Are You Accessible?

Think about it.

How accessible are you when it may matter the most?

Whether your businesses is serving customers or clients, we all know that communication is an integral part of delivering good service. Often times when we think about how effectively we communicate with our customers or clients, we think about it in the context of our communicating information back to them once the relationship has been established.

But …

What about when a potential customer or client first tries to reach you to obtain your services? Or, when they have to call your office to reach you or someone who assists you? How accessible are you then?

Earlier this morning I tried calling to reach my children’s’ pediatrician to schedule an appointment. After nearly 10 minutes on the telephone working my way through the automated phone system, I was finally able to speak to a real live human being who told me she would have to reach someone who could pull child’s chart and then call me back. Nearly 10 minutes and she couldn’t even help me! Really? Are you serious?

I bet Fred and Wilma Flintstone would have had an easier time scheduling an appointment with Pebbles’ pediatrician by chipping a note out of stone and having it delivered by a pterodactyl!

I literally had to go through the Kafkaesque maze of (1) dialing into one number to (2) then be given a set of options which (3) took me to another set of options before (4) being placed on hold and then (5) for some ungodly reason, being transferred back to the original option that I first called into and having to go through the entire process all over again before (6) finally getting to speak to a real live human being who, predictably, was unable to help me but (7) was able to take my name and number to pass along to someone who, presumably, could help me.

This is ridiculous!

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon. Yet consumers have continued to accept this kind of treatment by those who are purportedly serving them. Why? I really like my children’s pediatrician. I have used her for years. I think she is a really good pediatrician who is very knowledgeable and takes very good care of the children.

However …

I hate calling her office. I hate trying to reach her. I am tired of dealing with the frustration of trying to communicate with her office. This isn’t the first time but it should be the last.

I know that many businesses now believe that having an automated telephone answering system is a good way to reduce costs and overhead but I have to wonder, how much business is ultimately lost because of frustration by those who are calling in to obtain their services and just want to speak to a real live human being who can and will take care of their needs.

What do you think?

Frustrating, isn’t it? But, what about you? When someone is trying to obtain your services, are you like my children’s pediatrician or are you accessible?

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