Does anyone else but me feel like they are listening to Minnie Mouse when on hold? Every few minutes, this weenie little voice comes on to say “think yew for waiting–yer call is very impor-ant to us.”
Well, just speaking for me, that doesn’t make me feel at all “impor-ant.” I think I could handle the wait time better if they changed the voice to some Jersey guy saying, “yah, I know you’re still hopin’ someone will pick up and actually talk to ya, but sweetheart–it ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. Whyn’t ya just go pour yaself an nice glassa wine and maybe have some cheese n’ crackers. Call back in an hour or two, and maybe then someone’ll talk to ya. Buh-bye!”
What is doubly frustrating is that even if you do get someone to pick up and talk with you, they will probably have to go ask someone else to get the information you need and then “get back to you real soon, ‘k?” This is especially true with a lot of doctors’ offices.
I realize that businesses and doctors’ offices are busy places. Years ago, I was a telephone sales rep and understand what it’s like to deal with the public. But here’s the thing: people who call businesses and doctors’ offices are concerned about one thing, and one thing only: THEIR OWN ISSUE. They do not understand how the office they are calling works; what their procedures and policies are or how stressed-out the staff is–that’s not their purview. When staff folks become angry at callers because they don’t see things from their point of view–“Sheesh, are they stupid? Don’t they know that their test results will take at least <insert number of days here?>”; well, that’s just about as effective as throwing jello at the wall–nothing sticks and it makes a mess.
It is a rare customer service rep or medical staff person who has the unique gift of empathy and kindness. I realize that these folks are beyond busy; also many are rated on the time they take to answer a call and deal with it. But those who do take the time to put themselves in the caller’s shoes and do what they can to listen and help are positive angels. Even if all they can do is to say that they are sorry that they don’t have the answers but will do what they can to find them–they are literally balm to the soul of that worried person on the other end.
Have we really become so busy, so self-involved and too constrained by the clock that we can longer make the time to be empathetic? I am hoping that that time is not yet, or will ever be. And just for any CEOs or their ilk who may be reading this, could you please have your standard recorded voice sound like someone who isn’t sixteen years old or who does the voice of Minnie Mouse in her spare time? We would all be grateful.