This week I want to share with you a story that happened when I worked for a high street optician, the reason behind this is that I was so overwhelmed by what this patient gave me, I felt this was perfect for this weeks challenge. It was a small token of thanks, but it meant a huge at the time, it was the reason why I was there and still blows me away.
A few years ago I was an assistant manager of opticians, seeing and dealing with hundreds of patients on a weekly basis. One particular patient, came to me just as we are winding down for the day. She had not received the best service on previous visits with a string of health conditions that had recently come to light changing her life she was not really interested in all the blurb we normally advised for our patients.
Previously forced to pay for extras that were not necessary, my advice to her was to not have all that, it was certainly lost on her. An hour passed she told me what had happened and how every day was now a struggle, listening attentively my heart went out to her, I wanted to make sure she had what she needed without adding extra worry or stress.
I know this may sound like all people in a customer service facing role should be this caring, some of us are, but unfortunately, there are some out there that are not, I have experienced this myself. However, when it comes to health care there should always be a duty of care, giving the patient the best possible outcome for their needs.
An hour and a half later, I had gone through all suitable options for the patient and written them all down so she could go away to think about her needs and make the best decision. I certainly was not going to push a decision. If being honest yes, we had targets and goals per day, per week, but seriously it is not what it is all about, large corporate companies need to remember that.
As the patient left, I gave the practices numbers I would be at and the days I would be attending and no matter practice I was at, I would come to the most convenient one for her. (They were in the same town by the way) A few days later, I received a telephone call from the patient, wanting to see me again to discuss the options, making another appointment for them. Upon her visit, further time was given to make sure they were cared for and got the best possible treatment for their lifestyle. Building a relationship with a patient, was so important in this line of work, giving confidence and trust, we struck up a great relationship where she told me all about her daughter. I did advise that unfortunately, I was leaving the practice, but I would be there right until the end of their treatment booking one final appointment for her.
At this final appointment, once again time was not measured and all the time required was given to ensure she felt cared for, getting the best treatment. It was at this final appointment I was given a gift of gratitude by the patient.
Apologies if I made this story long-winded, but to tell you a patient just gave me a gift because I spent time with them would not give it justice, doing my duty as an assistant manager was going the extra mile, that was why I was in that position and even though customer service is starting to lack on the high street, some people are still willing to help and give you the best service. To me, these days were like any other.
Back to the something someone gave me – It was the smallest gift with the biggest meaning, totally unexpected. The patient explained that I had helped so much that their confidence was starting to increase, although sad to see me go they wanted me to know how much I had helped and changed them. I was completely overwhelmed, this I would do for any patient.
The small gift has become a great reminder on unhappy days, it has pride of place on my desk. Seeing it, makes me remember why I used to enjoy working front facing in customer service. It does make me sad, that good service lacks nowadays.