CUSTOMER CARE Q55:60, Q99.07

Assalaam alaikum, dear readers and Juma’a mubarak! I hope you all are fasting this beautiful day of Ashura 😉 Here is today’s post, without further ado:

image credit: web.stemiliescps.wa.edu.au

image credit: web.stemiliescps.wa.edu.au


A man was receiving, from the doctor, the unfortunate news that his mum has just passed on when he observed someone mocking him. Two other doctors stood within the vicinity and laughed at a private joke but the distressed man was positive they were mocking his tragedy. He promptly went up to them and delivered a slap on the face of the male doctor in the duo.

I was a house officer doing my internship at the teaching hospital at the time and when the news got to us that one of us had been assaulted, we were stupefied! This was a well-mannered young man, a gentleman; he could not have been guilty of such callousness (and he was not). We wondered aloud what his seniors did to the patient’s relative in the doctor’s defence. The next day, we were ordered to down our tools and proceed on a demonstration. You see, the incident was being swept under the carpet because the assaulter was a relative of our Chief Medical Director. The man was confident his action was justified and nothing would come out of assaulting a doctor.


There are a great many people in these times of ours with this arrogance today. This attitude of entitlement and sheer rudeness has cost many employees their jobs. Yes, the ‘Customer is always right’ but that does not give us the right to treat people like dirt. The converse is also true.

In the teaching hospital, and like many government-owned hospitals in Nigeria, to say workload is immensely overwhelming is putting it mildly. Government hospitals are way cheaper than the private hospitals and also boast of professionals in more fields of specialty than the latter. As you can imagine, most of the staff are incredibly rude to the huge volume of patients they encounter. We often get away with this because the patients are often from low socioeconomic groups and poorly informed and unable to demand better service. Woe betide you if you DARE to demand better from the overworked nurses! You would regret that decision with every fibre of your being.

When I concluded my housemanship and left the teaching hospital, I had to learn to be more courteous with patients and their relatives. Empathy ans compassion came along the way when I realised how unfortunate people were and some simply could not afford healthcare. Unfortunately, we tended to mirror the seemingly arrogant attitude of our stressed superiors in the bigger hospitals.
inspire
As I began to look toward becoming self-employed, I paid better attention to the customer care providers and worked better on my approach both as a customer and a care-giver. It is incredibly selfish to take only your view as the most important. Everyone is fighting his battle, has his own problems and is trying to make it through a tough day without our unnecessary drama. Most significantly, when we don the robes of self-entitlement, we should remember that someone’s job and future may be on the line. We should channel that energy for destructive drama into improving the day of fellow humans.

Please, make an effort to be nicer to that waiter, salesperson, janitor, bus driver, house maid, subordinate from today. Ask them about their day and give small tokens of appreciation, if you can. If we need to address their (perceived) ineptitude, we should make an effort to cut them some slack and address the issue with maturity and firmness.

And if you are providing the service, make an effort to be nice to your customers (because this benefits your enterprise) and your subordinates, as well. We should defend them when the need arises instead of throwing them under the bus for the customer’s sake.

Spread a little kindness and brighten someone’s day today. Remember that we are all in this together and ‘what goes around, comes around’.

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IN THEIR SHOES Q53.42-48

Have you ever attempted to console someone and have them respond hotly, ‘No, you don’t!’ to your ‘I understand’? The thing is they are absolutely right and you know it.

You may have lost your dad at an early age but you still don’t know how she feels losing her dad; you were close to your dad, she wasn’t. You may have had an easy pregnancy but that doesn’t make her pregnancy symptoms less real. You may have lost your job and taken it in good faith but don’t think you know what he’s going through now that he has lost his because he doesn’t have your entrepreneurial skills. The truth is you only have an idea of people’s emotions. You do not know for sure. Humans are very forgetful. We think we know how it is but actually, we’ve forgotten. it is one of the reasons married couples are told not to bring third parties into their problems unless absolutely necessary.

image credit: chamber-queen.blogspot.com

image credit: chamber-queen.blogspot.com


We do not have access to the shoes the individual is presently wearing to be able to tell exactly where it pinches. Even if we do, our feet are different from theirs and we may not feel the pinch or we may even be unable to take a step in the said shoes. All we can and should do is to walk their journey with them, even if for a short distance. Accompany them on their journey and listen to them; most times, they will be grateful for the companionship.

The mistake we make is we often try to talk instead. We try to tell them we know exactly what they are going through but we really don’t. Besides, they may be unwilling to accept advice then.

Empathise instead. Occasionally, we can insert necessary reminders into the conversation. When they are ready to seek a solution, they will. If they are incapable of seeking help, only then should you intervene. Everyone is different. Let them be. At least, for now.

May Allah help us all during trying moments.

GETTING INVOLVED Q3.154, Q64.11-3

As we live, we learn. We lost a patient today.

Sometimes, we keep our distance from people so we do not get bothered or hurt; so they can’t reach us within our shell. We call it ‘professional distance’. We are told to empathize not sympathise but sometimes, we don’t, nay, can’t obey. Sometimes, we wear our hearts on our sleeves and get so involved such that when they eat, we get filled; they drink and our thirst is quenched; they die and a part of us shrivels up. We grieve for them like they are family.
open grave
Other times, our affinity and commitment implodes in our faces. Either way, everyone says, ‘I told you so’. Such situations eventually cause us to harden, develop shells we withdraw into or just go out there to keep getting hurt.

In spite of these setbacks, we should not avoid volunteering, giving care, or helping the cause of Islam. It doesn’t have to be in a hospital, it could be in the mosque, at PTA meetings, in the office. We should keep trying to attain a state of equilibrium, balance and keep seeking Allah’s Favour. Such experiences make us more wholesome because at the end of our journey on earth, our lives must have mattered to someone.

And to medics reading this, the benefits (of saving lives) far outweigh the demerits. It’s not our call to extend life. Allah simply uses us to achieve His Will. We are not to rely on our strengths as the ultimate for we can only do so much. Our trust should be in Allah. We should do our best and leave the rest to Him.

To the rest of us, put yourself out there and serve people for Islam.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raajiun “Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return.”