I love reading reviews on Amazon, the 4 & 5 stars tell me something but the 1 star reviews sometimes make me fear for the survival of the human species, “couldn’t get the lid off, “arrived without batteries”, etc. I often wonder where the gap between expectations and reality started as they are so far apart and how there can be such diverse opinions on the same things.
The coffee shop on the ground floor of the House of Fraser store in Princes Street, Edinburgh is a regular stop for a pot of green tea. During a recent visit I was forced to think about why so many of us are happy to give feedback either via Trip Adviser, Amazon, Goodreads, or the dreadful NHS “Friends & Family” or less formally, but more usefully, by sharing opinions with friends, family, colleagues and so on and how much use that feedback really is.
The one thing that we rarely do is to make our case directly with the person, business or system with which we have dealt. That may well be due to our reluctance to face up to another human being and deliver both positive and negative feedback, and to both commend and recommend. More likely is that very few of us welcome feedback, interpreting it as direct criticism, nor do we have systems in our business where we encourage direct, honest but non-confrontational, sharing of how someone’s experience was for them.
In most face to face professional situations – especially dentistry – we ought to be able feel how the experience is for someone so that it can modified and dealt with as you are progressing so that the right support can be given. Whilst that is true, or sadly, not true for clinicians are our support staff wired in the same way, are they taught to seek and expect responses? Do we take the time to fine tune their antennae? Do we select for empathy or efficiency? Or both? Or as I all too often find, neither?