You sit down in a restaurant and a waiter comes over and says, “Hi! I’m Bobby, I’ll be your server today.” Big smile! Friendly! You walk into a hospital emergency room and get a different greeting. “How are you going to pay? The restaurant bill will be fifty to one hundred dollars, less in the places I frequent, since my pallet is based on cheapness. The hospital bill will be twenty times as much as the restaurant bill, so you should get ten to twenty times the friendliness.
Bobby is working on a five to ten-dollar tip. I guess that makes all the difference. The hospital clerk doesn’t get one. Maybe they should. It’s not the clerk’s fault that the first thing they ask is how are you going to pay. That’s the fault of executive management, who probably never manned an emergency room desk, nor ever had to get in line at one.
Nothing unusual about that. Most corporate decision makers never face the front lines that employees do, or ever experience their company’s customer service. If they did, our customer service experiences would surely improve.
Back to the hospital service, these organizations are a special case. They are non-profit, or so they claim when they erect a new multimillion-dollar medical facility and apply for a non-profit exemption from real estate taxes. You would think a few customers running out on their bill would help them sustain that non-profit status. Of course, they do make money. How else could they build those new facilities all across the country.
I’m not saying the restaurants have it right. It’s just nicer. I don’t really need Bobby to tell me his name. It does no good, because like everyone else I meet, I immediately forget their name. Besides, they don’t call me by name. I get Sir, or Honey, or sometimes Sweetie at the places I frequent. It’s what happens when you’re an old guy. I call it the “Treat you like a child” approach. I’m not complaining; it helps get you ready for what you’ll be called when it’s nursing home time. When that happens, I’m going to be a big tipper.
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