Customer Service Manage Your Practice

Same Company. Two Different Experiences. One Big Failure.

November 21, 2011

I recently read that taken together, the value of all airline shares from the beginning of the industry to date would be a net loss.  Is anyone surprised?

On two recent connecting flights on the same airline, the customer experience was so wildly different that you’d think they were not only different companies, but on different planets.

The first plane was shabby, with a torn seat and service to match.

When the woman across the aisle asked for a ginger ale, the flight attendant retuned with a tray of drinks, and stopped in front of her.  “Is this ginger ale,” the passenger asked.  In response, the flight attendant scowled, “well, that’s what it looks like to me,” when a simple “yes,” would suffice and a simpler “yes, ma’am” would have thrilled.

The second plane is spotless and the service is excellent.  But what do I remember?  The bitchy employee on flight number one, and she wasn’t even talking to me; I just had to bear overhearing it.

You should have guessed by now that I’m not writing this for airline executives — I’m writing this for medical group leaders.  On a daily basis, your group’s physicians are likely delivering widely varying experiences to the group’s patients and perhaps to their families as well.  They are also likely interacting very differently with referring physicians and others.  Why?  What will the blowback be in connection with your next negotiation with a facility?  What referrals will you miss?

With many, many years devoted to medical school and then to post-M.D. training in the performance of the technical side of delivering patient care, you’d think that groups would be sensitized to the need for training in the interpersonal and communications skills that support it. The fact that this is not the case makes this the case for your group to implement it.

Hardly any of your colleagues at competing groups have any understanding of what I’m talking about.  Fewer still will do anything to implement it.  That’s why, for you, it will be like shooting ducks in a barrel.

What behaviors are expected by the group?  What phrases have you tested?   These are but a few of the questions that you need to start asking and then, when you have the answers, implementing.

In fact, ask yourself right now, is your group run as poorly as an airline?

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