A lively health care debate was happening on Self-Storage Talk, even before all of the disrupted town hall meetings began across the country last week. A hot topic for all of us, and undoubtedly the final resolution will leave some unhappy; but there is something you can do on a one-on-one basis: speak up!
Another hot topic on the forum is customer service and what is thought to be the correct amount and when things go too far. I'd like to share a personal story about my own experience with these two topics.
I recently received medical attention in an emergency room. I was referred to a specialist, so I made the appointment and the day arrived. It was a 25-minute drive to the doctor’s office. When the appointment was made, the doctor’s assistant said she would obtain my ER records for the doctor to review and evaluate before my appointment.
I arrived early and filled out all of the prerequisite paperwork regarding patient confidentiality. What ensued was the absolute worst case of customer service and privacy violation I have ever experienced in my life.
As I waited—and waited—I listened as two office staff members took calls from patients. Each time they were curt, bordering on rude with the patients on the telephone, but what shocked me the most was the snide, ridiculing comments they made about each person once they hung up the telephone.
As privacy goes, I was able to remember details such as telephone numbers, medical conditions, names and even a medication and dosage discussion regarding one patient. Meanwhile one gal was giving out my own personal information to several people over the telephone trying to locate my ER test results. Huh? Wait a minute, she’s calling for what?! I’ve already been sitting in the office for 45 minutes!
The assistant determined my records were lost but still attempts to call me into the exam room. I stood up for myself and all of the patients whose information I was now privy too and said, “No.”
I explained that I was more than aware of my personal situation but what I had just witnessed and listened to was not the type of health care and customer service I was going to spend my dollars on. How could the doctor make an informed recommendation with nothing to go on? In addition, my private information has been disseminated to a half dozen strangers as well.
I followed up with a two-page letter to the physician detailing many private details about his patients that I should not know. I noted how his staff was representing him, his image, his competency and his practice, and in my humble opinion were I in his shoes I’d be mortified.
The doctor was given 10 days to write me back via the U.S. Postal Service to confirm my records in his office have been destroyed and that I would not be receiving any charges from his office. As I write this blog entry it is within the 10-day window, so we’ll have to wait and see what transpires.
I would encourage everyone to be sure you're following good practices regarding your customer’s privacy. Are yours and your customers’ dollars being well spent? Are you providing a high level of customer service? Just like there's always another physician, there is another storage facility down the road and our customers can and will take their business and hard-earned dollars elsewhere. I know I did.
Share your own customer service horror stories by posting a comment below or join the discussion at Self-Storage Talk.