Doctor Waiting Room

Why is it some professions can totally disregard their customer, neglecting to provide basic customer service at a fair price, yet still stay in business (or even have a growing, thriving business)? Because, thanks to legislation or a natural monopoly, not all industries adhere to the laws of capitalism.

This morning as I sat in a doctor’s waiting room waiting on a consult, I couldn’t help but think that about why people have become so accustomed to waiting (sometimes for hours) after our “appointment” time to see a healthcare professional.

I arrived 15 minutes early, with all my paperwork in order. I’m paying cash for a minor procedure. I haven’t yet decided to use this doctor. Yet still, despite all these facts, I was kept waiting for over an hour. I could call another doctor for a consult, but there’s a good chance they’ll be just as bad.

I want to be clear, it’s not just Healthcare. Have you tried to get technical support or customer service from your cable company lately? How about public utilities? Power out? We’ll have it fixed sometime “soon.”

When the consumer is no longer the customer, the incentive to make them happy goes away. Since most people that go to the doctor have insurance, they are no longer the customer. The insurance company pays for the service, and often even dictates which provider can render that service. The consumer can shop for new insurance, but that’s such a hassle, it’s usually not worth it just because of a little waiting here and there.

Fortunately, most industries do adhere to the laws of capitalism. Regardless the industry you are in, treat your customers as if there’s a competitor next door that has better quality and a lower price. Because one day, there may be.

Image copyright Lindsey Turner.