When making good on a customer service gaffe makes it all better

Opinion Jul 03, 2015 by Gordon Cameron Stoney Creek News

Back in May, Mountain News editor Gord Bowes wrote in this space about some of the awful customer service experiences he’s had over the years.

Perhaps ironically, the day after that column came out I suffered a customer service indignity of my own. Only unlike in Gord’s examples, here the team went the extra mile to make it up to me.

I arrived at my dentist’s office, the same dentist I’ve been seeing since my teeth came in, told the receptionist that I’m here and sat down to wait my turn. Ten minutes go by, then 20 and finally, half an hour after my scheduled appointment time she calls out “Gordon” and ushers me into an examination space.

At this point I’m a little irked after waiting for 30 minutes, but as I’m one of those guys who tries not to sweat the small stuff I’m not overly angry about the wait.

The hygienist comes in and makes some small talk as she puts on her blue rubber gloves and gets me ready. Surprisingly, one of the practice’s dentists comes in right away, gloves up and has a look at my teeth. After a cursory exam he leaves and I hear him talking with the staff although I can’t make out what they’re saying.

“Mr. Cameron,” I hear as I turn around to discover the dentist gone, replaced by my hygienist, a person who I believe is the head hygienist and the receptionist. I can tell by the looks on their faces that it’s not good news.

I’m suddenly bombarded with a barrage of apologies. They figured out that they had cancelled my appointment the day before and left a message for me at home about the change (which I didn’t pickup) and that the only reason they called my name in the first place is that there was another Gordon who had been booked in to have some dental work done. (I can’t tell you how glad I was that they discovered that mistake before they got to drilling.)

They asked me if I could wait until around 11 which was the earliest they could get me in that day, but, as understanding as my boss is, I couldn’t afford to miss half a day of work.

In spite of their genuine embarrassment and desire to fix this problem I found myself getting more and more irked with the situation (like I say, it takes a lot to get me angry). I pointed out to them that if I cancelled my appointment with less than 24 hours notice I’d be charged for it. They told me that they don’t do that to their patients, but they took the point and I was promptly told that my makeup appointment would be free of change.

Satisfied with that solution, I accepted a fresh round of apologies, booked my next appointment and headed off to the office.

True to their word, my next visit was on the house and was accompanied by a coffee shop gift card as an additional “we’re sorry.”

In a strange way the whole episode actually made me feel better about my dentist. Yes, they shouldn’t have cancelled my appointment at such a late hour, but the staff did everything short of building a time machine to go back and make sure that I knew about the change to make it up to me.

And that’s customer service worth celebrating.

Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.

When making good on a customer service gaffe makes it all better

Opinion Jul 03, 2015 by Gordon Cameron Stoney Creek News

Back in May, Mountain News editor Gord Bowes wrote in this space about some of the awful customer service experiences he’s had over the years.

Perhaps ironically, the day after that column came out I suffered a customer service indignity of my own. Only unlike in Gord’s examples, here the team went the extra mile to make it up to me.

I arrived at my dentist’s office, the same dentist I’ve been seeing since my teeth came in, told the receptionist that I’m here and sat down to wait my turn. Ten minutes go by, then 20 and finally, half an hour after my scheduled appointment time she calls out “Gordon” and ushers me into an examination space.

At this point I’m a little irked after waiting for 30 minutes, but as I’m one of those guys who tries not to sweat the small stuff I’m not overly angry about the wait.

The hygienist comes in and makes some small talk as she puts on her blue rubber gloves and gets me ready. Surprisingly, one of the practice’s dentists comes in right away, gloves up and has a look at my teeth. After a cursory exam he leaves and I hear him talking with the staff although I can’t make out what they’re saying.

“Mr. Cameron,” I hear as I turn around to discover the dentist gone, replaced by my hygienist, a person who I believe is the head hygienist and the receptionist. I can tell by the looks on their faces that it’s not good news.

I’m suddenly bombarded with a barrage of apologies. They figured out that they had cancelled my appointment the day before and left a message for me at home about the change (which I didn’t pickup) and that the only reason they called my name in the first place is that there was another Gordon who had been booked in to have some dental work done. (I can’t tell you how glad I was that they discovered that mistake before they got to drilling.)

They asked me if I could wait until around 11 which was the earliest they could get me in that day, but, as understanding as my boss is, I couldn’t afford to miss half a day of work.

In spite of their genuine embarrassment and desire to fix this problem I found myself getting more and more irked with the situation (like I say, it takes a lot to get me angry). I pointed out to them that if I cancelled my appointment with less than 24 hours notice I’d be charged for it. They told me that they don’t do that to their patients, but they took the point and I was promptly told that my makeup appointment would be free of change.

Satisfied with that solution, I accepted a fresh round of apologies, booked my next appointment and headed off to the office.

True to their word, my next visit was on the house and was accompanied by a coffee shop gift card as an additional “we’re sorry.”

In a strange way the whole episode actually made me feel better about my dentist. Yes, they shouldn’t have cancelled my appointment at such a late hour, but the staff did everything short of building a time machine to go back and make sure that I knew about the change to make it up to me.

And that’s customer service worth celebrating.

Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.

When making good on a customer service gaffe makes it all better

Opinion Jul 03, 2015 by Gordon Cameron Stoney Creek News

Back in May, Mountain News editor Gord Bowes wrote in this space about some of the awful customer service experiences he’s had over the years.

Perhaps ironically, the day after that column came out I suffered a customer service indignity of my own. Only unlike in Gord’s examples, here the team went the extra mile to make it up to me.

I arrived at my dentist’s office, the same dentist I’ve been seeing since my teeth came in, told the receptionist that I’m here and sat down to wait my turn. Ten minutes go by, then 20 and finally, half an hour after my scheduled appointment time she calls out “Gordon” and ushers me into an examination space.

At this point I’m a little irked after waiting for 30 minutes, but as I’m one of those guys who tries not to sweat the small stuff I’m not overly angry about the wait.

The hygienist comes in and makes some small talk as she puts on her blue rubber gloves and gets me ready. Surprisingly, one of the practice’s dentists comes in right away, gloves up and has a look at my teeth. After a cursory exam he leaves and I hear him talking with the staff although I can’t make out what they’re saying.

“Mr. Cameron,” I hear as I turn around to discover the dentist gone, replaced by my hygienist, a person who I believe is the head hygienist and the receptionist. I can tell by the looks on their faces that it’s not good news.

I’m suddenly bombarded with a barrage of apologies. They figured out that they had cancelled my appointment the day before and left a message for me at home about the change (which I didn’t pickup) and that the only reason they called my name in the first place is that there was another Gordon who had been booked in to have some dental work done. (I can’t tell you how glad I was that they discovered that mistake before they got to drilling.)

They asked me if I could wait until around 11 which was the earliest they could get me in that day, but, as understanding as my boss is, I couldn’t afford to miss half a day of work.

In spite of their genuine embarrassment and desire to fix this problem I found myself getting more and more irked with the situation (like I say, it takes a lot to get me angry). I pointed out to them that if I cancelled my appointment with less than 24 hours notice I’d be charged for it. They told me that they don’t do that to their patients, but they took the point and I was promptly told that my makeup appointment would be free of change.

Satisfied with that solution, I accepted a fresh round of apologies, booked my next appointment and headed off to the office.

True to their word, my next visit was on the house and was accompanied by a coffee shop gift card as an additional “we’re sorry.”

In a strange way the whole episode actually made me feel better about my dentist. Yes, they shouldn’t have cancelled my appointment at such a late hour, but the staff did everything short of building a time machine to go back and make sure that I knew about the change to make it up to me.

And that’s customer service worth celebrating.

Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.