I had something happen to me that I thought I’d share, a reflection of sorts upon the importance of taking good care of your customers and being conscious of their experience…and allergies (sort of).
I went in to see an allergist I found on my insurance approved list to get some advice on how to deal with these annoying allergy attacks I seem to be getting right around the same time of year, a growing problem. I began to accept I had entered the “oy gevalt, my aching back/ that’s nothing what about my hernia?!” club, and reoccurring allergies was enough of an ailment to get me a membership, but not quite into the Admiral’s Club.
I had concerns, reservation, fears about what the doctor would tell me: “come in for shots, once a month, for the rest of your life.” I surmised she would settle my fears, tell me seasonal allergies are common and it wasn’t a prelude to itching and sneezing my way into retirement. I’d have to take a series of tests, she’d assess my situation and give advise on how I can manage my allergy stuff. Even perhaps prescribe some meds too, then I could walk out into the world practicing my “ooh, my allergies are bad today” mantra.
Well folks, that’s not what happened.
The appointment started with a standard intake, taking my blood pressure and weight (their scale was very generous), all performed by what seemed to be a competent assistant. I was instructed have a seat and take my shirt off, all the while the assistant was preparing what seemed to be about 40 little needles. I found out shortly they were to poke me in various parts of my back to see what allergens I would react to. I definitely reacted to the poking, which I didn’t like, making me say to myself “she should probably stop that. I think I’m allergic to the poking”.
The doctor came back after about 30 minutes, surveyed the spots on my back and started making “hmm, interesting” noises behind me. I put my shirt back on and the assistant and doctor sat down to go over the results.
"Well, you ARE allergic to some grasses, cat dander (which I knew already), and no dog. Your problem isn’t seasonal allergies…it’s mites. MITES!"
And then she told me what she really thought.
She spent 20 minutes, without taking a breath, telling me I HAD to move out of my home or make the landlord rip out the carpets. She said she would write a doctors note to give to the property manager, demanding they take evasive action because it was my home that was causing my allergies. Their wasn’t a moment where I felt like my allergy attacks weren’t my fault. In the brief moment I got to speak, I told her this wasn’t happening and I’m not going to pick up and move, nor am I willing to jeopardize my living situation by forcing my landlord to do anything. I moved in, clearly understanding the place had carpets, which apparently is a problem because of mites? Gross. Insult to injury, her assistant thought it was appropriate to join in and question by resistance to the doctor’s advise. The result of my trip to the allergist was a slap in the face, no real advise that i could take to go, and a $250 deficit.
I am a professional, a professional massage therapist with more than 14 years experience, and I have the privilege of making people feel better, whether I am meeting them for the first time or working with clients who have supported throughout my career.
My clients come to me in need of comfort and advise, often in acute pain. I pride myself on listening from a non judgmental and understanding place, and I do my best to make people feel welcome and at home, from the moment they enter my office. I set a tone and make them feel at ease. It let’s their minds relax which makes it that much easier for their bodies to relax. A level of trust is established. I can deliver advise that isn’t always easy to hear like, ” maybe one less squat next time” or “give your legs a break and maybe only a half Iron Man this weekend”.
The long and short of it: People pay good money to get the best customer service. It’s my job to deliver that. I have a responsibility to manage those in my care, lest I leave my clients frustrated and upset, driving them to rant on a blog about their experience.