Create a Common Definition of Customer Service - 9/15/20

Peter, Paul, and Marie are co-workers. They are all customer service representatives.  When Peter thinks of good customer service, he defines it as being friendly to the customer. “And I am friendly,” Peter says.  “That’s why I don’t know why they send me to customer service training.” Paul thinks customer Read more

COVID-19 Demand Management Strategies for Customer Service Channels

We all want demand for our products or services.  This helps us to generate revenue and to provide something of value to our customers and communities.  But customer demand does not strictly relate to products and services.  Demand also relates to communications, information, issue resolution, education, and other aspects Read more

Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance? - 9/8/20

This is a quote by Edgar Bergen.  He’s one of the most famous ventriloquists of all time, but I guess he wasn’t necessarily one of the hardest workers of all time.  By sharing this quote, I am not supporting the idea that we shouldn’t work hard…or am I? We only Read more

Reach Out More for COVID-19 Customer Retention

Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic became a reality for individuals, their communities, and their countries, it became clear that people were going to be hurting…that lives were going to be changing…that the realities of the past were going to be very different from the current and near-term future realities. When Read more

Using I, We, or You in Customer Service - 9/1/20

It’s amazing how many conversations can go horribly wrong or incredibly right, not because of the use of a 4-letter word, but simply because of the use of a 1, 2, or 3-letter word – I, We, You. The incorrect use of I, We, You in conversations causes problems more Read more

Get Your Guru On - 8/25/20

You may have heard of management gurus - these people who seemed to know all and be all, to have the wisdom of 1000 leaders.  Maybe you’ve heard it in your industry as a guru in sports psychology or the master of economics or sociology or human behavior. And so Read more

Whether You Believe You Can Do a Thing or Not, You Are Right - 8/18/20

This is a famous Henry Ford quote, and the quote is all about self-belief, all about confidence. We’ve often spoken about the need to be confident and how to gain confidence, because that confidence - or the lack thereof - is imparted on the customer. But how does a customer tell Read more

Grind it out Today for a Better Tomorrow - 8/11/20

It’s been said that You Learn Perseverance by Persevering.  You are becoming mentally tougher right now.  The pain and the difficulties and the change today are making you stronger for dealing with the uncertainties of tomorrow. We’re all having to be more flexible.  We are all facing less consistency, less Read more

Increase Research for Improved Customer Relations During COVID-19

What makes a relationship? Many actions can make or break a relationship, but all solid relationships require at least two things: Communication and Caring. And customer relationships are no different in this respect. No Communication = No Connection If we don’t have some frequency of dialogue with the customer, then we Read more

Never Before… - 8/4/20

The importance of customer service is at the forefront again in our economy.  We noticed this clearly in the early 2000s when the country’s economy struggled, and we noticed it again during the Great Recession several years later.  Today, with yet another set of unexpected and extreme economic challenges, Read more

Now That You’re On Time, Please Wait – 7/9/13 TOW

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

Ellie went to her eye doctor to get her cataracts checked. Are they bad enough to get the procedure? That was her question – she wanted the cataract surgery so she could see better, but every year her physician said they were not quite bad enough.

After checking in, Ellie went to the waiting room and noticed a new automated board that tracked physician delays. Apparently, the office had added these “scheduling status monitors” within the past month in order to set appropriate expectations with patients about wait times. The theory was to best manage expectations and communicate via monitors with the patients. This ensures patients won’t be upset at delays, and they won’t constantly interrupt receptionists asking for updates.

When Ellie found her physician on the monitor, she noticed that her doctor was running about 90 minutes behind by that point in the day. And while it was good that the monitor gave her a realistic expectation of the delay, Ellie was frustrated. Why? Isn’t this one of the core concepts behind great customer service – that you constantly have to reset customer expectations to match reality?

To Ellie, this definitely wasn’t an example of great customer service – or even good customer service. From her perspective, if the office knew that they were 90 minutes behind, why didn’t they call her to tell her so that she could arrive later? Why couldn’t they use their information so the customer could rest a little longer, run an errand or two on the way, get more work done, or avoid having to leave home in the middle of a thunderstorm?

In other words, why couldn’t they use the information to reduce the patient’s wait time and make it more convenient for the patient?

Maybe the office’s response would be “if we tell them they can come in later, they won’t be here if we get back on schedule.” That may be true periodically, but it’s not the right answer in most situations.

If we can’t serve clients earlier, there are still opportunities to reduce their waits.

If we expect clients to be on time, do whatever is necessary to deliver with minimal wait time.


Ask (the patient) and Ye Shall Receive (the answer)

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Does this sound like your business?

If we implement Program ABC, all our customers will be happy! If we launch Initiative DEF, our retention will soar! If we execute Super Idea XYZ, we’ll have raving fans!

These concepts are often initiated by business people who are very smart; the problem is that they think they’re so smart that they know what the customer wants; unfortunately, they didn’t do the most important thing – ask they customer what they want.

The FierceHealthcare article Patient care makeovers improve quality outcomes notes what hospitals are beginning to do differently to improve patient satisfaction. The article states that “These efforts include creating senior-level positions to lead patient experience initiatives; a “sacred moment” checklist that calls for staff to discuss patients’ hopes and concerns about their stay while gathering key information; shadowing patients and families at every step in the episode of care to find areas for improvement; and discussions with patients at admission about patient safety, including good hand-hygiene practices and medication administration.”

It also states that Twin Rivers hospital “took several steps to fix patient satisfaction, the most important being the ‘sacred moment checklist,’ according to amednews. The moment patients arrive in their inpatient rooms healthcare staff go over key questions and provide essential safety information. Nurses ask about their pain and dietary and spiritual needs.”

There are two key points amidst all these “sacred moment” concepts. First, ask the patient what they expect. Second, deliver on expectations. The hospitals are not improving patient satisfaction with some grand marketing campaign (although they obviously branded this initiative).

Instead, they are simply asking what each individual patient expects, getting that answer, and addressing that expectation.

Don’t over think patient satisfaction. Ask, and Ye Shall Receive.

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Patient Satisfaction Issues? They’ve Got Your Back

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Patient care is a huge driver of patient satisfaction in any healthcare business. The patient and family want you to alleviate their pain, address their malady, and fix their broken bones.

But what also drives patient satisfaction is what surrounds the patient care. It’s the person, the process, the facility, and communications. In the article 6 Ways Spine Surgery Centers Can Increase Patient Satisfaction, many of these types of factors are addressed. Here are their 6 key recommendations with our interpretations:

  • Communicate with patients throughout the process – Manage perceptions during those wait times; help to relieve anxiety through communication.
  • Pick the right support staff – It’s easier to train on a skill than on an attitude; make sure employees with great attitudes, organizational skills, and communication skills are the ones that are customer-facing.
  • Cater to caregivers – Realize the link between employee satisfaction and the experience those employees provide to their customers.
  • Follow up – Confirm satisfaction, identify issues, and expedite issue resolution.
  • Take feedback seriously – Use the feedback not just to address that one situation, but also use it to implement permanent solutions to recurring issues.
  • Only work with likeminded third parties – Realize that partners’ performance reflects on you; partner with those that share your customer service philosophy.

To satisfy the patient, create strategies that go well beyond the patient care.

Interested in improving your patient satisfaction? Check out: