Don’t Call Me; I’ll Call You

Saturday, around midday, I received a call from Beaumont, a major southeast Michigan inpatient and outpatient medical conglomerate. The caller, who sounded like a 19-year-old co-ed and had a voice worthy of a career in late-night radio, wanted me to respond to a survey about a recent visit to a Beaumont laboratory. Today, I received an email request to respond to a survey about the same visit, the first question of which asked for my birth date.


Follow-up telephone satisfaction surveys are as intrusive and obnoxious as the incessant calls from Rachel at Cardholder Services or calls offering “free” vacations. Do I need a call inquiring whether my X-ray or oil change enriched my life because I was so warmly treated at the front desk?


One wonders why supposedly intelligent customer relations “experts” think that interrupting a person at work or during dinner makes the customer feel all warm and fuzzy about the company. Customer relations directors need a retreat where they are introduced to the Danish concept of hygge.


The calls might originate from a competitor intending to irritate the first company’s customers, but that would require a scary level of hacking into the customer database. It would also misread the mindset of most customer-relations executives. Like Trump, they are convinced that there is no such thing as bad notoriety.


Emailed surveys are less obnoxious, but not welcome. In Beaumont’s case, asking for confidential personal information is incredibly boneheaded. If they have the patient’s email address, they are obviously knocking on the right cyber door. Further, it raises suspicions that the sender is phishing.


When a telephone survey call is intended, ask the patient, client or customer during the visit for permission to call and an indication of the best times for the call. This would be basic courtesy – you know, that archaic concept that is now only observed entering and leaving elevators and at doorways. We’re not talking about chivalry or noblesse oblige here, just ordinary polite behavior; like asking before trying to engage in tonsil hockey.


If a company is determined to importune its clientele with satisfaction surveys, offering a reward for participating would improve response rates and, who knows, maybe improve customer relations. They would not have to offer a chance at winning a new Tesla. A drawing for a $100 gift card or a one-week Porta-Potty rental would be enticement enough for most customers to feel as if they are getting something for participation.


John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200

©2018 John B. Payne, Attorney

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