Customer Service Lessons from my night in A&E



Earlier this month,I was playing bubble football with some random strangers thanks to a competition I won on the radio. I was only 5 mins on the pitch when I fell and dislocated me knee.


This was not the first time I had injured myself in way I should not have been able to and I doubt it will be the last. While I sat on the hospital bed in accident and emergency of Beaumont Hospital, looking the those around me I began to realise some of life lessons I learned from my many trips to the hospital. The following looks at those lessons and how I feel they can be applied to customer service.

Lesson #1:I have learned be a better listener.


I was born with a condition called Neurofibromatosis, this was the underlining reason to my many trips to the hospital. However, as it so rare I have often been left explaining what it is to the medical professionals around me. To be sure they understood what I was saying it took everything in me to sit still and really focus on not only what I said but how I said it. So that they could use this information when deciding on my treatment.

Customer Support Application: With a focus on minimising resolve times there can often be a rush to solving your customers issues. In the heat of those moments, we must sit still and really focus on what the customer is saying. For it is in those moments of listening that we often are able to determine the real issue and how we can solve it to prevent repeat issues. If we practice this often enough, it will not take any more time to solve the issue the customer is experiencing.

Lesson #2: I have learnt to be more patient. 

As a patient I have sat in waiting rooms for over 50 days of my life to date. When a doctor, surgeon, physiotherapist or nurse was running late I had no choice but to wait. When I finally did see them I didn't really care why they were late, I was just so appreciative that someone was there to see me.

Customer Support Application: When your customers are having issues, they may not be able to articulate the issue they are experiencing as well as the next person. You need to have the patience to allow them the time they need to explain their problem. The other side to this coin, is learning to be more patient with customers who may not fully understand the solution you give them, to fix the problem they are having. It is this through patience that we can actually turn around and save time.

Lesson #3: I have learned to be more appreciative.

Patients are one appreciative bunch! They truly are grateful when a doctor, can see them at short notice, review their labs with them, review all their medications with them, allow them to the ask questions, listen to them, educate them, counsel them….and the list goes on and on. Being around people like this many who were often much worse off than I was has taught me to be more appreciative of what I have.

Customer Support Application:  Just like patients, customers can be appreciative bunch, when they take they time to offer you feedback be sure to always say thank you. It is not just about having good manners. It is about showing appreciation for the fact your customer took the time to share the experience they had with your product/service.

Lesson #4: I learned about individual uniqueness. 

This lesson I learned from other people who also suffer from Neurofibromatosis. The genetic condition affects everybody differently. Indeed, no 2 patients are alike. As there is no cure for the condition, there is no one size fits all for how each patient should be treated. When I came to truly understand this I learned how we are all the same but yet uniquely different.

Customer Support Application: Just like patients in A&E every customer is different from the last and will be different to the next. Just like any good doctor will know what works for one patient may not work for the next. You too should know what works for one customer in solving there problem may not work for the next. You should also be aware that not everyone will be as familiar with your products/service as you are and you should be able to adapt as such to help them with any issue that they may have.

Working within customer service can one of the most challenging of occupations, but it also can be one of the most rewarding and gratifying. I know it is for me and I have my customers ( and my many nights on a hospital bed) to THANK for this.

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