There are all kinds of stories of people that deal with customers on the internet daily. Some anecdotes are amusing, others are endearing and others are absolutely creepy. Since there’s something entertaining about sharing these random stories, I thought I’d share a few from a digital marketing manager’s perspective, to see if I can find any fellow colleagues out there that share my pain when it comes to managing a doctor’s digital channels and interacting with their patients-to-be.

So here it goes—three situations that happen to me more than I care to admit.

People get overly excited . . . right?

Or at least that’s what I want to believe. Every time there’s a contest of any kind, 40 percent of people do not read the instructions, at all. Why do I know this? Because I get messages from them asking to participate, to be signed up or to get the prize, because, and I quote, “they truly deserve it.” So, in my mind, they don’t read the instructions because they are jumping up and down for the chance to win something awesome, and they are so excited they write directly to the contact information. What do I normally do? Help them understand the steps they need to take and tell them, “I’d love to be you and have the opportunity to participate.” Most of the time, it works.

There’s always the one woman that tries to shop for surgical procedures like she’s buying towels.

Everyone needs to know the price of what they will buy, clearly. But dear, since you’re inquiring about a medical procedure that uses general anesthesia and has eight days of recovery or more, the doctor would like to get to know you and evaluate your health before we settle on a final cost (during a free consultation might I add). I can give you a range of prices, but please do not get mad if I or someone on my team, the kind of people that can’t even read a glucose report or take your temperature properly, can’t tell you the exact amount it will cost to have a nose job from looking at your blurry nose pics. There’s no more wisdom here; if anyone can help, I’d be indebted to you for eternity.

Most of the time, people are just trying to connect with someone.

A lot of people tell me things that I don’t need to know or would not like to know, for that matter. I’ve gotten all kinds of life and love stories with way too much information or graphic details. And while I understand people share this information with their doctors and everything they tell me is confidential, I can’t forget some of the things I’ve been told. And believe me, I’ve tried, conscientiously. While some stories are all right, there’s always someone who makes me feel like I need to re-evaluate the life choices that led me to that precise moment. My solution? I pretend they are one of my friends, read empathetically and don’t give advice under any circumstances because they never listen.

There are times when I can’t answer another single e-mail or DM, but at the end of the day, people are doing so much more than just asking a question when they reach out to us through social media, e-mail or a form. They are seeking validation, trying to rebuild their confidence. They are looking for some understanding; they are deciding what their next steps should be. And if I can’t give them a little bit of genuine attention and care, then what am I doing? After all, even from a strategic perspective, it is so worth it to connect with your customers.

And if working with doctors has taught me anything, it’s that direct contact is better than engagement, every time. Why? Because that’s where we deliver our value in a safe environment for our customers. Maybe it’s not exactly the same in every industry, but for someone looking for a better version of themselves, it is everything.

Do you have any stories you can share as well?

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