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What Healthcare Providers Could Learn About Customer Service From My 18-Year Old Kid

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

by Steve Smith, Healthcare Success Senior Consultant

Headshot of Steve Smith from Healthcare Success

Steve Smith, Healthcare Success

My 18-year-old son is a freshman in college. For the past four years he has held a part-time job at a local hardware store. Some days he is a cashier, but most days he helps customers on the sales floor. And in the past he has been mystery shopped by a service hired by the store and has received a perfect score of 100 each time.

In a recent essay on communication for a college class, this brand new adult already knows the keys to good customer service – universal axioms that apply to most every healthcare provider setting as well:

IRATE PATIENTS: “If you have an irate customer, you have to be able to remain calm and assure the customer that everything is going to be OK and that you’ll take care of whatever is wrong.”

PERSONAL CONNECTION: “To truly help a customer, you have to get involved in their project or dilemma to make sure you get them the best product or service.”

GENUINE CONCERN: “To be a truly empathetic person, you have to be able to place yourself in the shoes of the person you’re trying to communicate with. People enjoy an empathetic person who understands them.”

Now I know your situation is a lot more complex than a simple hardware store. And I understand that many of your employees do not have the youthful exuberance of an 18-year old. (Some may be downright jaded.)

But each day in your facility, you must battle two very tough enemies – serious threats to the long-term health of your business known as “indifference” and “complacency.”

So I recommend you take an honest look at the three axioms above and rate your organization. If everything is terrific…great.

But if there are problems, I recommend moving improved customer service off the "should" list and onto the "must" list. There are many books on the subject, and if the situation warrants, consider outsourcing for the expertise. (We can help if you like.)

Remember, it’s difficult for patients to evaluate the quality of care. But they CAN evaluate how they are treated. So take a step back and re-look at the axioms that intuitively make sense to an 18-year old kid, and consider how your organization rates.

And if you’d like to talk about an outside resource to get you started, give us a call at 800-656-0907. Or click through here for more information about customer service and effective medical practice marketing on our website.

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