There I stood, in naught but a hospital johnny between my boxers and the world at large…for 45 minutes. Picture that, if you will (not the boxers mind you). Now picture one other patient and at least six medical staff walking in and out of the radiology rooms, frequently laughing or talking about the Netflix show they are currently binging.
What would you think if you were in my shoes? That they didn’t seem to care about me? They didn’t seem to have the word “hustle” in their vocabulary? Maybe you had traveled into the “upside-down” of that Netflix show? You would be entirely justified in thinking any of those things. They weren’t true, however. This is where they needed to improve customer perception.
I’ve worked with medical clients, and their biggest problem is customer service, and it can be yours as well. A typical customer complaint is that there seem to be employees, but no one seems willing to help them.
I’ll pull back the curtain a bit on this story to give you the medical staffs’ view of it. I was there to get an Arthrogram and a cortisone injection. This particular hospital requires an MD for the procedure. The MD was running behind. The clinic staff all had reports to be run, paperwork to finish, “work to do” in other words. These are legitimate, important things that need to get done, so the staff was doing it while they waited for the doctor.
Their mistake was not telling me the facts. They left me in limbo.
My perception was that I had inconveniently scheduled my MRI and Arthrogram during their social hour. The reality is that they were going about their business as usual. They were chatting and being good coworkers while they got their work done. A flaw in the medical world is that employees on the front lines NEVER see cash exchange hands. There is no connection between being helpful to customers and how that translates into their paycheck. If your business runs that way, you could face the same dilemma.
How could they have fixed this? It’s simple, really. Talk to me. Update me. Explain to me that the MD is running late and they can’t start without them. Tell me I can have a seat and maybe get me a blanket because a johnny has minimal insulative qualities.
You can change the perception of your customers by doing what Hollywood calls “breaking down the fourth wall.” Explain what is happening behind the scenes.
Here are some tips for doing this:
Do Your Job
The simplest thing is, “Do your job.” Be responsive. If you have a customer that needs something, give it to them, and give it to them quickly.
If there will be a delay, you are helping another customer, for example, greet them and tell them you will be right with them. Bonus tip: You are helping “another customer” not “a customer” because they will think, “I’m a customer, why aren’t you helping me?”
All Hands on Deck
Don’t let job roles get in the way. If you are an employee and you see a customer that needs attention or service, talk to them. Ask them what you can do to help. If you can’t help, explain why, and get someone who can. They won’t feel ignored.
Break Down the Fourth Wall
If you cannot help them because something is out of your immediate control, explain it to them. Break down that fourth wall. “I’m sorry the MD is running behind, and we will start the second that he frees up.” “I apologize for the delay; I’m brewing a fresh pot it will be right up.” Don’t leave people in limbo.
I tell people to think of your CUSTOMER as your boss. If you were busy doing work, but you looked like you weren’t and your boss walked by, what would you do? You have a report that is running, and you can’t move forward until it is complete, but you are talking to the person next to you about the latest episode or talking about your vacation, what would you so? Keep going and let your boss think you were wasting time? No. You’d get busy with something. You’d end the conversation, or you would explain to your boss what you were doing. You’d break down the fourth wall.