Last week we completed the review of the book titled, “Excellence Wins”, by Horst Schulze, founding president and COO of Ritz-Carlton.
While researching this week’s topic I was captured by a Forbes article named, The Hospitality Truths That Will Deliver Better Patient Experiences In Health Care, by Shane Green, Forbes Councils Member. With that, I have titled this week’s Thinking Thursdays TIPS:
IT PAYS TO BE HOSPITABLE: IN HEALTHCARE AND IN LIFE
“We’ve learned in health care that while there is a lot of focus and investment in service training and improving patient satisfaction, many organizations in that vertical fail to adhere to some of the most important hospitality axioms, or truths, when it comes to their culture and patient care. Here are four hospitality truths that health care organizations must remember when committing to improving their patients’ experience.” (1)
Having spent 15 years in the airline business before entering healthcare in 1994, and now having spent another 24 plus years in healthcare, I can attest that the four truths Mr. Green mentions are as important today as they have ever been.
Let’s take them one at a time.
Truth 1: Guest experience is defined by what is remembered, not necessarily what was encountered.
Truth 2: Employees define those critical moments.
Truth 3: A great guest experience comes from a great employee experience.
Truth 4: Leadership is the single biggest driver of a great employee experience. (2)
Truth 1: Guest experience is defined by what is remembered, not necessarily what was encountered. (3)
In the Forbes article Mr. Green quotes behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman as follows.
“Each person perceives reality from two different, sometimes competing perspectives — the experiencing self and the remembering self. The experiencing self is present at every touchpoint throughout the customer journey, but the remembering self takes inventory of the emotional significance of each experience and ultimately decides which memories to keep.”
So true and so interesting. As we interact with one another at work, in play, or just in doing life together, whenever our emotions are touched, it is at that moment our memory banks are stamped and we store that encounter away as having “emotional significance”. Most of us don’t realize what’s happening, but it happens nonetheless.
The takeaway? Train your support staff to use all of the interpersonal skills necessary to make the patient’s experience as memorable as possible. As part of MedicalGPS’ service improvement program, Endeavor for Excellence: Start Where the Patient Starts, we spend a great deal of time and effort making sure front-line team members understand how to use, and put into practice, the use of hospitable interpersonal skills that meet or exceed their organization’s Standards of Behavior that truly make a difference.
Truth 2: Employees define those critical moments. (4)
Employees that interact with your patients have the potential to create memorable moments — good and bad — that make up important aspects of the patient’s experience. It’s been said by many, “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.”
I just Googled that exact phrase, “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.” The Richard Branson quote below was returned as the #1 listing on the first page of the Google search.
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients. ― Richard Branson
Truth 3: A great guest experience comes from a great employee experience. (5)
Much like there are key touch points of the patient’s experience, there are also key touch points of the employee’s experience that have equal or even greater impact on the organization’s success.
It starts with employee orientation and continues throughout the employee’s entire time with the company. If you are in a position of leadership, know that investing in your employees WILL make the difference.
The article makes a point to mention, “Some health care organizations that we’ve worked with are building better employee experiences by addressing what really matters to their employees, like reducing school debt, ensuring appropriate time off, promoting wellness and providing amenities that save employees time.”
Truth 4: Leadership is the single biggest driver of a great employee experience. (6)
Effective leadership, not management is the key. Leaders inspire, managers manage. Does your organization use employee feedback to help assess leadership effectiveness? Are your organization’s leaders held accountable to lead using the core values of the company? If so, how often and what happens afterwards? All good questions that must be part of a successful organization’s overall success strategy.
“Only a life lived to the service of others is worth living.”
CEO of SGEi, Culture Hacker and Commentator on all things Corporate Culture. “Company values aren’t just some philosophical BS.”