When the computer says no…

Last Tuesday evening I was delivering lectures in Newcastle, and due to get a 7.25am plane back to Bristol the next morning. When I turned up at the airport at 6.20am, I discovered that I needed photo ID to be allowed on the plane. Only a passport or a driver’s license would do – and I didn’t have either.

I tried my best to convince the airport staff that I wasn’t a threat to security, and I showed them our website with my photograph, but unfortunately there was absolutely no flexibility. I had to get the train instead, so I wasn’t back until 1pm. I had to cancel appointments and I was so frustrated!

It’s that kind of blanket ban style of operation that we’ve always tried to avoid here at our practice. Our philosophy is to work with people, around their problems and requirements, rather than forcing them to fit into our timetable. We want to avoid those situations where ‘the computer says no’ and there’s simply no flexibility or willingness to accommodate the customer’s needs.

For me, that’s basic customer service. I’m lecturing all day in Swansea on Friday, but I’m returning by 4.30pm for patients who need work done. Last Sunday morning I came out for an urgent appointment. I don’t mind putting myself out in order to put my patients first. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the way it should be.