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Customer service at the doctor’s office matters–and it’s noticed. When I was caring for my father in his latter years, I took him to many doctor appointments with various physicians. But, one particular office stands out–his ophthalmologist–because of their friendly front desk people and office staff.

Here are eight things they did to make my father—and me—feel valued and respected. And, by the way, these customer service etiquette tips are relevant for any industry…not just the health care industry.

  1. They looked up from their work when we approached the reception counter. They didn’t keep working or continue gazing at their computer screen.
  2. They acknowledged us with a friendly greeting: “Good morning, how are you today?”
  3. They smiled. Yes, they smiled!…AND, they had great eye contact…even early in the morning! Smiling and great eye contact are a part of your body language that show respect, courtesy and engagement.
  4. They looked up and said, “Thank you, Mr. Rowland” when returning the credit card for the co-pay, rather than saying nothing while keeping their eyes on the computer screen. Fact: Using a person’s name in conversation makes the person feel valued and important.
  5. They were patient and respectful with my father, who used a walker and was hearing impaired. They patiently repeated something that he didn’t hear the first time.
  6. They never acted impatient or made him feel rushed going through a doorway and down the hall with his walker.
  7. When the doctor came into the exam room, he smiled, extended his hand for a handshake and greeted my father my name. It was easy to see that he genuinely enjoyed and respected each patient. The doctor spoke to me when necessary, but never “talks down” to my father as if he was a child.
  8. When making a new appointment before we left, the receptionist thanked us and wished us a wonderful day. She even wrote the new appointment date in very large letters and numbers so my visually-impaired father could actually read it!

And, as a bonus, Frank Sinatra music wafted throughout the waiting room instead of boring elevator music! That should cause anyone to smile…in fact, I almost got up from my chair and did a couple of swing dance steps…right there in the waiting room!

It was always a pleasure to visit this friendly office. Their office culture and customer service reflected respect and courtesy for each other and for those they served.