Customer service lessons from the field

Customer service lessons from the field

Perhaps it’s because we’ve been conditioned by the media to talk about bad news more than we talk about good news, but it’s common knowledge that patients who receive poor service in a medical practice are far more likely to convey that fact to friends and family than are patients who receive good service. You may only occasionally be able to “wow” patients to the point that they go out and sing your praises, but there are steps you can take to consistently deliver service at a level that ensures no one is out in the community speaking negatively about your office. Here we’d like to offer a few “lessons from the field” that demonstrate what non-healthcare related organizations do to provide good service to their customers.

If you go into a Starbucks anywhere in the world, you can expect consistency. The employees are all trained to the same high standards, and they deliver good coffee and good service, usually with a smile and a positive attitude. What can your practice learn from Starbucks about providing consistently good service?

When you call internet service provider GoDaddy for technical support, you’re very quickly connected with a real person who is extremely patient. Whether your problem is related to your domain name, an e-mail account, or service renewal, a tech support team member at GoDaddy will spend as much time as necessary to resolve the issue. You know they’re busy, but they come across as though they have all the time in the world – just for you. What can your practice learn about spending enough time with patients so that they feel well cared for?

Walk into your local Walmart store and you’re almost sure to be acknowledged by a “greeter,” often an older person whose primary job is to make you feel welcome and answer any immediate questions you have upon arriving at the store. What can your practice learn from Walmart about making patients feel welcome when they walk through the door of your office?

Home Depot stores are huge, but somehow they seem to have plenty of staff walking around in orange aprons who are knowledgeable about home improvement. Not every person can answer every question, but if you ask someone in plumbing about an item you need over in the electrical department, more often than not they’ll escort you over to the right aisle, rather than just telling you where to go. When you get to electrical, if the individual there can’t answer your questions, they’ll find someone who can. What can your practice learn from Home Depot about having staff that is well-versed and helpful?

Buying shoes is always fun, but buying them from Zappos is both fun and efficient. Place an order and shortly you’ll receive an upbeat, friendly e-mail letting you know that your order has been received and when your shoes will be shipped for free (returns are free and easy, too). The company often ships using a priority service, at no cost to the customer. This level of service, combined with their unique company culture , makes doing business with Zappos a real pleasure. What can your practice learn from Zappos about providing memorable service?

These examples are all from big name, national or international companies. You’ve probably had extraordinary service experiences in small “mom and pop” retailers or services in your town. Spend a few minutes at your next staff meeting talking about the last time you had a “wow” customer service experience, and how you might apply it in your practice.