Healthcare Call Centers

Customer Service Lessons From My Optometrist

By Peter L DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

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.

“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?