“Excellence Wins” in Healthcare – Four Supreme Objectives

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For the next several weeks we are using the book titled, “Excellence Wins”, by Horst Schulze as a resource for Thursdays Thinking TIPs.

While having a copy of the book is certainly not needed to enjoy the next several BLOG posts, if you’d like to grab a copy to follow along, feel free to pick it up at Amazon here , or of course at your favorite book store.

Now, let’s review Chapter Three: FOUR SUPREME OBJECTIVES

“After analyzing thousands of comment cards and surveys over the years, I can tell you that 2 percent of customers simply cannot be pleased. They are clearly irrational. They want things you can’t afford.” (1) Said another way, you can NEVER please 100% of your customers! (I try to avoid using the word “never”, but in this case, it applies).

MedicalGPS is projected to gather patient feedback from more than 1,000,000 (1Mil) patients this year on behalf of our clients. Of the 1Mil patient responses approximately 1.72% will provide a rating of four (4) or less on the Recommend to Family and Friends question and 1.56% will provide a rating of four (4) or less on the Provider Rating question. Many of those very low ratings are, of course, from the same patient. Those data align with Mr. Schulze’s theory — some customers simply cannot be pleased.

Don’t Give Up or Give In

Mr. Schulze makes a very good point: Whenever a patient falls in the category of, “they simply cannot be pleased”, the patient’s demeanor does not give license for those of us in the service industry to reflect back to the patient that same bad behavior. As Mr. Schulze puts it, “…these people do not give us an excuse to stop being ladies and gentlemen.” (2)

According to Mr. Schulze, we must not get distracted and lose focus of the four supreme objectives. (3)

  1. Keep the Customer.
  2. Get new Customers.
  3. Encourage the customers to spend as much as possible! — but without sabotaging Objective Number One.
  4. In all of the above, keep working toward more and more efficiency.

Supreme objective number one: Keep the Customer. (4) Since entering into healthcare in 1994, I have never found, or even heard of a better tool than M3-Patient Experience as it relates to keeping the customer. M3’s Service Recovery/Follow-up Monitoring feature enables you and your staff the ability to immediately know if the patient’s experience went south, AND, because of the built-in real-time alerts, you or a member of your team should be able to reach out to the patient the day after the office visit, in many cases, and perform service recovery.

Important: If your organization currently subscribes to M3-Patient Experience and you or your office supervisor(s) are not currently receiving real-time M3 alerts, please let us know ASAP so that we can enable the Service Recovery/Follow-up Monitoring feature for your practice.

“If an entire organization from top to bottom is committed to keeping the customer, trying as hard as possible to understand them and meet their expectations, the results will show in a marvelous way.” (5)

Extreme Cases

In some rare cases, and it’s very rare, sometimes customers/patients have to be dismissed from the practice. In all of the cases that I’m aware of the dismissal was only carried out after much consideration by the patient’s personal physician of course, as well as clinical leadership and administrative leadership. Working through a patient dismissal should always include a comprehensive review of the circumstances. Mr. Schulze operated based on a policy that required his personal review. “I made a policy across the entire chain of fifty-some Ritz-Carlton hotels worldwide that the only person who could decide to evict a guest was me. I would not delegate that decision.” (6)

No Excuses

“We can satisfy more than 98 percent of the public if we put our minds to it. It’s simply a matter of attitude.” (7) While I agree that 98% of patients can indeed be satisfied, it’s the word “satisfied” that I would ask us to challenge. If we’re going to set our sights and goals at levels that are worthy of our hard work, let’s set an aggressive goal. Achieving a Top Box of score 95% on the Recommend to Family and Friends question just may be that perfect, aggressive goal for your organization. When 95% of your patients walk away highly-satisfied, or wowed by their office experience, it’s time to celebrate. “95% Top Box Seems too lofty”, you may say?

As of this writing MedicalGPS has 235 physician offices, (offices comprised of multiple providers — not solo practices) that are already achieving a Top Box rating of 95% or greater, based on the Recommend to Family and Friends question. So, is a 95% Top Box score easy to achieve? Obviously not. Is it doable? Absolutely! Patients that leave a “9” or “10” rating on the Recommend to Family and Friends question are more likely to have been wowed by their experience, which by far surpasses simply being satisfied.

Going the Extra Mile

“When everyone in an organization is aligned with these overarching objectives, wonderful thinks begin to happen” (8).

In this last section of chapter three Mr. Schulze talks about empowering front-line employees to take care of customers/patients when out-of-the-ordinary circumstances arise. At MedicalGPS, as part of our service improvement program, Endeavor for Excellence: Start Where the Patient Starts, we teach our clients about the importance of employee empowerment. We talk about it as giving employees permission in advance; allow them to act per – the – mission.

Give employees permission in advance of the challenging situation — which invariably is going to arise — to confidently go ahead and act according to the mission of the organization. If the employee understands the mission of the organization, AND, has the wherewithal to act within the boundaries of that mission, then supervisors, managers, and directors should congratulate those employees when they act on taking care of the customer/patient. Congratulating employees for going the extra mile will foster a culture of service excellence.

Next week we will review chapter four: THE FINE ART OF HANDLING COMPLAINTS

Please let us know if you have comments or questions, and subscribe to our Email Updates , so that you can be assured to receive Thinking Thursdays TIPs.
Thank you!

Jerry L. Stone
MedicalGPS, LLC.

Names: SCHULZE, HORST, 1939 author. | MERRILL, DEAN
Title: Excellence Wins: a no-nonsense guide to becoming the best in the world of compromise / Horst Schulze, with Dean Merrill
Description: Grand Rapids, MI : Zondervan, [2019]


(1) Page 62
(2) Page 62
(3) Page 62
(4) Page 62
(5) Page 63
(6) Page 64
(7) Page 65
(8) Pages 67 – 69

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