For three weeks, I limped around with a pain across the top of my left foot that just wouldn’t go away. I made it through five days on my feet (two workshops and an active vacation), but with no sign on improvement, I decided to visit a local orthopedist.
As it turned out, it was a good thing I went through this experience, because, as often happens, it reminded me why I do the work I do.
I called the doctor’s office and an unhappy-sounding scheduling assistant treated me as if I were a huge intrusion into his day. He was abrupt, unsympathetic and annoyed when it took me a couple of seconds to give him precisely the information he demanded. He advised me that the doctor I wanted to see wouldn’t be available this century and offered some alternatives. And he became noticeably agitated when I wasn’t satisfied with the first available appointment. After all, who did I think I was? He worked for a doctor and was very busy. I was just one more bother in his bother-filled day.
When I arrived at the office, the staff were annoyed that I didn’t notice the big hand-written sign at the window on the right that said “Sign in here” and that I thought it was OK to approach the busy person sitting behind the desk on the left instead. When I went to the person on the right, she handled our entire transaction — from the clipboard to the insurance card and picture ID — without ever looking up at me.
Believe it or not, your staff could be treating your clients this way, too. And no matter how good you are at what you do or how kind and considerate you may be, your clients may be thinking “I’m not coming here again.”