Week 38 – Mystery shopping reveals few possess ZAMitude!

   Recently, I’ve been asked to be a “Mystery shopper” at some local doctor’s offices.  The purpose was to observe the behavior of the receptionists and nurses upon initial contact with the patient.  All I had to do was sit in the reception area and observe.  When I was first asked to perform this task, I was wondering what the receptionist and nurse would think of me sitting there.  However, in all cases, they never even noticed. It made me wonder if that was a good or bad thing.  Shouldn’t they be curious if someone was sitting in their reception area for 30 to 60 minutes and they didn’t know who they were or why they were there?  Hmmmmm, makes one think.
             I visited several different areas.  In office number one, the first thing I noticed was the receptionist was chewing gum.  I immediately got a negative impression.  Although she was dressed professionally, at no point did she even smile at the patient.  The patient seemed nervous and unsure of herself and the receptionist appeared not to notice. Only when the patient complimented the receptionist’s earrings did she become friendly.  In this same office,the nurse was wearing a red T-Shirt.  In fact, I was so confused about it that I didn’t even think she was the nurse.  I thought she was a patient.  
     The second office was quite busy, so all the employees appeared to be rushing around.  Of the eight or so check-in people, one of them was smiling.  The people in the long lines were not.  At no time did anyone come out to tell them of their delay or to comfort them.  In all cases, no one ever used the patient’s name.
       The third office was very slow and there were many empty chairs.  I chose a spot where I could see the receptionist AND I could see down the hall into the phlebotimists area.  When it was time for the patient, instead of the nurse coming to the door and saying the patiet’s name, the patients’ number would display above the door.  I could see the phlebotomist lounging in the back listening to her music.  When the patient would walk toward her, she would leisurely get up and greet the patient with a pleasant “Hi”.  For the next patient, she was leaning next to the door when the patient approached her (perhaps the phlebotomist was really tired) and said “70? Right here sir.”  Gosh, is that the best she could do?  Imagine if she had made an effort to go to him and actually talk to him like he was more than number 70!
            In all three cases, not once did the employee take a few seconds to make the patients feel at ease.  Perhaps they were very busy or perhaps they were having a bad day.  It really shouldn’t matter.  It doesn’t take much time or energy to smile and be kind to others.  That’s what ZAMitude is all about.  Right?

Z-Tip:  If you work in a Customer Service position, please SMILE at your customers.  They might actually think you care.

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