Healthcare Call Centers

Customer Service Lessons From My Optometrist

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Being farsighted and using a computer all day makes glasses a necessity. Imagine my dismay while cleaning my glasses when I heard a snap and a lens fell out. I arrived at my optometrist’s office as the doors opened.

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

“Can you fix them?” I asked.

The technician replied that, short of an eye exam, new lenses, and a new frame, the only option was sending the broken frame out for repair. “It will take a few days, hopefully by Saturday.” He put my lenses in an ill-fitting loaner frame. “We’ll call you when your frames come back.”

I confirmed the plan at the front desk. “Yes,” she said, “we’ll call you when they come in.”

Saturday came, but without a call. Monday the office was closed. On Tuesday morning I left a message on their answering machine. No one called back. Wednesday I called again. “Yeah, they’re here. You can stop in any time.”

When I arrived, the technician switched my lenses from the loader frame to my newly repaired one.

When he finished, I said, “Here are the lenses from my old prescription. Can you put them in another frame – any frame – so that I can have a backup pair?”

After much fruitless discussion, he ended the conversation with, “Sorry, we can’t help you,” and walked away.

Two days later, I went to a different optometrist. This office was closer, easier to get to, and had free parking at the door. I walked in, explained the situation to the receptionist. In a few minutes, I was greeted by an empathetic young lady. She said she would do her best to find a frame for my old lenses. Since they were busy, I left my old lenses and left.

I returned the next afternoon. “I’m really pleased with how they turned out,” she said. She only charged me for the frames; there was no labor fee. I got a free case and a discount, too.

By giving poor customer service, my eye doctor lost a loyal patient; by going the extra mile, someone else gained one.

What does your call center do to go the extra mile for your callers and patients?

Read more in Peter Lyle DeHaan’s Healthcare Call Center Essentials, available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat and Medical Call Center News covering the healthcare call center industry. Read his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.