True story: The patient has a terminal illness. She arrived at the metropolitan hospital on time for an appointment with her radiation oncologist and was sitting in the waiting room when the doctor emerged with another patient, walking him to the door to say goodbye.
From behind the desk, the receptionist said, “Dr. Smith (not his real name), I’ll bring Mrs. Jones (not her real name, either) back for you in just a moment.”
“No need,” said Dr. Smith, “I’m here so I’ll just bring her back.”
That small move shocked the receptionist and surprised the patient. It also provided Mrs. Jones with a story to tell over the next few weeks, one that spread positive word of mouth for the hospital to dozens of people in the area.
All because one physician decided to take ten seconds to do the sensible thing instead of the protocol thing.
Great customer service is not magic. It doesn’t require a program or a policy. All it requires is:
1) A clearly articulated set of values
2) Examples set daily by leadership
3) Acknowledgement of a job well done (reinforcement of good behavior)
Thanks largely to social media, society is becoming less concealed, more open and personal. Curiously, though, one of the most personal and important parts of our lives – our healthcare – sometimes bucks the trend by treating patients as files, not as people.