How One Phone Call Can Kill Your Business

Recently I became a mom for the very first time.  Welcoming our baby girl into our home has been without a doubt the greatest joy of my life.  Her first doctor’s visit was exciting.  We asked all the questions a parent of a newborn child probably asks.

By the time her two week checkup had arrived, we had begun to experience gastrointestinal issues.  The pediatrician told us it was normal. When we contacted her again at four weeks, the pediatrician began to take us seriously.  This time she ordered a plethora of lab work.

If you’ve ever had to watch a four week old get blood drawn, you can sympathize with the unpleasantness of it.  To make matters worse, the nurse drawing the blood had a hard time finding a vein and dug around for what felt like long periods of time to this new mom in two different needlesticks. Before we made it home, the lab called to notify us that a portion of the blood they had just drawn was no good and they were going to have the doctor call us about getting a new lab order.  We immediately called the pediatrician’s office and left a message.  All-in-all we left three messages expressing our concern about Emily’s lab work.  We never received a call back.

Eleven days after our visit to the lab, the pediatrician called us with results.  She needed Emily to come back in for a second set of labs to be drawn because her liver enzyme levels were elevated.  My husband asked her how long it would take to get those results back.  She let us know she had received the last set of labs back within three days (but it had taken her 8 additional days to call us with the results).

My husband also asked her about the original set of labs not all being completely run and the failure to get a return phone call about them.  She stated she had called us and spoken to us about that.

We love our pediatrician.  But it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to see why I titled this article, “How One Phone Call Can Kill Your Business”.

Because I work in the medical field, I can sympathize with our pediatrician.  We were told by the front desk staff each time we called they would a have a nurse get with the doctor and the nurse would get back to us.  I don’t know where in that series of touch points the ball got dropped on three different occasions, but I would classify it as an epic failure to communicate with the paying customer.  My hunch is the doctor communicated with the nurse, but the nurse got busy, and the calls were never returned.

Where I fault the doctor in this equation is having lab results for 8 days before calling to give us the results.  I do appreciate that she personally called us though.  Because I really like her as a physician, I am going to give her a second chance.  But I wonder how many of her other patients won’t do the same.

So my question to you this week is this: “What would you have to do at your business to ensure every customer was called back the same day they left a message?”  Need inspiration to answer that question? Imagine how much bigger your profits would be if the customers you aren’t calling back were still using your business.  Take that a step further.  Imagine how many people aren’t using you because that customer you didn’t call back let all his friends now about his experience…just as I just let you know about mine.


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