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YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE!

Peter Glen, author of "It's Not My Department!: How to Get the Service You Want, Exactly the Way You Want It," offers the following tips for getting good service:

Getting Your Doctor to See You on Time: "You go to your doctor and you say, 'Dr. Fox, I am the customer and I hate waiting. You always make me wait. How can we solve this? I can be your first patient of the day. . . . I will calculate the average amount of time that you make me wait and I will always come that many minutes late to my appointment, or I will charge you for my waiting time.'

"If that doesn't work, tell the doctor that you are going to change doctors, and ask him how much he values your business. He may tell you that he has a waiting list a mile long. Then you must decide if it's important enough to change doctors."

Getting a Refund: "When you go to a store to get a refund, or when you have to call an insurance company because you think your bills are all wrong, prepare for battle. . . . Arm yourself with everything: correspondence, receipts, even tape recordings if you've got them. If you prepare as if you were going to defend your life to a jury, with facts, passion and determination, you might cut your waiting time in half. Let them know the faster and more efficiently they do it, the sooner it will be over."

Getting Instant Service: "Just go into a store, and when you find that you can't get help, just stand there and scream the word (help) as loud as you can. You will see people come running who haven't moved in years. . . . Screaming 'help' at the top of your lungs . . . confronts the situation, calls a halt to routine and starts alarms ringing everywhere. You get attention, suddenly and completely. . . . They will sing to you, if that's what you want, or anything else you want, as long as you don't do that again."

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