Take Care of the Little Things Every Day
By: Tina Bell Yesterday afternoon I pulled into the drive-thru at a local restaurant to order a late lunch. It took me eight minutes to get out of the drive-thru empty handed, after the lady taking my order provided the most horrible customer service I've ever received in a drive-thru. I decided I’d rather spend my money where I felt like a customer not an inconvenience. I told her to cancel my order and took off across the street to another restaurant, where I ordered my usual, “veggie club”. As though I’d just made a big faux pas, I was quickly told, “We’re out of cucumbers and tomatoes, would you like onions instead?” I wish I could’ve photographed the look on my face. I’m sure it was priceless. I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked, onions tasted nothing like cucumbers and tomatoes. But I digress. It was more the tonality of the sandwich artist's voice, as though I should have known she was out of over half the vegetables I order on my sandwich, that shocked me. Perhaps starting with a sweet, “I’m sorry ma’am, but…” would have helped. Nonetheless, I was hungry and in a hurry to get back to the office. After spending six days in Dallas at the Medical Practice Success Summit last week, I didn’t have time to drive to yet a third restaurant to grab a quick bite to eat. In addition to the stack of mail still needing sorted on my desk, and the two customer complaints I still had left to call back, I knew I also needed to write my column for today’s issue of Medical Practice Success. As I drove back to the office I pondered the lost art of customer service in our society. Even the customer complaints I was handling yesterday afternoon came down to two of our new employees not taking the time to provide the level of customer service we train them to provide. As I pondered, I longed to be back at the Dallas City Clinic Marriott Hotel, where the art of customer service was alive and well over the course of the five day industry conference last week. Every single minute of our experience there was full of amazing customer service, and when I really thought about it, that amazing experience came down to a million little things done right by each member of their staff. I realized the difference between my time at the Marriott and my fast food experiences yesterday really came down to each employee having pride in their job. Having frequented both restaurants many times in the past, I knew that they usually had a fairly high level of customer service. And I could only picture the horrified look of the owners if they truly knew how I'd been approached at both locations. I could empathize with how they would feel because one of my rolls at HealthCARE Express is calling back all patient complaints at our Medical Practices. And usually what I learn on those calls is one of our team members dropped the ball on a "little thing" that made a really big difference in a customer's experience. Then I pondered conversations our team had shared with other Medical Practice owners at the event this past week. I recalled a story one of our sponsors shared Sunday morning about a horrible experience she had at an Medical Practice in Fort Worth this weekend, and I realized that even in the Medical Practice industry, there are Marriotts and there are Grandy's and Subways (and yes, I realize customer service varies by each location). As I pondered this, I Goggled Marriott Customer Service Training. I found a really neat 11 page document entitled the “Mariott Management Philosophy”. I thought it would be worth sharing with you today. Click here to read it. Finally, take a second today and ask yourself, “How is the customer service at our Medical Practice?” More importantly, ask yourself, "How well do we live up to taking care of the little things every day?"