Tag Archives: business

Damage Control in Business: A VW Scandal Update

sorry heart

VW Says “We’re Sorry” With Gift Package Valued at Over $1000.

Business is part of life, and with that comes ups and downs.  At the end of the day, we are all human beings and by nature, imperfect and make mistakes.  In business, a simple mistake or poor decision can affect hundreds, thousands or potentially millions of people.  Minimizing damage control can be an extremely difficult undertaking, especially if you or your company was unable to proactively prevent the transmission of and correct the mistake or poor decision to employees, clients or even worse, the media.

A perfect example of this is the VW Recall, later known as the “VW Scandal”.  The former CEO of VW Martin Winterkorn, had approved the decision to install software on over 480,000 “clean” diesel vehicles in the US between 2009-2015. This software only activated the cars’ pollution controls during emissions testing (while on a hoist) which prompted a world-wide recall of nearly 11 million vehicles. This was obviously a fraudulent means to pass the rigorous EPA standards in the US and will end up costing VW up to $18 billion.

Unfortunately for the sales force at VW, they had no idea this was happening behind the scenes until they literally heard it on the news before they came in to work that day.  For the full story of the immediate impact on the sales force, read my interview with Aaron Hansen, Sales Manager at Cambridge Volkswagen, “How Poor CEO Decisions Impact Sales Reps: The VW Recall”.

VWGiftCard

So now, 4 months later in an attempt to say “We are sorry”, VW has provided all affected TDI owners such as myself with a compensation package.  This includes a $500 credit at a VW dealership, a $500 MasterCard gift cart and 3 years of free road side assistance. Furthermore, the recall on my vehicle will be fixed at no charge or inconvenience to me.

As a loyal VW owner, I think this more than compensates for any wrong doings on their part.  As I have mentioned previously, I never bought my car so that I could drink water out of my tail pipe.  I bought my Passat TDI for comfort, safety and fuel economy among other reasons.

Do I accept VW’s apology?

I most certainly do.  And I must say, the timing couldn’t be better, being just after Christmas and before Valentine’s day.

Will I remain a loyal VW/Audi customer?

Absolutely.

Overall, although VW should have given their sales force a head’s up about all the negative press they were going to receive in the media and prepare them with how to handle customer inquiries and complaints, they made up for it after the fact.

In speaking with the reps at my local VW dealership, sales are back to normal.

Just goes to show that regardless of the severity of the “damage” a business succumbs to or has brought onto themselves, it is possible to recover with the implementation an aggressive damage control program.

If your business is in a similar situation, you should consult a PR expert and ideally one who specializes in your field of work.

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0

The Handwritten Note in Sales and Business: A Lost Art

Handrwitten CardYear after year, each Holiday Season less and less people are mailing out Holiday Cards.

Why? Because it’s so much easier and cheaper to just send a Holiday Greetings email or to post a Holiday Greetings picture on your website or email signature.  Sure you can send a Holiday Greeting email blast out to hundreds of clients and track who opened the email but is that really effective? What is your return on that investment?

I personally find those sorts of impersonal messages totally meaningless.  All it says is that the sender is too lazy or cheap to spend the minute or two to actually write a note in a card. I may spend 1 or 2 seconds to look at the email and think, “oh, ok” and promptly delete the email without further thought.  After receiving many of these in addition to the dozens of other emails I receive on a daily basis, it is likely that I have completely forgotten who even sent me that email greeting within a few days.

In today’s modern society it is all too easy to send a text or an email. Even if we need to “write” a formal letter, that letter is typed, never written.  The closest thing that most of us do to handwriting is signing a document or receipt. I bet most people these days don’t even remember how to do cursive handwriting! Try it!

A step-up from the impersonal mass email greeting are greeting cards that are pre-printed to include a personalized message (you can only have one of course) and your signature so it “looks” like you signed it.  This is a bit better than an email but I’d still toss that card right into the trash.

That being said, if you are in sales or run any sort of business it speaks volumes to your clients if you actually send them a card with a handwritten note.  Sure it is a total pain in the butt and is time consuming but it shows that you care about your client as an individual and are willing to put the effort into expressing your appreciation.  It is a small gesture but it can go a long way.

Furthermore, since nobody seems to actually write greeting cards anymore, you may be the only one to give your client a hand written gift card which will make you stand out in their mind.

If you have hundreds of clients, sure writing out personalized greeting cards to every single one of them is not an effective use of your time, however as a rule of thumb, you should send out personalized cards to your top 20% accounts or at minimum or your top 10% in addition to prospects which have the potential to be in your top 20%.

Not sure what to write?

Here are some tips on how to write a simple and effective note in a greeting card:

  1. Address the receiver by name (i.e. Dear John)
  2. Include your general message: If sending multiple cards, write up 2 or 3 different versions of this message so you aren’t sending everyone the exact same statement. Keep the statement brief (i.e. 1-2 sentences)
  3. Write a brief personal statement . This can be something that only applies to this particular client. It can be a reference to a joke between the two of you or something as simple as thanking them for the specific number of years they have been your client.
  4. Sign your card

A personal touch can go a long way.  Remind your clients this Holiday Season that they aren’t simply a number to you or your company but rather a valued client who you can relate to as a person. In spite of how technologically advanced our society has become, people still like to buy from actual human beings and put a face to the company they are dealing with.

So this Holiday Season, If you haven’t sent out your greeting cards just yet, there is still plenty of time to do so! But if you missed the boat this year, try to plan on doing it for next year.  In the meantime, it is also a great idea to send a hand written thank you note to a new client or one who has recently made a large purchase.

Happy writing my friends!

Cheers,

TSW

 

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0

The Rumor Mill: How to Grind it to a Halt Before it Hurts Your Business

broken windmillWhether you are self-employed, in upper management or on the road as a sales rep, the last thing you probably want to hear is a rumor about your business, especially one that has the potential to negatively affect you and your company.

Most of the time, my clients will come to me directly when they first hear a rumor, be it good or bad.  Other times when for instance, I am on a sales call, if seemingly out of nowhere, my client starts to bombard me with questions about our industry and my company’s integrity, I know something serious may be going on.  If I have travelled from clinic to clinic to face the exact same questions over and over again, then I know for certain that I must investigate the matter further.  This typically happens when I’m trailing the route of a competing sales representative and for the most part, that is part of normal healthy competition.   However, sometimes that is not the case at all. It may very well be the beginning of a PR nightmare.

Rumors are a dime a dozen in my industry and I often feel that in any aspect in life, the more successful you are, the more prone you are to attack.

As some of you may be aware, I work for a small business. Although the bulk of my job is in a sales capacity, I am also responsible for all of the marketing, business development and public relations management for the company. This means that as soon as I catch wind of a potentially negative rumor that could affect my company and ultimately my sales, that I need to take that saleswoman hat off, and put my PR hat on.  I have to get down to the nitty gritty of it all and devise a plan to sort out all of the facts and relay the correct information to my clients ASAP before the rumor mill gets out of control.

I have to admit that public relations and “damage control” is the most challenging part of my job.  The reason being is that I take a lot of pride in my work and the company that I work for and I just can’t stand false accusations, especially when I have to take time away from selling to deal with them. I’ve been with my current employer for so long because of the ethical and upstanding way that the company does business and that is a huge reason for the company’s success.  Since its fruition, I have spent several years building and nurturing the business, so when false and threatening rumors start to mill about, I feel like I want to lash out like a Momma bear protecting her cub from a pack of wolves.

Angry-Bear-Grizzly

…But that wouldn’t be professional, so I digress.

In this article, I will discuss the different types of rumors, why they start and how to stop them from getting out of control and hurting your business.

Note: If you are a sales representative for a corporation and do not have decision making authority, I strongly recommend that you do NOT take matters into your own hands, but rather gather all of the facts you can and immediately report them to your sales manager. Only act under direction of your supervisor otherwise it may cost you your job.

INDIRECT RUMORS:

extraextraphoto

These rumors although not directly related your company, may have trickle-down effects that can affect your business. I have broken them down into two categories: Industry Related and Mistaken Identity

 

 

Industry Related

These rumors come about when a leading company within a specific industry has acted in a manner which has subsequently caused them or a particular product to receive negative publicity.  If such acts have caught the attention of national or even international media, this may instill fear in the consumer who does not use the company in question but does conduct business in the same industry. 

For example, several years ago one scientific study published results which claimed that people who supplemented with Vitamin E had higher mortality rates than those who did not.  Even though this study was very poorly done and was not conclusive, the media blew it out of proportion and broadcasted that “Vitamin E Kills”.  My father, who owns a nutrition store, saw a huge decrease in his Vitamin E sales as a result even though it had nothing to do with his business or a certain brand of product that he sold.

Unfortunately, in these cases the business owner or sales rep ends up on the defense, having to defend the legitimacy of the product or service they are selling.  In business, the best practice to overcome these random and potentially harmful rumors is to be proactive. Ensure that you are routinely keeping up with current events in your industry and regularly educating your clients so that they will trust and value your opinion rather than succumb to the latest gossip.

Mistaken Identity

These rumors most often involve a direct competitor and can be quite a nightmare to straighten out.  For instance, let’s say in a niche industry where you may have two main competitors who may even have very similar company names (i.e. ABC Corporation and ACME Corporation), if one of those companies were to be exposed for having done something illegal or unethical, the other companies may be “guilty by association”.  In these cases, clients may easily confuse which company is “the bad guy” sort-to-speak or just be reluctant to use any of those companies out of fear that they may all be conducting business in the same manner.

If this happens to your business, the best thing to do is to get in front of your customers either face-to-face or by means of intense advertising to remind them of your business and what sets you apart from your competition. Remind them of your excellent quality, service or whatever it may be. Keep your head up, keep it positive and act like you are unaffected.  Playing your cards right in this situation may end up increasing your sales, especially if you can take some of that business from your competition.

 

2. DIRECT RUMORS (Targeted)

Target

This is an unethical, malicious attack conducted by an individual or an organization intended to harm a business.  It is also illegal and violates many codes of professional practice.  Although these types of rumors are rare, they do happen. I have seen this behavior in sales representatives, business professionals, and even some companies who do this in a desperate attempt to “win” back their market share.  If you have ever considered doing this, don’t! The egg will wind up on your face.

I hate dealing with these cases because it is such an absolute waste of everybody’s time. If you fall victim to this childish behavior, just laugh it off and clarify the facts.  If you have a solid relationship with your clients, they will believe you.  If the accusation is a serious potential threat to your business, then you will need to devise a solid PR strategy and may need to obtain legal advice.

If you are faced with any of these types of rumors or perhaps one I haven’t mentioned, follow these general steps to stop the rumor mill before it gets out of control:

  1. Qualify the Rumor: Is it a legitimate threat to your business? If not, just laugh it off. If it could be, proceed to step 2
  2. Find The Facts: In speaking with the person who brought the rumor to your attention (and no one else), ask the 5W’S: WHO,WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY. Document everything in detail. Do NOT provide your opinion or commentary prematurely as that could further harm your business.

Some examples of questions to ask could be:

WHO did they hear it from? Was it first hand? Or second hand? Make note of any names in case someone may be guilty of slander. Knowing how far off from the source your client heard the rumor could give you valuable insight into how far it has already spread and how much damage could have potentially been done.

WHAT exactly did they hear? Be as specific as possible. Was it something that was covered in the media recently? Was someone in particular saying bad things about you or your company?  Or is your client just worried about something in general?

WHERE did they hear this? Were they amongst other clients of yours?

WHEN did they hear it? If it was a long, long time ago, it likely isn’t relevant anymore. If it was recently, how recently? Rumors spread very quickly, so if you are the first person they talked to about it, you have a good chance at grinding that rumor mill to a halt before it gets going.

WHY did someone say the things they did? Did the person sharing these rumors with your client share them out of concern or ill intent?

  1. Decide on the Most Appropriate Medium(s) to Present the Facts:  This will depend on your specific type of business.  Will you create a press release? Or target specific clients? Will you discuss it face-to-face? Or simply via a letter or email?
  1. Bombard Your Clients with The Facts: You can use one type of media or several. Regardless, make sure that your clients are crystal clear about the situation at hand.
  1. Consult a Lawyer if Necessary. If you are dealing with an individual or corporation who may be slandering you or your company, you should obtain legal advice.

I hope that none of you have to deal with these types of scenarios in business, but if you do, I hope you keep this article as a handy reference and find these tips helpful in grinding that rumor mill to a halt!

Happy sales my friends and remember to keep your head up and be professional!

Cheers,

 

TSW

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0

Love and Romance en Route

The Unique Challenges Frequent Travellers and Their Loved Ones Face When Dating and Maintaining Long Term Relationships

A businessman flirting with his PA on a flight

In Hollywood films, business travellers are often portrayed as living extravagant lifestyles where they are away from home 90-99% of the time and enjoying exciting adventures, often which involve infidelity.

Of course what happens in the movies is not truly representative of what happens in real life.  However the stereotypes of the business traveller that Hollywood has created for us, can on occasion, cause trouble for us frequent travellers in our real life relationships.  In particular, for those of us who are romantically involved with people who do not travel frequently for work.

In reality, most frequent travellers are not away from home 90% of the time.  It’s more likely to be along the lines of between 30-70%.  What Hollywood films typically don’t show you is that you really spend the bulk of your time in transit, meeting with customers and working on reports in hotel rooms.  As such, most of the people you are interacting with are either your customers, people in the service industry and other travellers who are also on the move.   The lifestyle is transient.  You go wherever your work takes you and never stay anywhere or with anyone too long.  When you do engage with others, those interactions are most often brief and superficial.  That being said,  although you may be meeting a lot of people, most of them will not be dating material.  Especially your clients! Don’t ever make the mistake of getting romantically involved with your clients. Need a refresher on why this is a bad idea? Read my previous blog post “How to Handle Clients Who Want More Than What You’re Selling

So let’s say you’ve met someone special, now what?

If your career involves a significant amount of travel and you are romantically involved with someone, whether you realize it or not, you are in some form of a long distance relationship (LDR). After all, if you and your significant other are away from each other more than 30% of the time, does it really matter if you live in the same house, same city, are a short-haul flight away, or even live in the same time zone?

This frequent flyer lifestyle poses a unique challenge to not only dating but also maintaining long term relationships, and not everyone is cut out for it.

My longest relationships have been either long distance or with salesmen. What do these have in common? That travel is a fundamental, non-negotiable element of the relationship.

Setting Ground Rules For Communication

When you are in a relationship where one person is travelling a lot for work or if you are in a LDR, it is all the more essential that you communicate openly and effectively about everything. Setting aside even a small amount of time each day at a mutually convenient time for you to touch base, can be immensely helpful in solidifying your relationship, even if it is just to say briefly how your day was and remind your partner that you are thinking of them. Making sure you are on the same page about the amount of communication you will have is also key.  For example, if you are busy travelling and in and out of meetings all day, your parter should be aware of this and not be calling you 10 times a day to ask you what colour you think the living room should be painted, or to give you updates on the weather back home. Setting ground rules and maintaining proper communication is essential to building and maintaining trust in your relationship. In my experience, this is often difficult for both individuals, but more so for the one staying at home.

Hollywood films have done us business travellers no justice in this department, portraying us as such a promiscuous bunch.  In reality, this is so untrue.  The travelling, the meetings, the reports… all of it is time consuming and exhausting. If you are in a relationship with someone you love and are committed to them, you won’t stray but rather look forward to returning home to their warm embrace.  But yes, certainly there are people out there who do cheat and in most cases they do so because of problems in their relationship, not because of their choice in careers.  Overcoming this stigma is not an easy task and hence why I typically date men who also have careers which require them to travel because they ‘get it’.

Dating the Non-Traveller:

Many people who do not travel for work may initially be “OK” with their significant other travelling often, but after a while, their tolerance dissipates and the relationship can break down. I’ve heard things such as, Why can’t I come with you?” or Can’t you just cancel your business trip or come home early to be with me?”.

I mean, I’m sure it would be a blast for my partner to sit and rot in my car all day long with nowhere to go while I’m in and out of sales calls and all, but really???  Just like it would be so awesome for us to not be able to go on that vacation because I won’t be making that commission on that deal I could have made on that business trip I cancelled, right???

But the problem is, if you say these things to your partner, it may come across as being cold, uncaring and make it seem as though you don’t want to spend time with them.  That can create insecurity, suspicion and jealousy. Trust me, that is not a fun path to travel down!

The Long Distance Relationship (LDR):

Contrary to popular belief, true LDR’s aren’t so bad. I realize this may sound bizarre, but I find it easier to go to the airport once or twice a month to have a romantic weekend with a significant other than I do to drive to a nearby city several times a week. The reason being is that this way when we are together, I can devote 100% to my significant other which won’t be interrupted by work and other day to day distractions and when we are apart,  I get all of the “me time” I need and I can give my 100% at work.

The only major setback to LDR’s is that if things get serious, which they ultimately will if things go well, is that at some point, one of you will have to make the move.  That move may involve one of you quitting your job if you are unable to relocate with your current company.  I seriously considered doing this once, but for various reasons, I  decided that in the long term, that this would have been a very poor decision.

Overall, there are a significant number of challenges facing travelling businessmen and women when it comes to dating and maintaining long term relationships.  It takes a lot of work to “go the distance” sort to speak.  In reading this, I hope that I didn’t disappoint too many of you who were hoping to read the 50 Shades version of Up in the Air- Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but it’s not all Hollywood cracks it up to be.

I would love to hear from other travelling business professionals about the challenges you face or have faced in developing and maintaining romantic relationships.

In the meantime, safe travels fellow travelling salesmen and women.

Bon Voyage!

 

TSW

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0

Why B2B Sales is Really B2B2C: A Two Phase Sales Process

“Sell a man a product, and you’ve made a sale.  Teach a man how to sell your product to his customer and you have a business partner.”-TSW 

Man Holding Childs Hand

In my industry, which is the medical field, I often come across clients who have purchased products that they simply do not use (not mine of course!).  When I ask them about it, I get responses ranging from “Oh, I forgot about that!” to “Yeah, that machine cost me $100,000 and I can’t figure out how to use it.”

What a terrible position to be in!

So, how did they get there?

Surely, they must have thought that those products were wonderful at the time of purchase so what happened afterwards?

The problem is that all too often in Business to Business (B2B) sales, a representative sells a product or service to a business and then they move on to the next customer.  Sure, the representative has done his or her job of completing the B2B transaction, but just that alone.  When the rep stops here, they have ended the sales process prematurely.   You might argue, “But they made the sale?” And yes, you are correct, but only that.

By leaving the business to fend for themselves to figure out how to complete the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) sale and if that business does not have the knowledge and tools they require to sell that product to the consumer, the representative has failed.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Well that’s not my problem! I have a quota to make and I don’t get paid to be a hand holder”.  Well actually you do, or rather you should. At absolute minimum, offer your assistance post-sale, otherwise you might as well be selling snake oil.

If you want continued business and a good reputation, you’d better be sure that your client is capable of relaying the features and benefits of your product or service to their customer.  Otherwise, that fancy piece of equipment or innovative new product will simply just sit on their shelf collecting dust and one day you’ll receive a phone call from them inquiring about your return policy.

Of course, not all clients are created equal and certainly not all of them require hand holding.  However, when you are making the sale, keep in mind that after the sale you should always do some sort of follow up, the degree of which will vary depending on your client.  For this reason, I believe that making a business to business sale, is a two phase process as follows:

Phase 1: B2B Sale

“Sell a Man a Product and You Have a Sale.”

This is the traditional sales process as everyone knows it.  Prospect, qualify, ask for the order and close the deal.  I will not elaborate on this phase in this article.

Phase 2: Imparting the Knowledge for the B2C Sale

“Teach a Man How to Sell Your Product to His Customer and You Have a Business Partner.”

After you make the sale, both you and your client are excited; You about making the sale and your client about receiving that fabulous new product.

You, the sales rep mistakenly assumes that your client remembers your entire sales pitch and is just as eager and capable as you to impart this knowledge onto their customer.

Before you get too carried away with excitement, consider the following:

  • Your client is a business owner or decision maker, not a sales representative
  • Time may elapse between when the sale is made and when the customer receives their product. It’s only human nature to forget. After all, we aren’t all information sponges!
  • The reasons WHY your client bought the product- Did they have an existing need or did you create a need for them? Will that “need” dissipate after you walk out the door?

What should you do to avoid buyer’s remorse?

Two words: FOLLOW UP!

  1. At the Time of the Sale: Even though you should know the answer, ASK your client how they plan on selling your product to their customer or rather how they will incorporate your product into their business model. This will give you an opportunity to listen to their version of your sales pitch.  What did they pick up on? What was most important to them? What did they forget?  Make sure to fill in all the gaps before you walk out that door and ensure that they know how to get in touch with you or your company’s customer service department should they require further assistance.
  1. When the Order is Received: Whether you personally deliver the product or if it was delivered by a courier, touch base with your client to ensure that the product was received in proper condition and ask them if they have any questions. If the product is complicated, they and their staff may require training not only on the use of the product itself, but also what they should say to their customer when recommending the product.
  1. Two to Four Weeks Post Delivery: Touch base with your client. I would recommend a follow up visit to make sure that your client has all of the information and tools they require. Some team members may need additional assistance or training. Or perhaps they may have lost or gained a key staff member who requires training.  Your client may  also have many additional questions about the product as they use it or simply need a refresher.  If all is going well, they might even be in a position to reorder or want to discuss what other products you might happen to have in your portfolio which is all the more reason for you to be there.
  1. Regular Visit: Back to the Sales Cycle: If you customer was pleased with their buying process, they will want to see you again and continue to do business with you.  They may even want to act as a referral!

If you want to maintain a successful career in sales, you never want to make your customer feel sold and abandoned.  It is your job as a sales rep not only to sell your product but to work with your customer in a mutually beneficial working relationship where both of you grow your business together.

Never forget to follow up!

Happy Sales!

TSW

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0

Canadian Healthcare: “Free” but Certainly Not Consistent

Canada Map

When you travel as much as I do, it is pretty much inevitable that at some point, you will succumb to illness.  Regardless of how much effort I put into eating healthy, working out, washing or sanitizing my hands at every opportunity I get while I’m on the road, I occasionally get sick and require medical treatment.

Since my territory is the entire country of Canada, I often get sick while away from home and therefore am unable to see my family doctor.  Over the years, I have noticed a significant variance in the healthcare treatment we have in Canada, in particular the difference between provinces.

For my American readers, in Canada we have provinces (not providences) which are equivalent to individual states.  Most of you are aware that in Canada,  our healthcare is “free” and covered by our government.  I say “free” in quotations because we do pay for it in the form of taxes which are automatically deducted from our income.  The most common misconception about our healthcare system here in Canada is that all Canadians have full and equal access to all healthcare professionals.  In my travels, I have discovered that this is clearly not the case.

Fortunately, I have not required medical treatment in all of the provinces, however I would like share a combination of my personal experiences and those of my associates in this post to illustrate the gross inequality of our healthcare system.

Below I have ranked the provinces in terms of the quality of healthcare they provide and the average wait times for a “walk-in” to see a doctor.  Note that I have only listed provinces for which I have had direct experience in or have heard feedback on.  I cannot comment on the others.

Best: BRITISH COLUMBIA “We sincerely apologize for the wait.”

Approximate wait time to see a doctor: <1 hour

To date, I have sought treatment in this province 4 times and I have never spent more than 1 hour in total from checking in to walking out with a prescription as a walk-in from out of province.  Two times I had eye infections and the others I was sick and required antibiotics.  Every time, yes 4/4 times, the nurse or receptionist apologized to me saying “We are so sorry that you have to wait to see a doctor! I promise it won’t be much longer.” This is unheard of in my home province of Ontario.

NEW BRUNSWICK “Well come on in and I’ll wrangle up a doctor for ya!”

Approximate wait time to see a doctor: <1h hour

This province is one of the most sparsely populated provinces in Canada which might explain the exceptional treatment that I have seen.  My friend had completely severed his biceps tendon while trying to push a car out of the snow.  We walked into the hospital emergency department, spoke with a triage nurse in less than 15 minutes, were in to see a general physician within 30 minutes and an orthopedic surgeon within an hour.  If I recall correctly, I think the triage nurse said something to the effect that “Relax, take a seat and I’ll wrangle up a doctor for ya!  I think you’ll end up seeing Dr. Y. who is here today and he did a great job on me and lots of my coworkers.” Maritimers are an exceptionally friendly bunch.  At the 2 hour point, my friend was having an MRI and he was out the door with a sling and a promise for a call back with the results by the day’s end.  By the end of the day, he had a surgery date scheduled for less than two weeks later.  This is completely unheard of anywhere else in Canada.

ONTARIO “Know where to go for appropriate care or wait and rot.”

Approximate wait time to see a doctor: 2-4 hours

Ontario is the most populated province in Canada..  In order to receive the appropriate care, you must know where to go.  We have a service called TeleHealth Ontario which is a toll free number that anyone can call and speak to a nurse and they will advise you as to whether or not you should see your family doctor,  go to a walk-in clinic, the emergency department or to call 911.  Generally speaking, Ontario is quite good for healthcare if you go to the appropriate place for your particular ailment.  If you have a legitimate emergency and go to the hospital, you will be seen immediately and receive excellent care.  If you have a non-urgent condition, you can expect to wait approximately 2-6 hours (depending on the condition) to receive treatment.  You may have to wait but, you will receive excellent medical care.  Going back to my friends’ experience with getting an MRI in New Brunswick; I was particularly impressed with the speediness of his diagnostics because when I had a bad concussion and was experiencing olfactory hallucinations (smelling things that are not there), I saw my family doctor and had to wait 8 months for a CT scan.  I thought that was completely unacceptable.  Needless to say, by then my brain had healed, or at least I’d like to think so.

SASKATCHEWAN “You’re close enough to a nurse.”

Approximate wait time to see a doctor: 3-6 hours, or maybe never!

Fortunately, I have never required medical treatment in this province.  Although I do not have any direct experience here, one of my clients told me this story.  She had to take her mother into the hospital for an impacted colon.  Her mother had a history of bowel problems and had prior surgery so she was well aware of what symptoms would qualify her condition as an emergency.  At the hospital, the intake nurse decided that this was not an emergency or a typical non-urgent condition, which meant that she was in some sort of grey area where she was not going to see a doctor, period.  My client was with her mother at the time and made a big fuss over this, as anyone in their right mind should do.  Ultimately, the nurse decided that since my client was a veterinary technician, that she was “close enough to being a nurse”, so she gave my client medications and verbal instructions on what to do if her mother’s condition worsens.  None of the medications were labelled nor were any written instructions provided.  This is something I would expect from a third world country! Fortunately, the impaction passed and she did not require further treatment.

The Worst: QUEBEC “You’re better off going back to Ontario or go to the US.”   

Approximate wait time to see a doctor: 36-72 hours

Yes, it gets worse!  Quebec is by far the worst province in Canada to receive healthcare.  On one trip, I had a very severe bacterial infection in my chest and in required antibiotics ASAP so that I didn’t develop pneumonia.  In the late evening when my condition worsened, I called around including the emergency department and they informed me that my best bet was to simply show up at a walk-in clinic at 7am when they opened and I might be able to see a doctor in the next day or two.  So, that’s exactly what I did.  When I showed up at 7am the walk-in clinic was fully booked for the next 2 days! Is it just me or do they have some deluded idea of what a walk-in clinic is??? They told me that I could either show up at another clinic tomorrow morning to book an appointment, or go to the emergency department and wait a guaranteed 36 hours minimum! I lividly told the nurses, “I could be dead of pneumonia by then!!” and then they told me, “You’re better off going back to Ontario or go to the US”.  So, I cancelled the rest of my business trip and drove home to Ontario where I saw a doctor right away and got the medication I needed.  Sometimes you just have to do things like that.  If you don’t have your health, there isn’t much you can do in life.  Know your priorities.

Ironically, Quebecers pay the highest income taxes in Canada.

I would love to hear from you about your experiences with healthcare.  In particular, to my fellow Canadians, I am interested in hearing your experiences with our healthcare system in each province.  I would also like to hear from my American readers about your experience with the promptness of healthcare in the USA and if it varies by state.

Travel Safe and Keep Healthy fellow Travellers.

Cheers,

 

TSW

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0