Customer Experience

I was waiting at the pharmacy in the government hospital for my medication. My number was 4103, the current number was 4075, There was a sign stating that the average waiting time was 60 minutes. I took a quick timer and noticed that the number moved up on average almost 2 minutes. So for 33 numbers x  2 min = 66 minutes… Good thing I brought a book. Half through the wait, I realized that this waiting period is not much different from a customer waiting for his order in a restaurant, or a buyer waiting for his delivery.

First thought I had was what a company could (or should) do was that it should make their process efficient, to make it as fast or as cheap as possible. I stared through the window and wondered how the pharmacy staff could do it faster. Interestingly, I couldn’t. They seemed to be moving around, not dilly dallying, not using mobile phones or any distractions. They were doing what they can, as humanly as possible. My wife mentioned though that they may just be taking so much time trying to figure out what the doctors wrote on their prescriptions. :p

Then I remembered a Tedtalk on a box-packing company, that dealt with thousands of orders a day. On how they used robotics to streamline the system. I’m sure that they used other technologies like barcodes or RFID’s. How fast would that be if that was applied to the pharmacy. Where I noticed there were 30 people served perhour x 9 hours = 270 people per day! and that’s just for that one clinic, there are other clinics around Brunei.

But then I wondered, how much would it cost the government to upgrade their systems to be implemented. How much would it cost for companies to make their efficiency? would it be worth the cost? How fast would it make it anyway? How fast would make it cost effective. Fast food restaurants have this down pat. Food that may take 15 minutes, can be had for less than 5 minutes. Then I realize that sometimes a good product will take its time. That there will be a limit to how fast we can make or serve something, human or technological.

Then I remembered a Tedtalk from an Advertising man where he mentioned instead of spending millions to speed up a train, the company can spend 100 of thousands on entertainment, and the customers would probably even want the train to slow down.

We can either increase the speed or the quality of service or both. But it depends on the purpose or the intention. The point of business is to serve the customer, to fulfill their needs. If they need speed, we serve them with speed, but if they need value, provide them with value.


Update 28 March 2017

recently i had an accident that require me to go to the hospital, twice this year. the waiting time is still there. but what has change to my surprise is that now they have Coffee Bean! they also have introduced other facilities. waiting time is the same, but customer experience have elevated! Well Done MOH!


2 Responses

  1. Sometime in March 2017. I went to have my 6 monthly check up at my area clinic.I have spoken with the pharmacy staff in there whether i could place my medical card and have my medications ready while I was queuing for my appointment with the doctor on the other part fo the clinic. She said I couldn’t because the procedure was to see the doctor then wait for the medication. She was not happy with me and she was raising her voice. I said it was my 6 monthly checks and by BRUHIM we could lessen the queuing time (instead of waiting for an hour or more) or in that case double waiting i.e. waiting to see the doctor then again queuing for the meds/tablets after the doctor define or retain our medications. And normally the doctor would retain for me the same figures and similar medications too.

    My discussion are as follows :
    1. BRUHIM was created to attain our particulars and history in medical may it be in RIPAS or any clinics in Brunei where BRUHIM exists and store the data in the system. I remember it costed few millions to get it fix and also sorted/maintained. By having these infos like in my case, it was Hypertension tablets, diabetes, and also cholesterols tablet with the same doses every 3 monthly checks. They could actually prepare them while me queuing for the doctor rather than preparing them after the appointment. Can this be done or it is again the the rules of seeing a doctor? I mean I am a regular 6 monthly now.

    2. BRUHIM can actually tell what medicines are for each individual/patient listed, at a touch of a button. therefore it could be improvised or designed so as to prompt when is the next appointment and relay it to the person’s handphone via SMS.

    3. Doctors keyed in the doses and any changes to their observations/ diagnosis when the patient is seeing them. Can we make BRUHIM trigger the pharmacy instantly to the changes so that it would cut the queuing time.

    I am not trying to teach the staff at that point i was just suggesting maybe I could get away with only 30 mins on an appointment /medical check up rather than ‘a few hours’ in the clinic sitting and waiting. It just before lunch that i got my medicine though I came first thing in the morning.

    • physiotherapy at ripas has a slightly different MO. They do have an appointment set, but if you are late, even a minute, you will be resheduled. but the waiting time is very short.

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