Is your customer service equivalent to the DMV?

Last week on Friday morning I took my daughter to get her drivers permit.  She was nervous about taking the exam.  When we entered the building at 7:15 am we weren’t even acknowledged so we proceeded to have a seat.  The woman behind the counter did acknowledge THAT and responded, “Don’t sit.”  We were rudely ushered through the rest of the process and after what seemed like an eternity, I high-fived the newest driver in our family.

Two weeks ago Friday evening, I had to take my son to urgent care for a last minute tetanus shot update after he stepped on a nail at his job working at the turkey farm.  Although the customer service at the urgent care was better than the DMV, it was still lacking.  I suppose because they are urgent care and they aren’t there to create a relationship they just move through the processes as rote and routinely as possible, but that is no excuse.

In a time such as this where many things, including healthcare, are readily accessible, it’s imperative that providers start seeing their patients as more than a symptom, a number, or a body to fill a bed.

Providers need to start seeing their patients as customers and above that as people.  People that might be experiencing nervousness, anxiety, pain, and fear.

I can’t go to another DMV.  I’m stuck with the one option available to me.  I can, however, go to another urgent care clinic.  There are plenty available to me and while I’m grateful for to option to get my son a tetanus shot on a Friday evening at 6:30 pm, I will most likely go to another urgent care clinic next time hoping for a better experience.

I’m picky like that and I know for a fact I am not the only patient or customer that is.

When I, and many others like me, enter your health and wellness space, or your senior care community:

  • We should be enveloped with a sense of welcome. How you care for, invest in and update your exterior and interior environment are a direct reflection of how you care for and invest in your patient, client, or resident.
  • We should be greeted with a smile and a conversation. “I am happy you are here.  How can I help you?”  Simple, caring and conscious acknowledgment goes a long way.  Even the Subway artist shouts out “Welcome to Subway!”
  • We should be comforted hospitably by the amenities in the waiting room. Soothing colors and music, nature art, comfortable seating that isn’t lining the walls like soldiers and perhaps a lovely buffet with water, tea, coffee or cocoa.  This says, if you have to wait, I want you to be relaxed, happy and at ease.
  • We should be greeted and spoken to by staff like a friend and not be treated indifferently by manifested boredom. Your joy and compassion in your work is as evident as the nose on your face.  We feel it.

How are you showing you are best in class?

When is the last time you told your patient (your customer) that you appreciate their business?

Everyone likes to be thanked.  Even the barista says THANK YOU with a smile when I purchase my favorite jasmine green tea.  That’s only a $2 transaction.

You, my caring and compassionate provider, are dealing with thousands and even millions of dollars.  Dollars that can easily move down the street, across town, or to the next town over.

How are you creating a healing environment that says, I WANT YOU HERE, I VALUE OUR RELATIONSHIP, AND I THANK YOU FOR YOU BUSINESS?  Please reply back to me and share.  I’d love to know.

If you’d like to talk through your how your healthcare environment could be more hospitable book a 15-minute phone conversation with me.  It always helps to get an outside perspective from a professional.

Grace and Peace,



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