Friday, October 27, 2006

Serving like doctors

A recent doctor's visit by my wife made me wonder what the world would be like if all businesses had customer service like the doctor's office.

After arriving on time for an 8:45 appointment, she was forced to wait over an hour before she could even see the doctor. In our current society where time is so precious, how could a business survive by treating customers like that? Well, doctors are essential. Where else are you going to go to get diagnosed and fixed? We have to remember in our businesses, however, that we are not quite as essential. We need to always respect people's time.

How would your business do if you made your customers wait for an hour for each meeting?

Doctors seem to make the most money by piling the day with appointments (even though they know they can't meet them all in a timely manner). I'd be curious to see if a doctor could make more money by adding staff and seeing clients in a timely manner. Wouldn't they become more popular for treating their customers differently and therefore garner more business?

Competition is good, even in fields like healthcare.


Wes H. said...

First let me start by saying, in no way do I think waiting an hour after the scheduled appointment time, in a physician's office, is good customer service, but let me add this thought.

What other business do you walk into and receive goods/services and not pay for them at the time of rendering? A third-party pays for the services 60-90 days after the service. Imagine if you could pay 60-90 days later for the pizza you had today?

Then even though it costs the doctor 100 bucks for your visit, the third-party has pressured him into a lower rate and will only receive 40 bucks plus your co-payment. So instead of 20 bucks for the pizza you only have to pay 8 bucks (60 days later)

I would bet your local pizza joint would go out of business if it followed this model.

I have taken a complex issue and made it very simplistic, and it is not a simple issue. There are many facets to the problem, and some interesting ways that physicians are handling it.

I can tell you from being 'on the other side' that hiring more staff is not the answer. In fact there is not one clear cut answer to this growing problem.

Again, I wholeheartedly agree that your wait time was not good customer service.

Chad Wright said...

I agree that there probably isn't a good answer on either side of the stethoscope.

I understand doctor's are constantly under pressure for lower prices, and the insurance companies are a major pain to deal with. However, if it wasn't financially worth it, they wouldn't be in the game.

Because of this, I always try to be patient with doctors. I know the stress they are under. However, wiser scheduling might take a chunk of that pressure away.

I think the other thing that comes into play is the nature of doctor's visits. I think as a whole, people are less patient waiting in the doctor's office, or waiting on a doctor to call because they are so worried about the outcome of the appointment/call.

Like I said, there probably isn't a good answer.

I am a practical guy, though, and if you can't see me until 9:30, please don't schedule me for 8:30.