A Lesson From The Emergency Room

Delivering exceptional customer experiences requires more than simply being proficient and efficient. We can be proficient at our job. We can know the policies and the procedures. We can carry them out with great efficiency. We can make sure all our ‘T’s’ are crossed and our ‘I’s’ are dotted but still not deliver a great customer experience.

Remember, customer experience is about what your customer is feeling during and after their interaction with you. Do they feel pleased or even happy? Or, do they feel the experience was ‘okay’… everything was taken care of, but that was it.

I am reminded of this every time I visit someone in the hospital – especially the emergency room. Fortunately, I have not had the occasion to go often, but I have experienced a stark contrast in the care the patient received.

When one is a patient in the emergency department of a hospital, they get a lot of visitors. At least one doctor. Generally, three or more nurses. An administrator who checks on all the patient’s personal information, (and insurance coverage). If you’re there during a shift change… well double the number of visitors.

Now, I can’t speak for the patient, but as the family member or friend, I found there to be a great difference in the way we were treated by the different members of the hospital staff.

All of them were proficient. They knew their jobs and how to run the tests or draw the blood or whatever the procedure. We were blessed that this was not an issue.

The difference in our experience was how we were treated by the various staff members. The members who were efficient and proficient, who simply performed the task at hand… well they left us feeling empty and unimportant. As if we were just ‘a number’. There was no connection, no humanity, no compassion.

Those staff members who made the difficult situation of visiting the ER a good experience where those who interacted with us with compassion, with care and with concern. They told us their name. They asked how the patient was doing in a human, concerned way – not just a clinical way to get the facts. They took the time to explain what they were going to do. The best even explained what was happening as they carried out their tests.

These wonderful nurses and doctors, explained why there were delays in the process. They introduced the new nurse who was coming onto shift when it was time for the original nurse to go home.

In short, we felt safer, happier and better cared for by those who, as they engaged with us, made us feel important, special and cared about.

Can we deliver this kind of experience for our customers in the automotive dealership? Of course we can.

Start by thinking about the car as the sick patient. Think about your service department as a doctor’s office or a hospital.

The family member, (car owner), brings in the patient, (the car). As the nurse, (service consultant), you need to have compassion on them. Introduce yourself and let them know you are going to take very good care of them.  Perform the preliminary fact finding, (getting the vitals). Ask the right questions to learn about the symptoms. Explain to the family member, (car owner), what will happen and how the doctors, (technicians), will go about treating the patient, (the car).

As the doctor, (technician), you are now introduced to a patient needing your help and expertise. With all your training, experience and wisdom, set out to perform the diagnostic tests and procedures to make the patient better. When opportunity presents itself, speak with the family member about the patient with compassion and care.

When we can learn to help our customers with care and compassion, as people who are coming to us because they need our help, then we will find the experience our customers receive from doing business with us to be truly exceptional.

Pursue Great!, In all you do.

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