Workplace Stress: Know Thy Customer!

It would stand to reason that customer service is all about understanding the needs of the customer. But reason and common sense do not always translate into action. I have witnessed both the good and bad on my recent quest for new hearing aids.

I've been dismayed at the lack of consideration shown by receptionists at two different hearing centres. In the first case, the receptionist was answering my question while looking down and shuffling papers. Multi-tasking might be high on her list, but it did nothing but frustrate me. First of all, I didn't hear her and secondly, it seemed her papers were more important than the potential customer.

The second business was not much better. I received a message reminding me of my upcoming appointment, spoken at rapid-fire speed. I may have caught three words out of the entire message. Furthermore, she couldn't tell me what age one had to be in order to receive the advertised $1000.00 senior discount - I've seen senior discounts applied to those who are 50, 55, 60 or 65 years of age.

In both instances, I reminded the receptionists that since their client base consists of people who are hard of hearing, that it would be important to speak clearly and slowly and in face-to-face interactions, to look at the customer. It surprises me that this not drilled in to them by management.

The Front Line

Receptionists need to be trained to meet the needs of the target customers. Management can help by providing information about the most common queries that customers have, as well as their potential needs. This can go a long way to mitigating stress for the receptionist as well as the customer. It's frustrating when basic questions cannot be answered, or when the business that supposedly caters to one's specific needs, fails to do so. Attention, consideration and education can make all the difference to whether a customer stays or goes.

On the Positive Side

I was thrilled to hear the recorded message at the Langley Costco Hearing Aid Centre. The person who left the message enunciated well. It was obvious that they know who their customers are. I ended up purchasing my hearing aids from Costco. It was a good choice. I had excellent customer service from Haroop, who was interested in making sure I purchased the best product for my hearing loss. She fit me with hearing aids that work perfectly for me. In fact, friends and family members have commented on the improvement in our communications.

Is Your Doctor's Office Arthritis Friendly?

Speaking of customer service, my HealthCentral.com post addresses the concerns that people with RA may have when they visit a healthcare professional:

When you live with a chronic illness, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you spend a lot of time in the offices of doctors and other healthcare professionals, such as naturopathic doctors, massage therapists, physical therapists and counselors. Unfortunately, not every office is arthritis-friendly. With a wave of my magic wand, I'd improve the patient experience in a number of different areas. These are aspects that you, as a patient, should seek in your doctor’s office to improve the experience. Don’t be afraid to give them a friendly nudge with tips for improvement - they may just not know how tough it is for you as the patient.

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