Customer Experience

Has Customer Experience Gone to the Dogs?

My husband didn’t accept my suggestion to pick up our dog’s heart worm medicine from our local vet’s office. Humpf. Now I’ll have to do it. It’s a trip I anticipate with dread.

Don’t get me wrong. Our vet is an excellent doctor. The staff is friendly, helpful, and caring. What more could a pet owner want?

A lot, it turns out. This vet’s office is  V E R Y… V E R Y …S L O W when it comes to getting customers through the check-out line, so to speak. I mentally gear up for a long wait and head out.

Darn. There’s a chatty woman at the counter with her chocolate lab and a collection of meds. The dog has been through some serious trauma and the woman is processing it all. Out loud. With the help of the vet technicians. Come on!” I think to myself. If you need a therapy session, step aside. It’s too bad about your dog, but I’m on a tight schedule tonight.

The receptionist smiles at me sweetly and says, “I’ll be with you in just a minute.” “Or two or three” I mentally reply. I smile back. “Sure.”

Getting past the point of frustration

Why am I so frustrated? The staff isn’t any slower on this particular occasion than they’ve always been.

But it turns out that something has changed: my expectations of a fast and smooth check out experience. Thanks to technology and innovation, I can now order virtually anything I want online at any time of the day or night with a small handful of clicks. It doesn’t matter if other people are ordering the same thing at exactly the same time. There’s never a line.

I glance at my watch and heave a big sigh. “Thanks for your patience” the perky receptionist says, as if to read my mind. [Mental note to self: Check to see if these meds are available on Amazon.]

When Customer Experience goes to the dogs

A friend aptly described our demographic as “time starved.” We work, shuttle kids around, and try to keep up with everything in between. Relax? What’s that? There’s either paid work or unpaid work. Our group doesn’t have time for slow-motion check outs.

Can you image if your grocery store checker took 10 minutes to ring up one item?? I fondly reflect on my favorite local super market gal who can whisk 100+ items down the belt in less than 7 minutes. No small talk there. Just bananas, bread, and milk, flying by in a steady stream of beauty. Why can’t she work here, I pine to myself. Where is their sense of urgency, for God’s sake?

I’m back in the moment, gnashing my teeth. Come on already. “You’ve got your stuff, you signed your slip, now leave” I silently scream to the woman with the chocolate lab.

Unhappy customers will turn to another source

Finally, it’s my turn. I tell the receptionist my name and what I’m here for. She tries to engage me in small talk. I’m not interested. “Just give me my stuff so I can go” I think to myself. I don’t really want to be here. I just can’t get these pills any other way.

Customer Experience is a funny thing. We don’t compare our experiences to other, similar providers. I only have one vet, for Pete’s sake. How could I compare tonight’s experience with anything other than a retail experience? That means comparisons with the grocery store, the hardware store, the pet food store, and yes, the eCommerce grand-daddy of them all: Amazon.

Hmmm. Speaking of which, I think I’ll check to see if Amazon has these meds online….


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