A few weeks ago I called my optometrist’s office to confirm an upcoming appointment. An automated answering machine took the call instructing me to leave my name and number and someone would soon return the call.
Seven days later, I received the return phone call. I mentioned to the receptionist that I thought I had fallen through the cracks or had been forgotten. I asked why it took so long to have my call returned.
The receptionist apologized and explained that the office had been closed for business. The commerce above their office had a pipe burst and both businesses had sustained severe water damage. She informed me the office would not be open for business for at least a month.
Fair enough, bad luck and accidents happen, but… here was a chance to provide some good customer service in the face of a catastrophe. The office could have updated their voicemail message using it to “post a special notice”. The message could have informed callers that due to extensive flood damage the office was closed, they were busy repairing damage, replacing equipment, re-scheduling appointments, etc. Then, they could thank the valued customers for their patience while they were doing their best to get back on their feet as soon as possible to resume their service.
Sometimes, tools we have at our disposal can be overlooked. Telephone answering systems are just one example. They have been with us for many years and can easily be out of mind when in fact, they could save the day.
Let’s keep all our options open and remember we have many tools already available to us. They can be used to better serve our customers when times are good, and when times are bad.