This past weekend, I found myself spending Saturday afternoon in the waiting room of a local Urgent Care clinic as a family member saw a physician. While I can report back that the physicians were spectacular, I cannot say the entire experience was grade A.
When we arrived, the large waiting room was full of patients and family members. The staff was obviously flustered and was slow to respond to us as we walked up to the check-in desk. Two women were stationed up front; one on the phone and the other typing. As we approached, the woman typing at her computer failed to look up, but mumbled, “Just a sec…”
After about a minute of our standing there, she said, “You been here before?” As we replied no, she plopped a clipboard on the counter and said, “Fill this out. I need your driver’s license and insurance.” Still at this point, no one had even asked what the issue was, which I found quite surprising. We asked how long the wait would be and were told, “Not too, too long. Only option though, other one down the street closes at 5. You’re too late for that one.” As we sat down to fill out paperwork, a steady stream of patients were called back, clearing out the waiting room in a surprisingly timely manner.
After a forty minute wait (and no one at the front desk asking our issue), we were the only party still left in the waiting room and were eventually called back. While the waiting room was large, it was not soundproof. As my family member was seen, I sat and read a magazine in the quiet waiting room. What I heard next was quite a surprise… The two women at the front desk launched into a complaint-fest full of, “could you believe that lady” and “I can’t wait to have a drink this evening” comments. They discussed difficult patients from earlier in the day, complained about staff members they had dealt with from other offices and how members of their own team had not been properly trained. While I tried not to listen, it was nearly impossible not to.
As my family member finished up with the physicians and returned to the waiting room to check out, he was all smiles. His experience with the physicians was a great one. He said they laughed with him, told jokes to each other and made him forget he was in pain. However; from my experience, all I could think about was the number of patients likely driven away by bad customer service and a lack of employee engagement at the front desk.
Have you ever heard anything like this while in your physician’s office?
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