healthcare | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

“You’re the Boss” - 2/20/24


Terrence is excellent at what he does.  From a technical standpoint, he knows how to keep the facility clean.  He’s the lead custodian, and he knows that keeping things straight does not necessarily mean keeping things sanitary.  He knows what chemicals to use and not to use, how to Read more

Customer Understanding Leads to Relationship Growth - 2/13/24


We’ve worked with educational organizations at all grade levels over the years.  One special and unique characteristic about the staff who work in these organizations is that there’s a clear intent to know about the students as individuals, to focus on them rather than purely focusing on what’s delivered Read more

Define Customer Service Success Differently - 2/6/24


When I’m watching television, listening to the radio, or listening to a podcast, it’s always interesting when the topic moves to the question:  How can you be a success?  The speakers often discuss the process of becoming a success with the assumption that people believe success is defined by Read more

Care Enough to Give Them a Heads Up - 1/30/24


Nothing bad at all might happen.  Every day in the office could seem like every other day.  Sights and sounds and smells might continue to be the same.  But we have a lot of construction going on around our offices, and the building manager knows the type of work Read more

Be Better than AI Customer Service - 1/23/24


There was a recent CBS Sunday Morning Show story called: How artificial intelligence is revamping customer call centers. The journalist described how artificial intelligence is being used in customer service, and he noted the millions of pieces of information that can be processed in a matter of seconds. There are clear Read more

Recognize the Situation, and Pivot - 1/16/24


The customer has a complaint, or they may have an important question about an order or their account.  You may be talking to them in an emergency room, in the lobby of the government building, on the phone, or in a video conversation.  And in many of these Moments Read more

Sharpen Your Service Delivery - 1/9/24


You work so hard at being responsive and providing high quality information.  You work hard at fixing problems.  But is your delivery…dull? I’m not saying that it has to be exciting, but let’s think of the word “exciting.”  It means that something’s interesting, has energy, is positive.  Just by its Read more

Make Empathy Your Superpower - 1/2/24


I was facilitating a Service Excellence Training class for a Higher Ed client in the Northeast several years back.  As I was walking through the portions of our technique for defusing the angry customer, I talked about empathy.  I talked about accepting responsibility. Immediately, one of the hands in the Read more

Holiday Poem 2023 - 12/26/23


The days are getting longer, The skies are getting brighter. Festivities behind us, And festivities before us.   There’s ups and downs and change coming, And we can’t predict when or where. There’s challenges and joys and opportunities around, Of which you may or may not be aware.   But one thing we know as we look at each Read more

Refresh, Rejuvenate, Refocus - 12/19/23


It’s that time of year.  We’re going 100 miles an hour, and holiday time is upon us.  We not only have all the work to do, but we somehow have less time to do it.  We somehow have other things that are of competing interest, and even though those Read more

Recognize the Situation, and Pivot – 1/16/24

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

The customer has a complaint, or they may have an important question about an order or their account.  You may be talking to them in an emergency room, in the lobby of the government building, on the phone, or in a video conversation.  And in many of these Moments of Truth, there is a high likelihood of the customer’s perceptions being affected based on how you handle the situation.

This is a Moment of Truth because of the topic, or the situation itself.  The Topic could be the complaint, the question about an order or an account, an encounter with a new customer, or engagement with somebody who’s upset.  The Situation could be a stressful emergency room visit, an encounter with a government agency, a wait time at the restaurant, or the arrival of the tech at the house 60 minutes after the scheduled time.

During these Moments of Truth, the employees have some control over the interaction. While it’s up to the customer to create their perception about the organization or the employee, this is where the employee needs to understand the critical nature of the topic, the critical nature of the situation.

Recognize the Critical Nature

The best employees in customer service recognize the critical nature of these situations and become agile. They have the ability to pivot – to flex their attitudes and actions in the moment.

The best can stop all other activities and focus on that individual.  They can downshift, pulling their emotions back to keep the situation calm.  They understand the frustration with wait times, and proactively communicate with the customer to decrease the perception of the wait and reduce the angst and anger.  Staff have empathy for the customer and convey understanding of the situation back to that customer.  The best staff have patience, speak with a specific intent for how to best communicate with that particular individual, and work through these situations with and for the customer.  They recognize and pivot.

Identify the critical Topics and Situations that you encounter.  Get in-tune with these situations, recognize when these critical moments are happening, and adjust your behaviors and words to deliver a great experience.

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Customer Service Lessons from the E.R. – 11/7/23

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

Every industry is interesting in its own way, and healthcare is definitely no exception.  We’ve done many different types of studies and projects in the emergency rooms at hospitals, and it’s interesting to look back at some of the results of focus groups we conducted with the E.R. patients.

We asked about their experience, everything from the admission through triage, care they received all the way through the discharge and billing.  For this Tip of the Week, so that it applies to everyone reading, let’s focus on some of the ways that patients evaluated employees:

Talk On My Level: When the staff and physicians would speak with the patients “on their level” and were not condescending, that was greatly appreciated.  Patients liked when a nurse talked with a child in terms they could understand and in an appropriate manner, or they spoke more slowly and clearly with a senior.

Don’t Judge Me: Patients were concerned about being judged by the staff – where patients were unsure if they truly needed emergency care or they didn’t want to be perceived as being there unnecessarily.  When staff conveyed that patients were there for a reason (they made a good decision to go to the E.R.), that was positive.  With one participant, a physician directly doubted/argued the need for the patient to be in the E.R., and this left a highly negative impression.

Convey You Care: Staff and physicians were generally perceived positively if they conveyed they cared about the patient.  The way patients felt that the personnel cared was when service was quick, personnel asked questions, patients weren’t rushed, and the staff and physicians showed empathy.

Think about these takeaways when considering how your customers view you. Do you speak in a way appropriate for that particular customer, making communications clear but not condescending?  Do you avoid judging the other person and arguing about their request?  Do you try to provide service quickly, ask questions, avoid rushing the other person, and convey a little empathy?

If so, they’ll likely appreciate you more.  They’ll feel respected, and are much more likely to respect you, in turn.

Talk on the customer’s level, avoid judging, and convey you care.

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Be There ALWAYS for the Customer – 8/29/23

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

In healthcare, the patient experience mantras often include the phrase Always, such as: We have an always culture.  This gets at frequency of action.  Instead of service excellence being a most-of-the-time occurrence, some-of-the-time occurrence, an occasional or rare occurrence, the idea in an Always Culture is that the organization is highly consistent in its attitudes, behaviors, and actions toward and for the customer.

Therefore, this focus on Always is essentially a focus on consistency.  Organizations that talk about Always are typically addressing specific behaviors or actions that are documented, expected, trained, and rewarded.

As an example from one of our clients, they try to always be Caring.  This means they always treat others with dignity; they are always courteous; they are always trying to be helpful.

They’re always Committed to the organization, viewing their facility and their work as something to take pride in, something to care for so that the professional image is exhibited in their locations and in all they do.

They try to always convey Teamwork, where they respect and appreciate the contributions of co-workers.  And they understand their co-workers to be the organization’s greatest asset.

Finally, they always strive to operate with Integrity – this means maintaining confidentiality. They’re always honest, they strive to be ethical in their decision-making. They are accountable for their actions and their inactions.

So, what is something that you should work on, and by “work on” we mean: What is one important aspect of customer service where you could be more consistent?  With what aspects of your attitudes and actions can you get to Always?

See where your customer service lacks consistency, and strive for Always.

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