What’s Wrong with the Doctor?


When you search on Wikipedia for “the golden rule” you get the following…

The Golden Rule is an ethical code that states one has a right to just treatment, and a responsibility to ensure justice for others. It is also called the ethic of reciprocity. It is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of  human rights, though it has its critics. A key element of the golden rule is that a person attempting to live by this rule treats all people, not just members of his or her in-group, with consideration.

This is exactly what I don’t think of when I think of the doctors’ office.  In the past week I had to make a trip to my doctor and the day before I went, I received a recorded message asking me to be there 15 minutes prior to my scheduled time.  This would allow me to fill out paperwork and yet still see my doctor 0n time.  Having been there numerous times before, I knew that if I allowed myself 5 minutes before my scheduled appointment I’d still be fine.

I got to the appointment at 11:25 ready for my 11:30 appointment.  At 11:45 I was finally called in to be weighed and then was put in a little, white, cold room to wait for my doctor. Already a little ticked off that I’ve waited 20 minutes, yet happy that I didn’t show up the “required” 15 minutes prior to my appointment, I sat anxiously awaiting my doctor to open the door. I waited and waited and waited and waited some more.  27 minutes after my original appointment the doctor walked into the clockless room and tells me I’m fine.  Less than 5 minutes after she enters the room, she’s gone.  For 32 minutes of waiting, I got less than 5 minutes of my doctor’s time.

Not two days later, my co-worker told me that he waited in his doctor’s office for 45 minutes for the doctor to literally say “You’re fine” and that was it.

Why is it that doctor’s, probably more than any other profession (with the exception of cable, telephone and utility companies), have the “right” to be extremely late and yet they are not required to apologize and it’s okay?  If I were 32 minutes or 45 minutes late for a doctor’s appointment I’d be charged.  Why is a dotors time more important than mine?

When dealing with customers, no matter if you’re a doctor, lawyer, technician or sales person, remember that everyone’s time is equally important.  Make it easy for your customers to work with you and make them want to work with you.  By respecting your customers and their time you treat them as you expect to be treated. It’s the best way to keep customers happy and loyal.

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One Response

  1. Oh, know the feeling. It is especially frustrating when, just like a medical practioner, you don’t have a lot of time in your day to be gazing at walls waiting. I think there are at least two things in the way of many professions not showing great customer service or developing customer loyalty: (1) it is never touched on in their professional training; and(2), where I come from most of them (especially medical practitioners) are part of a closed shop, so, even if their customer service is poor, they’ll still make a reasonable living. Of course not all professionals are like this! A famous exception is a dentist, Paddi Lund, in Brisbane. This guy has customer loyalty like you wouldn’t believe. He took his name out of the phone book, “fired” half his customers, and only accepts new customers by referral! And he has fantastic turnover!

    What you said, “When dealing with customers, no matter if you’re a doctor, lawyer, technician or sales person, remember that everyone’s time is equally important.” Exactly. Developing customer loyalty is for everyone. It’s what we emphasise at Masterkey Learning. Whether you’re in retail, or you’re a plumber, or you’re a lawyer, etc., developing Customer Loyalty is critical to the success of your business and its sustainablity.

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