Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Strange and the Mindnumbing

I was at a meeting the other day for the front desk staff on how to please the client more. We talked about different needs of the client and looked at a poster that represented the client experience. One of the things that was on there was a representation of "Dr. Internet."

Ah, Dr. Internet, you are a bane! You are reason that people now call us up and:

1) Present a problem they think their pet is having

2) Either tell us that they are supposed to see a vet and ask what they can do at home

3) Tell us things that were suggested to do and merely want affirmation that they can do them.

4) Get angry when we won't tell them what to do with their pet over the phone because

  • We've never seen their pet
  • We don't know the true diagnosis
  • If it's a serious problem, home remedies could easily make it worse
They will sometimes offer up strange and unorthodox methods of treatment. Some are even concerning.

My coworker, Fifi, had the following dialogue:

Caller: I think my dog ate something toxic! What should I do?

Yeah, this vs. Gatorade? Gatorade, you got this, man,  you got this.
Fifi: Do you know what they ate?

Caller: He licked some antifreeze.

Fifi: We would definitely recommend you bring him in.

Caller: Would it help if I gave him Gatorade®?


I see that some vet over on a website says you can do it, but as far as counteracting a toxin? I really don't see it.

How about:

Caller: My dog ate (anything), I think I need to make him vomit.

Me: Recommend you bring him in so we can induce vomiting.

Caller: I read online that I can use hydrogen peroxide.

Me: We don't recommend that, as it can cause ulcers.

Caller: But will it work?

Me: We can't recommend that. Ideally, you would bring him in.

Here's the thing.

Why are you calling in for advice if you already know what you're going to do and don't plan on listening to anything I say except for what affirms you? Oh. I think I just answered my question. You want to feel like a good pet owner don't want to feel like a bad pet owner. I realize your ideal conversation would have gone like this:

Caller: Blah blah blah

Me: Yes, I agree!

Caller: I read on the internet I can (strange/dangerous procedure).

Me: You did research before awesome is that! Since the internet is 100% trustworthy, I would definitely go ahead with that. No reservations!

Caller: Glad I know I'm doing the right thing without having to spend $$s for a professional! (click)

I know someone who's gonna want to try redoing their own electrical wiring with possible disastrous results.

Then we have the Grand Parvo Experience. (I can see this will be a reoccurring theme here, so get used to it). This comes in several flavors.

  • Ignorance
  • Purposeful negligence with lack of understanding about possible outcomes
  • Denial
  • Rage
We've kind of touched on three of these, but we'll deal with denial now. This is a funny kind of caller. They just want to be right.

Caller: My chihuahua is vomiting and has diarrhea. He seems listless, doesn't want to eat or drink.

Me: Well, has he been fully vaccinated?

Caller: No. My mother thinks he has parvo, but I'm sure he doesn't.

Me: With the symptoms you are describing, parvo would be the first major concern.

Caller: Well, I don't think it is. (Background: It's parvo, you dumba**!) No it's not, Mother!

Me: We would recommend you get him tested.

Caller: Well, I don't think it's parvo. (click)

So, basically, Junior called me up to back him against his mother. Great strategy, my basement dwelling friend. Holding a gun to a fortune-teller's head to make her tell you a different fortune is also a great way to change the future. After all, a conversation going:

Caller: No, no! Say it's not so!

Me: It be not so.

Caller: My God, he's stopped leaking from both ends! Thank you, fairy dogmother! totally feasible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We had customer service training too. I don't know why, everyone loves the auditor's office. Everyone.