Extreme Humorous Lessons on a Bizarre Customer Experience

A recent routine eye exam was one of the most bizarre – and horrible — customer experiences I’ve ever had.  It was stressful and unnerving. In hindsight, it’s oddly humorous.  

Here’s the story and the 10 humorous people-skills’ lessons on my bizarre customer service experience.

My eye doctor retired. I met one in a social setting, checked out her credentials, and made an appointment for my annual exam. I expected the eye exam would take about an hour give or take.

Two and half hours later I emerged from the office of an obsessive nut case who had actually invented a different kind of eye chart that she admitted was tougher to see.

Declaring she was a perfectionist, she wanted to know every aspect of my medical health and gave me a political speech about how she was collecting information for the government without sharing names. She even lectured me on how to wash my hands — a task I mastered years ago.

She and her assistants tried to enter all my info into computers during the exam and ran between rooms to find the problem when information was not showing up on all the computers.

I returned to my office with only 45 minutes to prepare for a videotaped interview on the future of customer experience. Ironic isn’t it? I couldn’t have imagined that timing!

10 Extreme Lessons on Bizarre Customer Experience

Extreme Humorous Lessons on a Bizarre Customer Experience Image by: Jeff Hester

  1. Perfectionism inflicts stress and pain on others. It’s not a customer care goal! It’s a disease. Get thee to a therapist.
  2. If customers are expecting something routine, you better hang up a neon sign if it’s going to be oddly different — and I don’t mean that weird eye chart of hers!
  3. If you care for technology more than your customers, pray that the technology needs your service and can pay you! The humans won’t be back.
  4. Innovation needs explanation especially if you make the common and comfortable — new and stressful. Where can I buy a traditional eye chart? Maybe I’ll give myself the eye test and someone can stand by and tell me how many I got right.
  5. Put the customers too far out of their comfort zone and they will put you out of their lives and out of all those they tell!
  6. Manipulate your customers to get what you want and next time they will go to someone who will give them what they want — a simple routine eye exam.
  7. Trap a customer with your extremely obsessive need for information and they will see you as selfish or crazy. Neither trait produces customer loyalty.
  8. Treating every customer the same is not great service especially if you treat them like ignorant fools who don’t know how to wash their hands. Each customer wants you to treat them as the unique person they are.

  9. Time is a precious resource. Abuse the customer’s time and they may say it’s time for them to go — without singing “I’m so glad we’ve had this time together”.
  10. Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to see how your customer wants to be treated. How’s your vision? Better than this doctor’s?

Customer care is noteworthy when you keep your sight keenly focused on the customer’s needs and deliver service with that vision.

So what’s up Doc? Can you read the “EI” on the chart? If not, maybe it’s time for a routine eye exam and some corrective lenses.

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 email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers consulting, training, DVDs, and keynotes on customer service, teamwork, and interpersonal success in business. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

20 Responses to “Extreme Humorous Lessons on a Bizarre Customer Experience”

  1. Kimb Manson says:

    Great reading to start my morning. I think this doctor needs a wee bit more than her own routine eye exam, someone should send her a custom white coat with that unique strap the arms in the back feature!

    Did you happen to notice an little hats made out of tinfoil laying around.

    Yes the perfectionist, the one who is a overly self consumed, overly needed, imposing there obsessive drive on others, they are still out there, lurking around every corner. Even some customers can be this way 🙂

    Thank you Kate for my morning smile, and great words that created a little visual theater in my mind.

  2. Tad Jackson says:

    I’m not a psychologist … I just play a warm-hearted one in my high school special education classes … but I was an award-winning marketer and sales manager in ancient times I can say this with confidence: she will survive, and maybe even thrive.

    Here’s why: over time, if she hasn’t already, she’ll attract customers much like her … know-it-alls; know-a-lots; egotistical college professor types; conspiracy theorists; incessant talkers who are there only to talk with the eye exam being secondary. Hell, some of these customers may show up two or three times a week, like those poor ol’ mooks who hang out in the back room lounges of cigar stores.


    One big lesson I learned in sales work … people will buy anything, even under some strange conditions. And one thing I learned in my teaching career: crazy works, too.


  3. Hi Kate! Eye don’t see the problem. 🙂 Didn’t you want a thorough exam?

    I laughed out loud at the description and thought of a crazy dentist we recently “fired”. This clearly demonstrates a lack of interest in providing a Customer focused experience, and more about Me, the all-knowing, all-powerful doctor. I can only wonder what type of employee turnover she has as well. Thanks for sharing a funny but oh so sad story of the way to provide a bad Customer Experience. If only you had video-taped your visit to use in your interview!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Hi Kate
    “Declaring she was a perfectionist, she wanted to know every aspect of my medical health …” did either of them know why they were there??? if she was a perfectionist – it would be perfectly done to the satisfaction of client and customer. we all love the perfect meeting, product or service but it requires order, focus and purpose which the doctor didnt have. The doctor who didnt inform the patient she was having a full medical and how long before commencing ANY test (common practice when you have a new doctor and if you are diabetic and need to transfer records) and the patient who didnt say she wanted a routine test and was short on time. Of course i dont expect it to be happy ever after.
    I’m a stickler for agendas, purposes, goals they usually clarify messups

  5. @action_jay says:

    This made me snicker. I can identify, too. We have an obstetrician right now who’s been ordering up all sorts of extra blood work and ultrasounds. Being our first kid, we had no idea how ridiculous it was until one tech asked us why we were back so soon and we didn’t have an answer for em.

    Crazy doctor. Look like the old dude from Gremlins, too. Dead eye and all. Kinda creeps me out.

  6. Dom DeSantis says:

    Some just don’t get “it’s all about the Customer” philosophy. I find it funny that it always seems to be Doctors who tend to treat you like you are at the DMV trying to renew your license or something else really important to you, but not so important to them. I think it’s important to always say,”…if I were the Customer, how would I like to be treated?”

    I had a great relationship with Kate when she was my Customer and I hope she misses me as much as i miss doing business with her.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Dom,
      So glad to hear from you. You had a good sense of customer and I will always remember the special design in the upstairs bathroom. Very creative — thanks.

      I hope you will visit this blog often and comment on the customer service/experience posts!
      Best wishes to you in PA,

  7. Geoff Snyder says:

    This is great, Kate. Perhaps not for you during this eye exam but certainly great to share with the #custserv community.

    Being caught up in all the extras that are “supposed” to enhance the experience for the client/customer often leads to distractions and reduces engagement. When i go in to get my eyes checked, that’s all I want have happen. I’m not looking to be part of some widespread anecdotal data mining venture, nor is it my problem that computer network is or isn’t communicating with EyeMate or some other proprietor software platform.

    I hope for both of your sake, that you kindly mentioned a few things that didn’t seem to ‘jive’ with your experience.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Geoff – thanks for the chuckle. Next time anyone starts asking me for personal information, I will tell them “I’m not interested in participating in an anecdotal data mining venture”. I love it!

      You captured my feelings exactly.
      Thank you so much.

  8. What an experience–and a great post!
    The line between ‘Professional’ and ‘Nut-Case’ is often very thin, albeit in this case, she crossed it around the time of the hand-washing lecture and then left it far in the distance when she unveiled her new Ode-to-OCD eye-chart.
    I agree with all the customer service lessons–then again, you and I usually see eye-to-eye 🙂

  9. Kimb Manson says:

    How I forgot about this yesterday I have no clue. I had a visit with a out of this world dentist one time. I went in for the first time due to some tooth pain. He seemed normal, his staff seemed normal, and he told me I needed a root canal. We booked another appointment to come back. I generally have a great fear of dentists and told him I would like to get it all done in one visit, He said no problem.

    Three days later I return, they get me in the chair, clamp open my jaw, put the freezing in and he and his assistant told me they would be right back. The dentist was probably in his late 60’s and seemed like a very happy man.

    They leave the room and then the radio comes on, one song in I realized it was not a radio station or elevator music, but gospel music. Which was fine, I have my faith so no big deal, I don’t push it on anyone , didn’t mind listening to a couple old time gospel tunes, figuring eventually the music would change, to perhaps some instrumentals.

    They come back about 10 minutes or so after and proceed to work, asked me if I was comfortable and I nodded, could not say much with my mouth clamped open. 20 minutes in the music was not changing and the assistant starts singing along. Then he starts a conversation with her about the time Joe Smith or whoever came to the Lord and was reborn…and this went on and on and on and on.

    Suddenly he began to look more like that ghostly preacher man in Poltergeist, just without the hat. Yes they where so dramatic with what they where saying, so emotional, that my imagination was going nuts.

    An hour or so later I was finally released. I said nothing, I walked out signed my insurance papers and called my husband to pick me up, I was furious.

    The next time I visited a dentist in the area, I choose a large clinic that had more then one too select from. I told the receptionist I did not want any whacked out preachers working on me. Her reply, “Oh you must have had a visit with Dr Ray down the Road” Guess he sends a lot of new clients to their clinic.

  10. Hilarious! I was laughing from the story you told. It amazes me that people have no respect for other people’s time and think that it’s okay to take up so much of their day. I would be upset if I was in your shoes and probably would have left in the middle of the exam. Glad that I have not had an experience like this at the doctor, but will be sure to pay attention that I don’t abuse people’s time like this!

  11. Guy Farmer says:

    Great tips Kate. It’s amazing how often people forget that they’re dealing with human beings. It’s also challenging for many people to step outside their own thinking and see things from the customer’s perspective.

  12. Jeff says:

    Hi Kate,

    This is a great list. I just hope your eye doctor could read this one and learn from it. 🙂
    Nice post.

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