Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I spent Saturday waiting.  During the week, our neatly tied together package of television, phone and internet service simply stopped.  The cheery voice over my cell assured me someone would be out between 8:00 and noon to fix the problem.  I was given a case number at least as long as a nuclear launch code.

On Saturday, I got up early just to be “ready.”  I waited.   I could do this.  Several hours in, the repair tech arrived, poked around a bit and announced that the problem was with the line.  “No problem,” he announced.  “The line tech will be out by 3:36.”  I am serious about the 3:36.  He proudly displayed this on his iPad.

Around 7 hours into my forced house detention, I ran out of things to do.  I began to wonder if in this age of instant news, rapid delivery and enhanced customer experiences, I had lost the ability to wait.  I have a colleague whose mission is to change the patient experience. One small piece of this is the elimination of the Waiting Room.  To him, this common piece of real estate is symptomatic of a wide range of problems in healthcare.

I am pretty sure my Saturday wait was symptomatic of a wide range of problems in the home cable business.

What I came to wonder later was what was the “waiting” impact within my own business.  More and more of us are in the service sector.  We carry our smart phones in order to be accessible 24/7.  But are we responsive?  Do we truly know what others think is reasonable in terms of response time?

  • When was the last time you asked if you met the client’s time expectation?
  • What, if any, waiting metrics do you have for yourself or your business?
  • When was the last time you let someone know he or she did not meet your standard for timely response?

Time is the most precious thing we have.  I hope not to waste any of my own … or that of those I work with.