Excuse me while I vent a little…
I had to get blood drawn today for the clinical trial I’m participating in. Instead of going all the way down to Virginia to get it done, the team there sent me a lab slip so I could get the work done here. Fine so far, right?
So I go into the local corporate-owned lab processing place (are there any mom and pop lab processing places?) and gave them the lab slip that had been scanned and e-mailed to me. In the office there was me and three lab technicians. That’s where the trouble started.
“This says ‘Virginia’ on it… I don’t know if we can do that here”. Well, yes, you can. You’re a multi-state organization, which is why they chose you to do the work (I live in Maryland, for those who don’t know).
“This doesn’t have your name on it, just your initials… I don’t think we can do this without your name on it.” They’re trying to keep the study participant information as private as possible, I think, and I just let you look at my driver’s license, and by the way, the form says “patient’s initials” where my initials are.
“Okay, we just need your name, date of birth, your phone number, and your address.” Really? Do the words “Patient Privacy” mean anything to you? Actually, that’s only what I was thinking, it’s not what I said. I eventually gave it to them to keep the process-at-a-snail’s-pace moving.
What I said, eventually, was: “Look, I’m not going to come in here out of the blue with a forged lab slip because I like going around and getting poked in the arm all the time. No one would do that.”
Ten minutes later, the blood was drawn and I was on my way. After answering questions like “did we get your date of birth?” (Yes) and “This goes to Johns Hopkins, right?” (No, University of Virginia). Start to finish the process took about 50 minutes. And I was the only patient in the place.
I was a retail manager in a previous life, and I know this is a different setting, but let me put it this way: I never believed in the notion that “The customer is always right”. My feeling was, the customer should never be made to feel that it’s their fault if they’re wrong. If I hand you a piece of paper that doesn’t look like every other piece of paper you receive (even though it does have your company’s logo at the top), let’s work together so I can ease your fears and you can ease mine.
If we had worked together, the whole episode would have taken less time, and you and I probably would have had smiles on our faces at the end of the process. If you even care about that kind of thing. Which, maybe, you don’t.