Handling Manager’s Frustration

iStock_000019320382XSmall Thank goodness that days like today do not happen too often.  From the moment I walked into the office (and I get there before anyone else) the phone was ringing, off the hook.  Since we were not open it went to voice mail, but none the less it rang at least 10 times before we opened.  That should have been my first clue as to what type of day it was going to be.

To make the day just a little more interesting we had one key person on vacation and one was going to be leaving early.  Once the phones were off service it was like the flood gates were opened,  it was non-stop and I mean non-stop until lunch time.  When the clock struck 9 a.m. I felt like I had run a marathon, I could hardly think straight.

The encounters with the patients (our customers) were not bad, but they were draining.  Everyone had a need, of course they did or they wouldn’t be calling the doctor’s office in the first place.

Not only did patients have needs, but the staff had questions and needs that needed to be taken care of right now so they could also help people in the office and on the phone.

As an aside, I also will be gone out of the office as of Wednesday to our national conference in D.C. to lecture on practice management.  I had several things on my desk that I needed to have in order before I leave.  I certainly didn’t have time to be putting out fires now.

Was this a test?  One of my lecture topics is “coping with a workplace crisis” and the other “steps to successful communication”. Oh yes, you need to experience it before you can teach it.  Why didn’t I pick a topic about fun in the workplace? (note to self; do this from now on, only warm fuzzy feely topics).

After about the first hour, my mind started clicking away to the lessons I had learned about great customer service and wanted to make sure that even though I was a bit stressed, I could not let my customers know and needed to give them the best care that I could.

Here are the 5 key service points that came into my head;

1. The person I am speaking to now thinks that they are the most important person on earth and I need to treat them that way.

2. The first line I deliver sets the tone and I want to make sure mine is friendly and reassuring.

3. I know these people are calling because they need help and I need to help them now.

4. I need to make doing business with us easy and fun.

5. I am passionate about what I do and they need to feel that by they way that I treat them.

As I thought about these points the craziness of the day was easier to tolerate.  I am there to do a job and if we do not have patients to see, I will not have a job to do. Reality check.

Yes, at the end of the day I had a nice pile on my desk of things I must tackle tomorrow for sure.  But I feel great because I helped a lot of people today and they did not know that I was stressed out about all that I still have to do.  After all it is not their problem.

hummm…I wonder what tomorrow will bring?  (note to self; get to work a little bit early)

08/13/14

7 thoughts on “Handling Manager’s Frustration

  1. Your point #2 is really #1; What and how you start the conversation really does set the tone with the person at the other end of the line. Thanks for giving us five great reminders.
    Break a leg at the conference. Can’t wait to hear more about your presentation.

  2. Further to point number one, I also remind myself that no matter how often I may have heard the same complaint or frustration before, for the customer, it could very well be the first time they have experienced it. It helps me resist the tendency to jump immediately to “solve mode” and instead stay in active listening mode for awhile longer.

    • Good point Laurie, I know that I have done that very thing only to create a more upset customer. A good rule I heard was to keep quite until the customer stops talking and then wait a second or two before saying anything. Now only if I could always remember that 🙂

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