“Mark, it’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.”
When I was a kid, my father said that to me all the time.
It’s all about the unspoken message.
Last week, I spoke at the AICPA’s national healthcare conference. It was at The Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, a Hilton under the Waldorf Astoria brand. Here’s how they greet you:
Welcome…please be advised…we’re too lazy to actually see if you actually took that candy bar, so if you move it out of the mini bar to check to see if it’s got peanuts in it, we’ll charge you immediately…thank you.
How would you feel if you were invited to a dinner party and when the host greets you at the door he hands you the house rules?
What’s really being communicated? That the Hilton folks are lazy idiots who have no concept of customer service?
What’s really being said in your physicians’ interactions with patients, with referring physicians, and with hospital administrators?
That you really don’t care if your patients are reading a two year old magazine while they sit on their asses for 45 minutes in your waiting room. That Mrs. Smith is a number not a valued customer, so the first communication she receives from your group is a bill?
Are your group’s physicians smiling in the hospital hallway while really communicating indifference, or worse, contempt?
Sooner or later, the real message gets through. It gets through right to your group’s financial bottom line.