A Frustration and What It’s Taught Me

Today has been frustrating.

In a typical week, Monday through Thursday I wear my fundraiser hat and serve as development director for a local nonprofit agency. On evenings and on Fridays, I wear my life and career coaching hat. Today, with the exception of a few wonderful calls with coaching clients, I’ve been wearing my frustrated-insurance-customer-hat.

I’ve been dealing with an issue involving my health insurance company since July of last year. July, people. Thankfully it involves a non-emergent issue, otherwise I might be six feet under right now.

Today, I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the phone talking with insurance representatives, a durable medical equipment company and a hospital billing department. Using firm and plain language (minus the swearing I wanted to inject to punctuate my points), I shared with one helpful representative eight months worth of red tape, misdirections and roadblocks. Her response, another set of directions for next steps. I’m exhausted and I have a headache. I share this with you not to dump toxicity (although it did kinda feel good to vent) but to tell you how I’m processing all of this frustration.

First, I’m recommitting myself to providing fabulous customer service to everyone with whom I come in contact. I’ve worked in the nonprofit sector for 18 years and I’ve always strived to provide excellent service to my donors, colleagues and board of directors. I’ve received unsolicited praise from board members for my quick turnaround time and attention to detail.

On Wednesday evening I was giving kudos to a client for the way she’s applied herself to the coaching process. Her response: “Well, I noticed right away that you are all in. You call me on time. When you tell me you’re going to send me materials, you send them. You set the tone and I realized that I have to do my part.”

I’d be lying if I said such positive feedback didn’t make me feel good. But my takeaway is that in a world of poor customer service, people appreciate it when someone tries to do a great job. Both of my careers are passions; not just paychecks. I want to be sure that no one is as frustrated with me as I am with several people with whom I spoke today.

Second, I’m going to speak up when I receive great service. A couple of weeks ago hubs, mom and I were having dinner. Our server was fantastic. When the manager stopped by to check on us, I bragged. And before we left I told the server that for what it was worth, I told his manager about his fabulosity. He beamed. I want to make a habit of calling out great stuff.

And so, I send out a big thank you. Today I received an object lesson that will make me a better professional and a better customer.

And that’s a good thing.


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