While taking a walk on vacation last summer with my fiancée, we stopped outside of a boutique when a dress caught her attention. In town for a wedding the very next day along with a brisk change in weather, she decided that the dress in the window would work perfectly for the occasion.
Upon entering the store at 10:50 am we were quickly met by a sales person who promptly told us that they didn’t open until 11:00 am and that we’d have to wait outside until that time.
“But I’m going to buy that dress in the window – I just love it. Can I just look?” She said.
“Sorry, You will have to wait outside - Store policy.”
And with those words the store door closed behind us while the three customer services reps inside read the paper, drank their espressos and chatted. With the bitter taste of the rep’s reception fresh in my mouth we walked next door and dropped $200 on a similar dress.
What store policy doesn’t allow a customer to look at a product that they are obviously willing to purchase?
Would that policy have existed if the store owner was standing nearby?
It’s not that this store had a “policy” that didn’t allow customers inside until they were open that caused my blood pressure to rise, it was the fact that the customer service representative didn’t represent me, the customer.
So maybe you can’t open the cash register until 11, and maybe you really can’t allow anyone inside – but if you’re looking to make me a customer in the long run, you better at least sell me on the short term.
The challenge for many health care providers is that we too have policies that must be followed. And maybe you aren’t able to care for the kid that walks in for treatment 10 minutes before you close, but knowing that there is a huge difference between telling them “sorry come back tomorrow” and “let me schedule you a time tomorrow where I can dedicate the time you deserve,” means the difference between that customer returning a day later and that same customer seeking services elsewhere.