Yes, you really can’t make this sort of thing up.
Here is episode three, the last of a series of customer service horror stories that I sadly experienced during a recent twenty-four hour period.
Yes. True. If you missed episode one then read it here
Yes. True. If you missed episode two then read it here
Here is my point. As a small business, Dental Offices need to be mindful of the fact that if we have no customers then we have no business.
NO CUSTOMERS. NO BUSINESS.
And big businesses need to be mindful of this fact too.
This third instance of ignoring the consumer occurred last week with another very big company.
This company totally went about its processes as if the paying customer was not even present.
And I don’t mean as if they were invisible…
I mean as if the paying customer was not even there.
This company could not have cared less about its customers, unless they were asked..
Although they were pleasant when questioned, the fact is, as a customer I should not have had to question the service or the processes.
But I did, sadly.
And the responses were pathetic…
This may have been due to the staff having to defend their operational protocols?
I’m not sure…
In a Dental Office, sadly, I see staff put into this same situation with regard to office procedures.
And unhappy patients do not like to be put in these situations and then be fed trite answers…
And when patients get treated this same way they simply show their disdain by walking straight out the door and never returning.
Customers and patients should not have to tolerate this sort of business behaviour when they are paying money to that business.
This particular incident only went on to show me that there needs to be logical thought toward protocols in a business so that customer service appears paramount.
Customers should not be simply being taken for granted.
But if nobody’s telling a business that what they’re doing is poor and needs fixing, then they’ll simply keep on blundering on regardless.
All customers want to be made to feel valued.
And that’s all we need to remember.
Sadly, at Avis at Melbourne Airport last month, this was not how I was made to feel.
I was on my way from Sydney to Melbourne by plane and then I needed a hire car for the day so that I could drive to Geelong and back and see my Shoulder surgeon for my twelve-month post-operative review.
So I had pre-booked a hire car from Avis.
When I arrived at the counter within the Airport, there were two people in front of me, one being served who seemed to be taking an inordinate amount of time.
And only one person serving.
So I took the odds, and headed to the outlet in the car park, where I found their office to have only one attendant and a client just leaving.
When I told the attendant about my booking she politely let me know that I was in the Avis-Preferred office, and that I needed to go to the office across the way.
In THAT Avis Office there were three attendants serving. But there were seven people in line before me.
Fortunately the service was good and the line shortened quickly, and I was out in the pick-up area with my paperwork in hand in no time at all.
Once in the pick-up area I was asked, along with everyone else, to hand over my paperwork to one SOLO woman with a walkie-talkie who then proceeded to make herself scarce?
In dribs and drabs, and I mean one at a time well spaced apart, cars were appearing and customers were dispatched.
Very very slowly.
So slow, that it took forty minutes standing there in very cold icy temperatures waiting for my car to appear.
Cars were arriving very sporadically.
When I asked the female with the walkie-talkie about the delay she told me that my car was being cleaned.
I asked her whether they waited for me to check in and pay before they decided to clean my car, because it seemed logical that if I had made a booking that I would want the car ready at the time that I had booked it for?
It seemed crazy to think that it took forty minutes to get my car and yet it took only fifty-five minutes of flying time to get me from Sydney to Melbourne.
I had not allowed forty minutes of service time to pick up my car.
This was because only two weeks earlier in Grand Rapids Michigan I had literally walked off my plane and completed my paperwork with Enterprise and been directed to my car in the not in less than ten minutes?
Why for whatever reason does Avis have to bring your car to you in the airport car park?
It makes no sense if it is delaying my service, and displaying gross inefficiencies.
Once my car DID arrive downstairs another customer tried to jump into it because he too was waiting on a car with the same colour and make.
What a shemozzle!
This confusion could have been avoided if the customers were allowed to go fetch their own cars, much like they do in Grand Rapids.
The walkie-talkie lady suggested that I might like to become an Avis Preferred client so that I could receive better service.
I told her that if they couldn’t get the base level correct, then why would I even contemplate giving Avis more money?
In fact, I said that from this day on I’ll spend my hire car dollar with any other company bar Avis, because I don’t believe they are doing anything right in trying to keep my business.
How’s your Dental Practice going?
Do you keep clients waiting an inordinate amount of time because of inefficient processes?
Are your processes creating difficulties for your front line employees?
Are your processes sending the wrong messages to your customers?
Do your antiquated processes need a rethink?
Is there a better way that you could be doing things?
And are other competitors doing things in a better way?
Sometimes the answers are out there and easily observable.
To me it looked like Avis were not trying very hard to find a better way, despite a better way being out there and being used by their competitors.
Avis, we try harder?
I think “Avis, we try YOU harder…”
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