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How My Knee Surgery Made Me Rethink Customer Service

After a delightful Labor Day Weekend spent with friends in always-a-blast Nashville, including some lake time and an evening downtown at Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge, I decided to extend the fun by having arthroscopic knee surgery 72 hours later.


Anybody who knows me knows I seldom sit still. Not that I don’t want to from time to time but with a wife, two active kids, a business to run, an often hectic travel schedule, training for half-marathons, and the periodic escape to the golf course, it can be hard to find that sliver of “down time” in the schedule.

I’m sure many, if not most of you, can relate.

So the morning of September 8th rolled around and I was due for some “quality time” with my new buddy, Dr. Angelo DiFelice, Jr., of Resurgens Orthopaedics. I wasn’t dreading the actual scope procedure which would be handled on an outpatient basis. I was dreading the days afterward of being mostly immobilized while practicing targeted cryogenics on my left knee. (I could never be a contestant on American “Idle”.) Years of wear and tear — literally, a tear — had taken their toll.

But I knew the surgery had to be done and no time is a good time so an uncharacteristically irritated me grabbed my “Let’s get on with this” attitude and headed out the door.

Then something happened.

Upon arrival at the Resurgens location in Roswell, GA, my entire demeanor shifted. It began when I took notice of the physical environment which can rightly be described as “palatial”. The waiting room was clean and comfortable, and included snacks, beverages, WiFi, and a variety of magazines — from the current month, mind you – to keep you occupied. How often does that happen?

And the staff … wow!

The lady who greeted me and handled my check-in was warm, friendly and professional. The nurse who prepped me was great. The anesthesiologist couldn’t have been better, explaining the process of how I would be transported, on cue, to Dreamland and back. And Dr. DiFelice is, as they say, “a cut above” … pun intended.

Clearly, the culture at Resurgens is one of “people first” — making sure the patient (the person) feels comfortable, cared for, informed and valued. This was not at all what I had expected. But you can bet your bottom dollar I appreciated every moment of the experience. On a 5-star scale, it was a solid 6.

I share this story with you because it strikes me that it’s not just “the little things” that matter, it’s perhaps the tiniest of “the little things” that can be the difference between a negative and a positive customer experience. Whether you’re an orthopedic surgeon, a meeting planner, a landscaper or the dude selling brake shoes over a counter somewhere, there’s always room for human connections, those moments when you can make the other person feel special and appreciated.

Many people work in thankless jobs. What they do is important but the people they serve often dread the interaction — the plumber who shows up to fix a major leak … the dentist whom you dread only slightly less than the drill … the flight attendant who really does care that your seat belt is buckled and that you’re safe … or the accountant who has to break the news you owe the Fed more money.

Even these folks are capable of creating human connections that put forth a “people first” vibe.

No matter what you do, where you work, or whom you serve, there will always be opportunities to relate better to customers; to let them know they matter. And when you seize these “people first” opportunities and violate expectations in a pleasant and memorable way, you receive the greatest gift of all … a smile of appreciation.

Isn’t that why we all do what we do? It should be.


PS – Following my surgery, the folks at Resurgens sent me home with a snack because they knew I hadn’t eaten since 11 o’clock the night before. And they called twice on the day after my surgery to make sure I was doing well. Remember, it’s the tiniest of “the little things” that make the difference between a negative and positive customer experience. And, yes, the knee is progressing very nicely. Thanks for wondering!

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