usually only receive 1 or 2 “sub-goal” responses of Unsatisfactory or Average.  In nearly every case, it’s for one of only three possible reasons:

  • Time to respond – it took too long to hear back after submitting my initial request
  • Time to repair – it took too long to resolve, measured in either too much time passing before it was resolved, or it took too many touches
  • Lack of communication – no one kept the client up-to-date as to the status of the request along the way

The doctor’s office similarly failed in all three areas during the visit that day.  They took too long to get the patient out of the waiting room and started in the care-visit process.  They took too long before the patient had access to someone who could actually help them.  And they kept the patient waiting without updating them along the way with explanations as to why such a delay was occurring.

To avoid these issues from occurring in our service delivery process, we ask techs to follow three “commandments” toward the goal of providing excellent customer service.  These include:

  • Show Empathy – No one likes to deal with unexpected issues, so acknowledge the pain the client is experiencing and its impact to their productivity
  • Show Urgency – Confirm understanding of the level of importance of the issue, and that it will be our top priority until resolved or completed
  • Communicate! – Before, during, and after conducting service, contact the client and tell them what you’re going to do, what you are doing, and what you did.  No one likes delays or surprises, and consistent communication avoids both

Perhaps the doctor’s office was having a bad day, and Lord knows we’re not perfect either, but we aspire to be better.  If you ever have feedback regarding our successes or failures in showing empathy, showing urgency, or communication, or your experiences with other service-delivery providers, please share them with me – I’d love to hear them!