That's what I get when I try to call my local doctor these days. Now, I love my doctor because she doesn't think I'm weird and doesn't make sweeping statements like, "You're going to die if you get Pneumonia," but getting just a tiny bit of information out of the clinic is a process that sucks. First I call, and I tell them what's wrong and ask if I need an appointment for that. They tell me that they don't know, but that they will have an RN call me back and let me know. The RN calls back, under an UNKNOWN number (Who doesn't check the # on their caller ID these days? I hate telemarketers, so I don't answer that nonsense!), leaves me a message with no information except her name, which she rushes through so that I can't actually hear what it was, and tells me to call her back. I call the number she leaves, no more than 5 minutes after missing the call, and end up at a call center where they don't know me from Adam, they don't know who I'm looking for, and they don't know what my original call was about, and the hold, transfer, hold transfer, hold process takes about 25 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. What I'm sure they did know was how annoyed I was with the whole insane process of trying to get to talk to someone who can tell me whether or not I should bother a doctor!
I don't hate the people at the call center. The dude I hate is the one who came up with this asinine plan and thought it worked as functioning customer service. As a customer, I don't expect that I'm your only person to talk to. I don't expect that you have nothing better to do than dote on me and my issue. However, I expect that you respect my time at least as much as you respect your own, and you don't lead me on a wild goose chase through phone-ville hell!
How often does it take more than one phone call for your residents to reach the person they need to? If you find yourself playing phone tag with your residents, remember that their irritation with the service grows exponentially each and every time they have to call you back for the same issue, and it grows faster than that if you don't know what they're talking about. Just like being transfered from department to department, residents also don't fancy having to deal with multiple people on the same issue, so if you catch the problem, own it and fix it, and make sure you stay with it, even if you have to involve the manger, until the problem is resolved.
Do you have a resident issue follow up calender? This can be so easy to integrate into Outlook. Choose a color of importance and when you know there is a resident with an issue, set yourself up with a reminder (and including a description of the issue HELPS here...) that will pop up and remind you to make that call today. There are few things that annoy people more than when they feel their opinion or time are not valued by those around them. At home, we should always feel valued, don't you think?
And remember, according to an article from 2007 that I found on the Courier Mail, people spend, no, make that WASTE 60 million HOURS each and every year on hold. 60 Million! Don't tell a customer you'll be right back, unless you're really going to be right back. Otherwise, respect their time enough to get their number and call them back when you say you will, because they really don't need to hear the Muzak and sales pitch for the community while you find their file.