I have no segue to offer you in this missive. What follows are the incoherent musings of my drive-by-mind. If you know how to play Guitar Hero, the next two minutes of your time may be better spent doing that. If not, let’s just agree to tough this out together.
I wrote a few weeks ago that I had auditioned for a play and that the theater for which I auditioned is going to pay me to accept the part. It’s okay to laugh…I find it equally amusing. Maybe this consulting thing I’ve been doing for the last thirty years has been no more than a placeholder until I discovered what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Having said that, a week from Saturday I am auditioning for another play, a British comedy. Between now and then I have to develop a posh English accent. Whilst versus while. Let’s have a cuppa tea. I have an MBA from a rather up-market university. None of the people with whom I graduated are spending their downtime memorizing Monty Python monologues in the hope that a director in London’s West End will discover them.
Don’t try blogging on your own, friends. I am a trained professional and I am accustomed to bearing the slings and arrows that result from trying to piece together unrelated sentences and worrying about whether any of those sentences end in a preposition.
Time passes. Yada, yada, yada.
And so, as my plane taxied, the stewardess—forgive me, but I was born before being politically correct was a requirement to maintain one’s American citizenship (just in case, I am applying for a green card)—had just finished making her pre-flight safety announcement. Her facial expression suggested that someone should have given her a chew toy.
My tie was all akimbo—that is the wrong usage of the word ‘akimbo,’ but having been a math major, I threw grammar aside simply because I like the word. My seatback was reclined to the level of an all-inclusive Mexican resort lounge position. My tray table was down. My laptop, which was on said tray table, was performing blockchain aerobics. My Bose headphones were pumping out Meatloaf; not as a main course.
If Dylan Thomas was/were (I don’t know which word is the correct usage of the verb. Was and were are in the past tense, but they are used differently. Was is used in the first person singular and the third person singular (he, she, it). Were is used in the second person singular and plural (you, your, yours) and first and third person plural (we, they)) seated next to me on the plane, Dylan would have said that I was not going gentle (you and I both think that the correct grammar should be ‘gently’) into that good night. However, Sir Thomas wasn’t an English major.
Nor was I. I won’t fault you if you quit reading at this point. I probably should have done all of us a favor and quit writing.
Demurely, I raised my hand and asked the stewardess, cum flight attendant, “Do you mind repeating that bit again about how to buckle the seatbelt? I fly every day, but I never seem to understand the part about inserting part A into part B. Do I put A into B, or do I insert B into A?”
Her head exploded. And that is precisely why I asked the question.
You name the industry and I will tell you how bad its customer experience is. Each of us would rather remove our own wisdom teeth rather than call any company’s customer service. Customer experience—healthcare calls it consumerism—is especially inept in healthcare.
When it comes to consumerism or customer experience, what the people who are trying to improve your organization’s customer experience lack in experience, they make up for it with their inexperience.
What would you do if your bank required you to call them every time you wanted to do anything—pay a bill, make a deposit, change your address? You would change banks without batting an eye or worrying about whether the other bank offered free checking. You would not care if the bank was offering a free toaster. You would sacrifice free checking for an easy button.
Healthcare doesn’t offer an easy button. And to make up for its lack of convenience, nor does it even offer a toaster. Make an appointment, call. Set up a payment plan, call. Talk with a doctor, any doctor, or even someone who plays a doctor on television, call.
However, if you want to make a donation, pay your bill, or learn what time the gift shop opens you can meet those needs online.
Healthcare has created a codependency between the callers and the person answering the calls. Both parties are in agreement that whatever conversation that takes place during the call will be unsatisfactory to both parties. “You don’t want to be calling us, and we don’t want to be talking to you.”
Nobody, or at least almost nobody wants to call your organization. Ever. And how does healthcare address that issue? Healthcare makes you call. It makes everyone call. Every time.