This was not the best week, my poor little girl has not been well for a few days now with a temperature of 40 degrees, a visit to the doctor who says just a virus, couple of days of school to only be sent home again at break time as still not well. So I leave work and take the 45 minute journey to school to collect her – she is very happy to see mommy, but really doesn’t look well at all.
Another call to the doctor, no appointments for 2 days – then it will be the weekend! So off to the walk-in-centre, what joy – although now it is not in a portacabin looking building now, it is part of the new hospital – so should be a much better experience.
We arrive at the car park, the pay and display machine isn’t working, so off I go, carrying my 5 year old, to find another machine and then all the way back to display the ticket! We then headed into the reception area… great, three people on the counter and only 1 person in front of me; shouldn’t take too long! However, though there were three people, only one of them was actually dealing with patients.
Whilst balancing my daughter (who is getting quite heavy now) on my hip, I watch in amazement as an elderly gentleman, who is not very steady on his feet, is dealt with by the receptionist. He has asked her a question, without even looking up from her computer screen she points to send him round the corner, and says, “It’s just round there”. So off he goes.
My turn, as I hump my daughter back to the top of my hip, I wait for the lady to look at me… bit of eye contact? No, she just stares at her computer screen, so I just explain that I need to see a doctor. Without, even taking her eyes off the screen, she passes me a clipboard with a form on and asks me to complete it. I am there with my daughter who is not well at all and she can’t even be bothered to look at me or her whilst talking to us… whatever is on her computer screen must be immensely interesting; more so than us and the gentleman in front.
So, fill in the form… a pen is required. I ask the lady, again without looking, she leans over takes a pen out of her box and thrusts it in my direction – she really does know how to make you feel good! So I carry my daughter over to the seating area, place her down and start to fill in the form, the pen runs out. Back up to the counter for a new one, again no eye contact, here’s your pen.
Whilst completing my form, the elderly gentleman returns to the counter because he can’t find where he is meant to go. As she is such a wonderful receptionist, she gets up from her desk and takes him round the corner to find the right place… of course she doesn’t. She raises her voice slightly, tells him “It’s just round the corner on the right – you can’t miss it” and off he goes again!
I then get up, daughter back on hip and go to the counter – I pass her my completed form with clipboard and working pen – she points and tells me to take a seat. We didn’t wait too long and before we knew it we were with the doctor where we were spoken to, not at, and made to feel like real people!
It amazes me how individuals can be so insensitive, unhelpful and, in my opinion, downright rude. If you are in a position where you are dealing with people on a day-to-day basis that are sick, elderly and in need of some assistance – speak to them – make eye contact – show a little empathy. Even if you are having a bad day, the people coming into the walk-in-centre are feeling much worse and could do without your unsympathetic indifferent attitude.
I wish I could say that this was a one off, however I have heard from other people that they have had the same experience. It’s bad enough that we have to go to the walk-in-centre without the experience being made worse by this miserable receptionist – maybe she needs a new job – any suggestions…?
Now I know that I am perhaps being a little critical of this lady. She does after all have to be customer facing day in day out and deal with thousands of patients every year which I am sure has an impact on attitudes and moods. But if she had some guidance about the impact of customer service on patients or on ways to deal with difficult patients or even a stress management course what would be the outcome? A positive one I bet!
Anyway, my daughter soon got better and the gentleman who couldn’t find where he needed to go … a lady from another reception desk, got up from her seat, took him gently by the arm and walked him to where he needed to be – I am glad that there are still some caring people out there.