Sounding Off!

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Customer Service Coldness and Indifference – When was the last time you called a doctor’s office or any medical office and got a warm reception from the person on the phone?

When was the last time you went to a doctor’s office and the staff actually said hello before asking for your co-payment or insurance card? When was the last time you called your doctor’s office, publisher or anyone that you have had a long relationship with and you told them you had a death in your family and they actually heard what you said?

All too often I have found that most people do not hear what you are saying nor do they care. Try asking a question when you know the person has a rehearsed script and gets all flustered because they have to restart from the beginning. Even sadder is when you have dealt with a doctor, business or store owner for years and you call to tell them about a death in your family because they knew the person, they ask when are you coming to see him, what else do you want or worse, okay.

Ever ask someone how he or she are doing and he or she answers okay but never ask you how you are? What has happened to the kind and caring people? The sad part is that you can do very little about most of this.

Going to the doctor’s office you are at the mercy of his receptionist, nurse and office staff. Even getting an appointment when you know you are really sick takes some skill. At times I feel like I am negotiating a business deal just to get in to see my own doctor and told he’s too busy but you can see someone else. Why would I want to do that?

Agreeing to see another doctor you might say is better than not seeing anyone at all. WRONG! I went to a different doctor last week and by the time I left I was sorry I even let him see me. I hate medication. Let’s get that straight. Before taking anything I look it up on the net, ask the side effects of the doctor, who rarely knows and then the pharmacist who does know, and then I decide which is the lesser of two evils, the meds or the dreaded illness that might go away by itself.

Well, this rocket scientist with a personality equal to a cobra on a bad day, implied that my doctor who was down the hall, prescribed meds for me when I did not need them. He even alluded to the fact that I told him I need meds and he just listened. Never ever happen. Nor, would I use a doctor that did that. After answering him in my own special way he stated that because of this I would probably not like him as a doctor.

I had to agree but not for that reason. At which point he shot a prescription to my pharmacy which I did not take nor will I and told me to come back in two weeks to see my doctor. I thanked him and walked out to pay my co-pay for what reason I still don’t know. Speaking with the office manager I did mention it to her and told her that the receptionist on the phone told me I could not see my regular doctor because he was too busy. She was incensed. I told her what he said and she was even more incensed. I wonder if that is what he wrote in my chart on the computer or if this guy is just plain rude.

Calling my publishing company since I was already in a rotten mood proved to be my second blunder for the day. Trying to get my author’s representative to understand that the corrections were not made by production to my sixth book and that I needed a copy to present to the hospital the next day since the book was written in memory of my mom and my sister, she did not seem to care or understand until I once again explained it in my own special way. Explaining the reason I wrote the book and reminding her that she had no clue about what I had written since the author’s representatives never read anything nor do they care about the authors, I changed my strategy hoping that telling her I would appreciate her help but understood if she could not get the job done, she managed to give it a shot.

Why is it that no one cares about other people? Why is it that the world seems so cold and that everyone is only worried about themselves and not other people? So very sad. My mom taught me to care about others and even put others before myself. Maybe she was wrong because the people in high positions that control whether we see a doctor, or get a book published or even take money from you in a supermarket seem to be just going through the motions and that’s all.

I have seen signs in doctor’s offices that no food is allowed yet they eat behind the desk right in front of the patients. I have seen signs for no cell phones and I see the office staff on their phones. Customer service is something that needs to be improved. I even went into the phone company today to find out why my darling new phone kept shutting off to be told it was the battery or maybe the phone.

The new policy of the phone company is not to replace the phone when defective, nor to tell the customer that their policy has changed, but to make you call the insurance company, wait on hold forever and then pray they send you a new one before the next millennium. Well, I explained to the person that this was not going to happen and why I needed my phone to work and not in three weeks or even two days. Well: it was the battery so it seems and not the phone but that’s for another phone call later.

The straw that broke the camel’s back or really sent me reeling is when my mom passed away and the landlord rented her apartment the day I told him she passed and my neighbor wanted to know when I was moving. Not because she doesn’t like me or because she thinks I should move out of the building, but she wants her friend to live next door. Needless to say I explained that to her in my own special way.

Did you ever smile at someone and say good morning to a stranger on the street? Did they answer you? Did you ever walk into a store or grocery store and greet the owner and get a pleasant greeting? Whatever happened to doctors who care and listen to their patients? What happens after you leave the office and might need to ask a question? Forget that and what happens when you need test results? You are once again at the mercy of the secretary, nurse or receptionist to give the doctor the message, pray he/she gets the results and even more you get them.

I truly miss doctors like Marcus Welby and my own doctor growing up Dr. Ballot. He made house calls and could diagnose anything and did not need you to take four million tests to find out. He just knew. What happened to the store owner that greets customers that frequent their stores every day? Why don’t they appreciate us? Well: thank goodness the owner of the Allerton Diner in the Bronx does because he makes sure that I get my oatmeal, tea and bran muffin every morning, delivered, hot and on time. I know: Why not make it myself? It’s the great customer service.

1 Comment
  1. Jack Eason says

    Gabina49 I totally agree with you one hundred percent. The gentle art of kindness and consideration has left the planet. 🙂

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