I needed to get some routine blood work done a few weeks ago, and the doctor recommended that I use the hospital network his practice was affiliated with. My schedule was packed and the hospital was not close, so I found a major testing company that was closer to home and gave them a call.
I was greeted by an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system — nothing wrong with that, at first — but the IVR only gave me two choices: book the appointment using the phone keypad or book online. I had a question about my test however, and I needed to speak to a human. I was already tight on time, so I wanted to make sure my question was answered to avoid showing up at the lab and having to go back another day. Since I couldn’t get a human, I bailed on the private company and called the hospital my doctor had recommended.
Upon calling the hospital, I was not confronted with bad systems but instead with less than helpful frontline reps. The person who answered the phone was rude at first but then, oddly, turned extremely nice. I’m not sure if she had started the call a bit distracted or her boss had just walked into the room. Certainly, it was not a great first impression, but it was one from which the hospital could have easily recovered.
I was then transferred to the lab itself. The rep who answered the phone in the lab was extremely curt. The entire conversation consisted of him replying in one word and short single sentence answers. The exchange gave me zero confidence in the lab, its professionalism, or its ability to perform tests properly.
Sadly, when we’re discussing healthcare, I believe that this type of unfeeling service becomes an ethical issue on some level. My tests were routine, but imagine those people recently diagnosed with an illness or calling for a sick child. A little compassion and communication is the least one would expect. Certainly, poor service in healthcare is not new (in fact, I have written about my ridiculous healthcare customer service story before), but it can really impact those on the receiving end in a way that bad customer service at the mall cannot.
In healthcare, a little customer service can go a long way. Read more