Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Excuse me while I rant (aka: this is just the beginning)

I consider myself to be a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to customer service. I'm a consumer with lots of different businesses, but more importantly, I'm really ridiculously good at providing customer service. Really good. I'm not very good at lots of things, but this one, this one's my shining star. It's always been something I could do - relate and listen and care. I blame my dad, my dad's dad and mom, my mom's dad and my brother for this: we're all really good at it. When I was a social worker: good. When I was a server: good. When I library: good. So, I know bad service when I encounter it. And when I do, it's all-consumingly offensive. It's like a stinky, burning fart in the middle of a lily field. (Yeah, I did just say that).

Here's the history: I have acne. At one point in my life, I had terrible, horrible, bulbous acne that hurt and made me feel hatred towards myself and everyone else in the universe. I might have been vain, but mostly, I was heartbroken. When I was 12, I started using my first topical retinoid. When I was 18, my face exploded with "adult onset acne". I cried EVERY SINGLE DAY. I started going to Three Rivers Dermatology in 2002. This is when I fell in love with Dr. Sassmannshausen. He did things like listen to me cry and give me pep talks about my personality and remembered personal facts and tid bits. He wore funky ties and made jokes. He took serious and aggressive, but patient and comforting approaches. We, patiently, took my acne to the cleaners. He's awesome. I recommended him to at least 10 people in the last 10 years.

Somewhere along the line his practice has started taking itself way too seriously. It has a damn spa thingy attached to it (it's called Windy Ridge. WINDY RIDGE!!!), he has a staff of like 25 nurses and he's way too busy to interact effectively. This is great, right? His practice has boomed! Except, where does that leave the customer? Rushed and pushed around by nurses who cut off your sentences and have the same amount of bedside manner as a corpse? Yes. Sitting in a waiting room for 20 minutes to hold audience with the doctor for 2? Yes. Calling in to ask a serious question only to be redirected to 2 different people, ending up talking to the phone nurse who is, at best, kind of a jerk? Yes. Sorry, but in my book, this is not progress.

Also, while my nurse was updating my patient history today, she cut me off at least a half dozen times and NEVER let me justify my answers. Don't we all think it's important to note that histories are unique and side bars should be considered? It was infuriating. And to the point where I intentionally moved my body away from hers and crossed my arms. I wanted her to get the point that yes, in fact, she was cutting me off from my own appointment. She didn't seem to care. It doesn't matter, except that it does. For mainly two reasons:

1) I'm a long time patient. 10 years, guys. When I think about breaking up with Three Rivers Dermatology, my heart actually aches. 2) I actually paid them money to make me feel like a doofus.

On the upside, Dr. Sassmanhausen is still cool as hell. And we have a thick history. I can't sever that so easily -- but I can't continue to put up the notion that taking yourself too seriously, being cold and pre-occupied and being rushed and pushed around is to be considered professional. I had a horrible experience (2 within one month)and it's like this: What the hell?

I mean, he can always hire me for Customer Service Consultant, I'd be up for that - because some of these nurses have a thing or two to learn about humans. And I'm not talking anatomy.


  1. Have you shared this with the Doctor, yet?

  2. I tried today - he was too busy to listen. I plan on emailing me, but i'm unsure if he'll get it. But i do plan on doing it.