Customer Experience Super Blooms, When We Flex

Robotic use of procedures and inflexibility breed bad customer experience.

Flex like a willow and watch the super blooms of customer experience emerge.

Do your teams understand how to execute a procedure flexibly?
Do your customer experience metrics include how well you flex and meet exceptions?

True Customer Experience Story

Customer Experience Super Blooms, When We Flex Image by:Alexander Danling

The Old Man and the Medical Office Experience

An 85 year old man was in the waiting room of a cataract surgical center. He was a returning patient.

Other patients had gotten drops in their eyes and were sitting, eyes closed, as required. The woman behind the window called the elderly man to the desk, “May I have your insurance card?” and then asked him to sit back in the waiting room.

He no sooner sat down and she called him back over to the desk, gave him back his card, and asked him to sit down. Shortly thereafter she called him to the desk again and asked him to review some forms. He said, I can barely see or stand and I can tell you there have been no changes in the last month.

She took the form, starting at the top, and read:
Name, Sam Plotano? He replied “no change“.

Address, 642 Mill Road? He replied: “I told you no changes” as he continued to lean on the counter for support.

Insurance, Medicare? He replied: “Nothing has changed.


One of the other patients, laughing uncontrollaby, said to her husband, “My eyes may be closed but my ears are fine. Did she just ask him if his birthdate changed?”

In frustration, the elderly man turned to the waiting room and said in Italian, “Maledizione … what do I have to do?” The entire waiting room rang out “Nothing has changed!”

This one customer experience occurs repeatedly in various settings every single day.

There is nothing super about customer experience that meets the service provider’s needs at the expense of the customer.

Procedures, irresponsibly executed, can take the bloom off any experience. As management revels in the comfort of standardized procedures, customers reel up with curses at the impersonal treatment.

Metrics, valuable to determine needed changes, defoliate customer experience blooms, when you treat the customer like a number.
When we flex to the individual customer, the experience blooms into a positive memory. Industry experts are now predicting that, in this new experience economy, companies who master the customer experience will outperform those who don’t.

How ready are you? Do your staff know how to execute procedures with flexibility? Do you have metrics that assess how well you flex?

The time is now. Let’s talk further!

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please first email for terms of use. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Related Post: 7 Components of a Super Customer Experience

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on customer service experience, teamwork, and leading change. She turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

11 Responses to “Customer Experience Super Blooms, When We Flex”

  1. It does perfectly illustrate the limitations of going through a script too rigorously, we hope that the old man did get better eventually…

  2. Midwesterner says:

    In this example, the walking back/forth was certainly avoidable, and an explanation of why the questions were asked should be included. As best-practice 3 of the questions (name, address, date of birth) must be asked to verify patient identity before each medical procedure, even for returning patients — proven to help avoid errors. What if his brother, from same address, was also receiving treatments?

    • Kate Nasser says:

      In that case, it’s best to simply say: I must quickly verify 3 pieces of info: name, address, birthdate. Her approach was ridiculous and not clear to the patient. She could have also come out to where he was sitting to make it easier on him. Robots don’t produce great service 🙂

  3. Jeff Toister says:

    Very humorous and insightful story. I’m sure the person behind the counter honestly believed her role was doggedly sticking to the script. Unfortunately, this meant she was the only one in the room who couldn’t “see” the right way to serve this patient.

  4. Spencer says:

    I think the key to better customer service is:

    1. Hire the right people.
    2. Employee the use of technology to enhance the customer service experience.
    3. Repeat number one.

    When you pay people as little as possible, you get exactly what you pay for. As an employer you may want to make a better choice to paying for gold in your valued employees and they will return the favor by not acting like robots when dealing with customers.


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