Fresh Steps That Will Deliver World Class Patient Care
Written by Michael D. Brown
You likely recently heard the horrific story of a nurse who was “following company policy” to not offer medical attention to a dying women at a California retirement home. Policy it might be - but certainly worth a swift and through review by Glenwood Gardens and should serve as a wake up call for the industry. We need sensible policies in place that protects the health and welfare of the patients and prevents them from dying. We also need to empower and equip our frontline (nurses, janitors, aides, etc.) with the processes and procedures to deliver a world-class patient experience. I am sure we will discover that not been able to deliver CPR is the tip of the nightmare - as the frontline hands are likely tied and are prevented from delivering in other areas that could benefit the patient.
‘Fresh Customer Service’ Offers Healthcare Global Readers With 6.5 Fresh Steps that Will Deliver A World-Class Patient Experience >>>
Fresh Step 1: Side-by-Side Walking
This involves walking a mile in the shoes of employees to understand what they do, how they do it, and how they experience their jobs. Side-by-Side Walking will help give you a real-world understanding of the environment your frontline employees operate in, and separate perceptions from actual activities and true problems. Side-by-Side Walking is the foundation for understanding where your organization is at the moment, the gaps that exist, what is working and what needs improvement.
Best of all, Side-by-Side Walking only requires you, the corporate manager or executive, to take one day of your schedule and devote it to going through all the activities your frontline employees go through, from pre-shift preparation to post-shift cleanup and closeout. Far more than a site visit, it's a true immersion into your frontline employees' daily lives and routines.
Fresh Step 2: Smart Tasking
This clearly defines the critical tasks and processes that support the customer service offering and the deadlines by which they must be completed. The most important factor is completing the necessary tasks and processes without impeding the delivery of a world-class customer service experience to the patient. Smart Tasking creates a harmonized balance between completing the tasks/processes and delivering a world-class patient experience.
It is important to get the processes of delivery right, allowing your employees to be more efficient
Fresh Step 3: Make-It-Right Power
This instills both the responsibility and the authority to resolve patient complaints and issues (in this recent case- a dying women needing to breath) in the frontline employees who are most able to satisfy the customer at any point in time.
Make-It-Right Power puts the ability to deliver a world-class patient experience in the hands of the people who are best able to deliver it: The employees who interact with the patients. It's about empowering and positioning employees to be able to instantly solve patient problems and view them as opportunities to Make-It-Right now for the patient.
Make-It-Right Power delivers both the responsibility and the prescribed authority to the employees to transform a patient's bad experience into a positive one, or in the best case scenario, one that can proactively hedge off the situation as a result of prescribed Make-It-Right Power before it even festers into a bad experience.
Fresh Step 4: The What-If Arsenal
This is a set of processes and tools in place to handle scenarios when the patient is in need. It builds on organizational experiences and reduces the need to reinvent the wheel while creating a depository for frontline employees to make fresh deposits of "what-if solutions," and helps give Make-It-Right Power to the frontline employee to instantly serve and satisfy the patient.
When fastballs of everyday life are thrown at you and your organization, you need to have a strategy for hitting home runs in unstable conditions. A What-If Arsenal should be at an employee's fingertips or stored in his head for instant retrieval when the manager is present and when he's away.
But here's a tip: We need to be careful not to dictate the contents of the What-If Arsenal toolbox. Filling it with techniques that we think are appropriate for the frontline employee while sidelining what the frontline employee believes is right will not work.
Instead, we should give frontline employees the opportunity to brainstorm their own ideas for filling the toolbox. The litmus test should be whether the employees' suggestions are ethical. If they are, they should be implemented. It all comes down to one element: a world-class patient experience that will grow and sustain your business.
The Fifth Fresh Step
Bubble-Up Innovation. This will show you how to appreciate and utilize the current ideas frontline employees possess to improve the whole organization. They, not managers or CEOs, are privy to why patients want later dinner hours, or why the chairs in the movie room keeps them from enjoying the show. Therefore it is a winning practice to listen to the comments and suggestions frontline employees may have to make your organization better.
When you want to encourage innovation and gain solutions to problems facing the business, schedule a "Bubble-Up Innovation Fun Day." Create an off-site environment that promotes innovation, represents the brand and desired customer experience, and, above all, is comfortable and stimulating for the frontline employee.
Fresh Step 6: Relentless Focus
This is the continual and consistent emphasis on the frontline employee delivering a world-class customer patient experience and embedding this into the core business model, as opposed to customer service "programs-of-the-month."
Many organizations are good at "kick-off celebrations." Most customer service programs start off with a bang, with everyone being committed and poised to make them happen. But as the strategies start changing, new leaders come in, employees become disinterested and the focus shifts to something else, the initial great customer service program is tossed aside like a child's old favorite toy.
Relentless Focus forces the organization to make an ongoing investment in providing a world-class patient experience by embedding it into the core business model. Every program, strategy, and initiative has an automatic space carved out for providing a world-class customer patient experience. Not providing this focus destroys the foundation of the operation and the goal of providing a great customer experience.
Because Relentless Focus is essentially a mindset, it is also essentially cost-free. It requires each employee to constantly keep customer service in mind, whether they are a top-level executive designing a core business strategy or an entry-level frontline associate implementing that same strategy.
Fresh Step 6.5: Now Just Make It Happen
This is a half-step simply meant to remind you that the first six steps do you no good unless you actively put them into practice today and then constantly follow up to ensure they remain in practice throughout your organization. It's one thing to "commit" to Fresh Customer Service, it's another thing to roll up your sleeves and make it happen.
The cost? Whatever the market rate for elbow grease and determination is these days. Like so many of the most valuable things in life, there is no financial value you can put on them, but they're worth more than anything you can put a price sticker on.
So that's the 6.5 steps to Fresh Customer Service that will deliver a world-class patient experience. Easy to follow and cost-efficient. All they require is commitment and effort. And if you can't afford to expend some commitment and effort to guarantee a world-class customer experience to every patient who comes through your door, you'll soon have much bigger things to worry about - perhaps even be out of business.
Brown is a sought-after speaker and workshop facilitator and has worked with a number of Fortune 100 companies, independent businesses, non-profits, and entrepreneurs improve their mission, service, and growth concurrently. Visit Fresh Customer Service for more information.
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