I walked in about 10-15 minutes early. The receptionist did not greet me. Instead, she was on her mobile phone laughing up a storm. I waited. It gave me time to notice that the reception area was dirty. The receptionist finally ended her call and asked, “Do you know who you are here to see?”
I took a pause before I responded. I asked myself, “Did she really just ask me that?” She then turned from me and started dialing her mobile phone again. That was enough… “Excuse me (she looked up with a fast jerk, so much so I thought her neck might snap) please let Ms. Jill ______ know that her 2 o’clock appointment has arrived? Thank you.”
She sized me up one more time before she spoke. “Do you have an appointment with Jilly?”
I stayed cool. “I just announced that I am here to see Ms. Jill _______ at 2pm, so yes – I have an appointment. I am quite sure that you are busy (I glanced at her mobile phone for a second), but can you check if she’s available to see me now? My name is H. Luiz _______…I’m a little early.”
Now she begins frantically checking her computer monitor for my name. She then said, “I’ll tell Ms. Jill _______ that you are here.”
I said, “Thank you very much. I really appreciate that.”
Another person arrived. I soon realized she’s not here for the interview. She’s a client of the firm. “Hi, my name is Lisa_____. I’m here to see my attorney,” she states.
The receptionist looked up from her magazine, “She’s busy with another client (turned a page or two.) Do you have an appointment?”
The woman responded, “Yes. The appointment is for now – 2 o’clock. This is my lunch hour and I have to get back to work uptown.”
Just then, Ms. Jill_____, (my interviewer and obviously this woman’s attorney) showed up to the receptionist’s office area and walked another client out. So this new woman, the 2 o’clock client, hurriedly said hello but before she can walk towards the door to gain entry – she was stopped cold.
“Wait a minute,” the attorney said, “I have not eaten all day, so I need about 20 minutes to go out and grab something, if you don’t mind. Then, I have an interview at 2pm so you’ll have to wait.” The attorney looked at me and smiled, “Are you my 2 o’clock?”
“I don’t believe I am. Thank you anyway,” and I walked out.
If this is how clients (and others) are treated by the receptionist and the attorney at this particular firm, then I sure as hell did not want to be any part of it. Bad customer service can be corrected, but when it comes from the top (partners/lawyers), it usually indicates (and dictates) the “culture” of that firm.
Where was the respect for this particular client’s time? Where was the respect for my time? Couldn’t the receptionist show some hospitality or at the very least, courtesy to the “guests” of this firm? Do we care that the lawyer and/or the receptionist mis-managed the day’s schedule and so we would be made to wait while she went out to grab something to eat? Why was the reception area in such disarray? Didn’t they see (or at least care) that the little trash can was spilling over with garbage and that newspapers & magazine were thrown (literally) in a corner?
WHERE IS THE COMMON COURTESY AND RESPECT FOR PEOPLE’S TIME??