Is Your Customer Bothering You?

Improvement Insights Blog

Is Your Customer Bothering You?

Is your customer bothering you? Do they make you angry sometimes because they won’t do what you want them to do? Here’s how to think about it:

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and QI Macros [software].

“My friend Shelle Rose Charvet wrote a book called “The Customer Is Bothering Me” and I thought that that was kind of a good thought to think about for a little bit. Do you ever get kind of angry with your customer for not doing what your customer needs to do to make life easier for you? I think we all do, and unfortunately that’s not what they want. At this time we’re all suffering, we all have time famine, decision fatigue and COVID pandemic exhaustion. I think you should understand that everybody out there is running on fumes, as best as I can tell, so what could you do to smooth out their road, to grease their wheels, to make their life just a little bit easier?

“In the last month and a half I’ve been trying to help my wife get her 92 year old aunt into a nursing home. First she fell and she went to the emergency room, but they admitted her under my wife’s name, not her name, and so it took us an hour and a half to find her. That’s a speed bump, all right? And then she went to a rehab facility and they didn’t return our call for five days. Five days. Massive speed bump. (I don’t think they’re getting any stars out of my review.) And then, about a month later I get a bill from the emergency physician in my wife’s name, but of course my wife was not the person treated, and so now I’ve got to unscrew that. Speed bump.

“Then after all of that we were able to go out and find a nursing facility and Denise there just was really super helpful in terms of getting all of the stuff going and getting it working and everything else. Then we worked with Medicaid consultants who actually helped everything, greased the wheel so we could get her on Medicaid.

“So, you know, I’ve had “bump bump bump bump bump”… and “slide slide slide grease smooth.” I can tell you, I like “slide slide slide grease smooth” a lot better. Just remember: customers pay your check. Customers are it. Don’t be angry with them, don’t pretend they’re annoying you; they’re just being people and you have to let people be people, and you have to work around whatever they provide.

“So that’s my Improvement Insight for this week. Let’s treat those customers with a little love. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”