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The Phone Call

By Nikki Stone
Sports Motivation
Updated: June 30, 2008
I was nervous. I was having what I considered a medical emergency. I was experiencing some sharp abdominal pain and found blood in my urine. My family doctor had recommended several specialists that I should call and after 2 hours on the phone, I found that either my insurance didn't cover the recommended doctors or that the specialists were booked out for 3 months.

Not only was I being stonewalled in every direction I looked for help, but the attitude I was receiving was nothing short of a cool brush-off. The harsh reception I received only enhanced my frantic demeanor. I found myself snapping in response to the tone on the other end of the line. By the end of the 2nd hour, I was in tears.

I always dreaded speaking to the insurance agency because, as my past accounts with them had told me, I knew I would be in store for the major run-around. Left without much of a choice, I took out my insurance card and called the 800-number on the back.

I admit that I was already seething when the insurance woman picked up on the other end of the line. I burst into a near tirade as I explained my dilemma. The woman replied with one of the kindest responses I had ever received. She told me that her name was Claudia and that she would stay on the phone with me until I was completely satisfied and comfortable with the doctor's appointment.

With a sweet, calming voice, Claudia took the time to search her data base with a list of potential doctors. After asking me which doctor I'd like to call, she offered to call the doctor for me and remain on the line to make sure that I could get an appointment and make sure there weren't any complications.

Sure enough, the receptionists had several questions on my insurance and how to send out lab tests and Claudia chimed in with all the appropriate answers. After the appointment had been made, Claudia offered me her direct line and told me to call her specifically if I had any more problems.
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The appointment, service, billing, and luckily the prognosis, all went off without a hitch. Instead of calling Claudia back, I made a call to her supervisor. I informed her superior of what an exceptional job Claudia had done. I explained how she had gone above and beyond the call of duty and made the whole experience so much easier. I also told Claudia's supervisor that I don't normally make these types of calls and if they are ever looking to hand out recognition awards, they should consider putting Claudia at the top of their list. The supervisor informed me that it wasn't the first time she had received such a call in regard to Claudia's service.

I wasn't all that surprised at how much more pleasant the doctors appointment was, but I was surprised at how much more pleasant I was. Knowing what a difference Claudia made in the rest of my day, I found myself wanting to be that person who made a difference in everyone else's day. Have you ever noticed how a mean tone on the other end of the phone can leave you bitter for the rest of the day and a warm, helpful voice can spur on a cheerier, more productive day?

Do your own experiment and see how far a smile and genuine "thanks" can go. I think you'll find that positive attitudes can be contagious. And the more you spread it, the more it comes back to you. Just ask Claudia, who, her supervisor informed me, was receiving a financial raise from the positive feedback she received.
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