Customer service: It's basic


A couple of weeks ago, I cruised the Burger King drive through to get a small diet coke.

"I'll have a small diet coke, please," said I.

"We no longer have small," came the disembodied mechanical voice. "We have basic, medium and large."

"Well, then I guess I'll take basic (dimwit!!!!)," said I.

Honestly. Is this employee that rigid or corporate that he couldn't simply give me the basic size without getting all flustered? The first rule of customer service: Give the customer what they want (within reason).

Or, as my now former Borders boss used to say: Make it work.

In this era of tough competition and tougher reimbursement, it will become increasingly important for HME providers to set themselves apart however they can, what some industry watchers are describing as "intangibles." In fact, I just signed up a new Smart Talk columnist who will be discussing (starting in December) not only how to identify those intangibles, but to make them work for you as well.

Are your employees trained to make it work? Or, perhaps the better question to ask yourselves: Are they empowered to make it work? Can they think outside the box and offer great customer service or out-of-the-box solutions to customers? Or do they just ask: "What's your insurance?"

It's food for thought.

By the way, basic apparently stands for extra small (see also petite, tiny and micro).

Theresa Flaherty



You know I never liked how Starbucks uses tall, grande, etc. I'd love to know the marketing people behind these decisions.