Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Doctors, Repairmen and the Cable Guy

What do doctors, repairmen and the cable guy have in common? No, this is not the beginning of some bad joke. I am talking about the fact that in these professions, and others, it is completely acceptable to leave your customers waiting all day! I think everyone knows what I am talking about, you call to schedule to get cable installed. "Okay Ma'am, we will send someone out on the 21st sometime between 9:00 and 12:00." Then at 11:55 the service person will call stating they are running late and will be there in about 30 minutes.

Why is it that it is okay for some business to do this? Imagine if teachers did this, "Okay, school will start sometime between 10:00 and 12:00." Restaurants: "Yeah your food will be ready sometime between 4:00 and 7:00."

The worst I have ever experienced was with Home Depot. We picked out new carpet for our house and arranged to have their service man come take measurements. Here was part of the conversation.
Sales clerk "Okay, what day would like the measurements to be taken?"
Me: "How about the 3rd."
Salesclerk. "Okay, that will work I will put you down for the third."
Me: "Could it be in the morning?"
Salesclerk: "Sorry, I can't say morning or afternoon, just the day."

What?? I was stunned, I was completely prepared to hear the usual 9:00-12:00 or 1:00-4:00, but they couldn't even give me that! If you want to feel like a prisoner, just sit around your house waiting all day for someone to come. It doesn't matter if you didn't have anywhere to go, just the fact that you can't as you might miss the guy... yeah it's not a happy feeling.

So today, once again we are playing the waiting game. This time it is for the nurse to call back. I called at 8:30, right when the doctors opened.. three hours and counting, still no call. And yet somehow this is all professionally acceptable and just fine.. so we continue to wait.


  1. So true, so true! I remember living on post in VA, when the wait on the phone to make a same day appointment was minimum a 30 minute wait with the most awful musac on the planet! And actually getting a place to park and seeing your doc on time....well...that's a whole nother post on another blog! ;)

  2. I hear ya girl! Our cable guy was an hour later than his four hour window. What's up with that?!

  3. I hear you. I once waited three hours in a drs office. Never went back to that dr.

  4. Ah, this is where the art of the annoying customer comes in.

    First, they do this because they can and we let them. Erica says, if they burn you don't go back.

    Second part of it, you called the Dr. and it was 3 hours and you hadn't heard back from them. After an acceptable wait time, call them back, get someone in person and if they are still "waiting to talk to someone" or some such non-sense, ask them when to expect the call back and insist on a time. If they do not give one, wait 10-15 minutes and call back, repeat until you get your information.

    Third, if you have a window and are waiting for someone and they arrive late, know their policy. A number of places have if we don't do it by, you get something. If you know if and they are late, enact thier policy. If they do not have one if they are late, ask the person who arrives what you get because he was late and when he laughs, say, no, seriously. He will probably tell you to take it up with the boss, and then do just that.

    Fourth, if you are waiting for no good reason, make the fact your are waiting uncomfortable for them as well as you using repeated phone calls. If it is in a store, talk to other people in the store about how incinvinenced you are within ear shot of the managers/employee who is making you wait. They don't like it when you do stuff like that.

    Remember when doing all of these things, be upset yet still polite, never threaten anything other than taking buisness elsewhere, cancel the order, writing the BBB. Do become so irrate that they can accuse you of assult.

    If we let people get away with junk like this, it will keep happening and most people feel powerless about it and just accept it. Don't accept it. Be prepared to spend sometime on the phone, or at the store complaining and even possibly canceling and order of something you want. If you don't put up with it, at times nothing will come of it, other times you will get free stuff/discounts.

    If the service/product is so unique or they offer it so much better, a Dr. you don't want to switch away from, then you have little choice but accept it, but you can still express your dis-satisfaction to them.

  5. Aaron--the trouble is sometimes I am good about complaining and other times I just don't feel brave enough. Also, sometimes if I am somewhere if I have two kids in tow well just about everything is more difficult.
    Eric is really good at this though, he will call up and complain and get things done.

  6. 2 kids in tow is the best time to complain. The retailer/vendor is doing something idiotic and you are trying to get attention. Tell them you need an issue resolved and if they do not snap to, stop disciplining the kids. Let them start to run wild and do damamge! Having kids at your feet screaming makes them want to deal with you and get you gone that much quicker as those two little cutie pies will have no problem being loud and affecting the rest of their customers.

    The courage thing, that is just something you have to develop, but the kdsi with you thing, that is the best time. You can't totally ball the guy out with them, but you don't have to as you can remain calm and collected and just let the kids be the one to make a scene for you!