This morning, I took my mum to the hospital to get her broken leg checked out (it was already in plaster, she just wanted another opinion). Fortunately, there was no else waiting in emergency, so we took a seat, not expecting to wait long. Our seats were directly opposite the reception desk. While we waited, three staff members casually chatted to each other. And we waited. And they chatted. And we waited some more. Several other staff ambled through the waiting room. And we waited.
Now, I don’t know if any of the very un-busy staff we saw could have made our waiting time faster. Probably not. They were likely administration staff and orderlies, not the doctor we needed to see. This is about perception. Customers, in this case, patients, usually only see the front-line of an organisation. From this, they will make assumptions about the rest of the organisation. They don’t have anything else to go by. And first impressions usually last. The impression of the hospital from the emergency department waiting room was that the patients/customers were not important. I hope I was wrong.
What messages are your front-line staff sending out? Is that message consistent with the rest of the organisation? Or are your customers wrong?