The Best and Less of Customer Service

Last week was an interesting week for me. Tuesday, I went for a walk with a friend of mine in the local regional park. While there I tripped over a rock and eventually found out that I had fractured my distal femur condyle (a u-shaped bone just above my knee). A bone that, until this time, I had never heard of. Think of it looking like a goblet with a u-shaped indentation at the top, rather like a wishbone. Take the two parts of a wishbone and pull the two sides apart. Usually, one side shears off. That was my femur condyle.

The orthopedic doc operated that night, putting in a plate and some screws. I spent the rest of the week in the hospital being poked and prodded. They took enough blood out of me that more had to be added. Of course, there was the startling awakening at 4 a.m. each morning for more blood to be taken.

In all my years (and there have been many of them) I have never (not even when I was born) spent a night in a hospital. I had no idea what to expect and so was amazed at the impressive attention to customer service, engagement and the cheerfulness of the nursing, therapy, cleaning, and services staff. They were all amazing.

The doctors seem to have a harder time with customer service, and while no one was rude, it was almost as if they had not been taught to interact with patients. They were good when explaining what was wrong but seemed to have no idea on what terms to use when addressing me. I am not sure that doctors are taught how to put people at ease. So perhaps as a sideline I can start presenting seminars on Customer Service for Medical Professionals.

A tip of the glass (if I can tip it while I am holding onto the walker) from me to you!

e_T4Q6892 low-res -c bw s


6 comments on “The Best and Less of Customer Service

  1. Chuck Redd says:

    Hi E, I hope you are doing well after your episode. Very good of you to make a learning experience of it. Take care, Chuck

    • Thanks Chuck, it is amazing how many lessons there are in all of this. Not the lease of which is patience (not something I was ever very good at. Fortunately it could have been a lot worse. And so many insights!!

  2. James King says:

    Hey E.,

    I hope this message finds you well and on the mend. Thanks for the customer service insight on your hospital visit. I’ve had three surgeries on my right knee and actually have an MRI this evening to get more info for my upcoming fourth surgery. Customer service is (or isn’t!) everywhere! I was fortunate enough benne able to attend one of your seminars in Richmond, Virginia years ago at the Convention Center for the Wineries Unlimited event (now, Craft Beverages Unlimited). The lessons that you taught the class have stayed with me and have greatly helped benefit our business. Thank you! I wish you a speedy and full recovery!


    James King
    King Family Vineyards

    • Hi James, Sorry it has taken me so long to reply. Thanks for your message. I am now back home, confined to a wheelchair but managing to get around.
      I hope the surgery on your knee goes well. I can’t imagine four surgeries. I think I am going to stop with one. As I am mostly home bound for the next few months I am going to be doing a lot of research on sales, marketing, etc. I am looking forward to that.
      If I can be of any help, drop me a line. All the best and get well soon. E

  3. Elizabeth,

    Hope you are on your way to recovery. My husband and I are both physicians, and now run a winery. We always joke about how they should teach “customer service” in Medical School, but clearly is not a joke. It has been only 5-7 years that a movement called patient-centered medical care is getting some attention. Here is the definition coined by the Institute of Medicine

    “Providing care that is respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences, needs and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.”

    Sounds familiar? it is just what you teach in class. Worth asking why is taking so long for the medical profession to embrace customer service.

    Sylvia Taplin
    Taplin Cellars

    • Thanks Sylvia for your insight. I have found this really interesting as my doctor (who is very nice and extremely competent) insists on calling me “young lady” even though he is 20 years younger than me. For many women my age who grew up during the time when we worked hard for equality for women, I find it rather disheartening. Though I know there is no disrespect or malice involved as he is a charming man, I think he is at a loss for what to call me. I am going to (I hope kindly) help him with that next time I see him. Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s