“Damn. I knew it!” I said looking at our credit card’s pending charges.
I saw two charges from the restaurant where my wife and I had dinner on Saturday night. Now, as some background, the experience was far from earth shattering, though the price was. To be specific, we waited a good hour between our appetizer (that portion of the meal brilliantly described by Cartman on South Park as “What you eat before you eat to make you more hungry”), and our entrée.
Truth be told, the bottle of wine we shared (and had largely finished during that hour) helped the time go by. The waiter and manager were very nice about it — giving us another glass of wine (which I turned down because I was driving) and dessert on the house.
But the underwhelming damage had been done, and we ascribed the restaurant “one and done” status. Then, the check came. It looked fine and I gave my credit card, but when they brought back the slip to be signed, the amount was wrong. As I was looking at it, the waiter came over, told me he’d mixed up our check up with someone else’s, and that he’d fix it. So he finally brought back a statement with the correct amount, telling me everything would be fine on the card.
Of course, it wasn’t.
So, quite frustrated with the situation, I called the restaurant and explained.
To my utter astonishment, the first words out of the manager’s mouth were, “I’m going to need you to come in.”
I didn’t miss a beat.
“I’m not coming in. Are you kidding me? You charged my card twice and I’ve got to come in? Absolutely not,” I said adamantly, knowing I could contact Chase and dispute the charge.
After that salvo, he took at different tack, asking for my number and saying he’d call me back, which he did within the next hour.
“I’m so sorry,” he started. “I talked to the waiter and he told me how the cards got mixed up. The second charge is pending and it will not go through. It should disappear by Thursday. If it doesn’t, please call and let me know. Again, I apologize.”
This was more like it. I thanked him, and ultimately the charge did disappear.
Now let’s back up a few days to Wednesday, when we’re all at a post-season wrestling team party for my son Tyler. Over on one of the tables sat packets of photos for each child. We had ordered some, and so I began sifting through them.
Of course, ours wasn’t there.
“Oh come on,” I thought. “I can’t get a break.”
So the next day, I emailed the photographer asking if she could locate the missing photos. Within an hour, she responded, saying she’d look right into it and get back to me later that day.
The following day, I emailed her again asking for an update.
Four days later, I emailed again.
On the following day, I finally received a response:
“Sorry for the delayed response. Ok, I found his paper and somehow it didn’t get ordered. I’m so sorry. I am going to order it now and add some things to it and will drop it off to you. What is your address? I should have them in a couple days.
I thanked her for her reply. I was especially pleased that she didn’t ask me to pick them up. I value my time more than anything else.
And so we see two cardinal sins of service being made in the same week. In the first instance, we see the service provider putting the onus of solving the customer’s problem on the customer. “We can solve your problem, if you do these things which are going to take your time and effort.” This is a very bad way to go and will likely see your customer satisfaction scores plummet.
In the second case, we see a lack of communication, which turns even the most reasonable of customers into furies. Though the service provider may be hard at work solving the case, the customer eventually assumes nothing is being done.
You, remember, are in the service business — the business of providing tools that empower your users to deliver superior healthcare services to your patients, and tools that are directly leveraged by those patients themselves. So take the above, and take all the customer service experiences you have each day, as guideposts of what to do and what not to do. It’s not rocket science — simply apply the golden rule and provide service unto others as you’d have them provide it unto you.