# How to Make Customers Feel Valued

As the nurse left, she told me to get comfortable, and the doctor would be right in. I turned on the TV in the room and was watching a cooking channel (they had only two channel choices). I sat there for another 30 minutes before the doctor casually breezed in. She didn’t apologize for my wait, nor did she greet me other than to ask, “And how are you today?” The doctor then went through her normal routine of checking a few things on me that amounted to about five more minutes of interaction. She then asked me if I had any questions, and I did not, so she left the room after scribbling some notes in my folder.

As I sat there buttoning my shirt, it occurred to me that I had been there for more than an hour and a half, and had about 10 minutes of total interaction time. For illustration purposes, let’s call the interaction time with the nurse and the doctor “value-added” time and the time where I was waiting in one room or another “non-value added” time. In lean terms, this equates to a total time of 1.5 hours, and value-added time of 10 minutes. To calculate the value-added percentage, divide 10 minutes value-added time by 90 minutes non-value-added time, which comes to about 10 to 11 percent.

Well, as a customer, I don’t want to pay for 10 percent value-added time. I want to pay for 90 percent value-added time. I don’t want to wait in this room for a while and then move to that room for a while. I want to walk in and have my appointment start when it is supposed to, and I want to flow through the process from start to finish. I should have been walking out of the doctor’s office at 10:15 having completed my visit and onto my next errand or back to work. Instead, I was walking out of there at 11:30 and not feeling very good about my supplier.

If I am the customer, and I am always right, then why am I the one stuck waiting around? Why am I paying for a very expensive service and leaving there feeling completely unappreciated? More importantly, how many times will I come back to this doctor with these feelings of under-appreciation and wasted time?

I don’t want to suppose what this particular doctor’s office was dealing with, or what their thought process might be. Frankly, I don’t care. What I do care about is that my time is valued by my vendor and my patronage is appreciated on some level. I also want to feel that I am paying for real value for the goods and services for which I pay.