The Best Way to be Competitive: “Fantabulous” Customer Service

In a recent personal experience, I was witness to the services provided in a USA hospital.  Albeit a stressful and unplanned visit for my family member, the care and service received at the hospital was impressive.

I write this article not as a personal story but from the perspective of a consultant who helps companies create change to improve their corporate culture.  This writing is more about the type of business acumen the health care field has in the US versus Canada.  I will not disclose details to ensure confidentiality.

When a business needs to be competitive, what is the best strategy to use?  The answer should always be customer service because it incorporates every aspect of the business.  From communication to service to production to follow up, customer service should be first and foremost.  As research shows, customers and clients tell a lot more people when they are dissatisfied than when they are pleased with the business or service.  It is interesting to think how these statistics have amplified given technology and the social media wave everyone is riding lately.

The difference between hospital care in the USA and Canada is not the industry but in the business sector.  The first is a for-profit business that is competitive and the other is a government run, not necessarily for-profit business that most Canadians receive as a no or low cost benefit.  Competition is not needed in the later.

The difference in customer services between the two systems seemed leaps and bounds apart.  The USA hospital service was clearly about care as well as a great customer (patient) experience.  Each staff member introduced them self when entering the room, each one was well dressed and neat in appearance.  Even the maintenance man wore a dress shirt and business slacks.  Each service ended in “can I do anything else at this time”?  Every person had the company logo on their shirt along with their first name and legal identification.  They even went so far as to put their meals on menus like a restaurant with the daily meals, calories and carbohydrates listed.

The icing on the cake . . . actually there were two icings:

1.  Every room had a white board in it where staff recorded the names of the head RN, attending RN, RN assistant, MD and specialty, tests to be run, goal of the day, estimated time waits/service needed and other extra information items.

2.  Each medical doctor, regardless of speciality, handed out a business card on the first visit.

As a user of the hospital systems in Western Canada, my jaw hung open and I asked “do you see a difference?”  It became evident to me quite quickly that competition is key in the USA; whereas Canada seems more about location and entitlement.  I think this level or difference in competitiveness translates into a vastly different business focus and corporate culture goals, even though the hospital medical services are the same business.

So regardless of your industry or business sector, what drives your company to do well?  Is your target market somewhat specialized so you don’t need to do the extra?  Is your status of NGO, NFP or FP a driving factor in how you conduct business?  Is customer service as high on your priority list as it should be?

I hope you are asking yourself “what is our customer experience” and “what do our customers say?”  Have you put enough emphasis and practices on this dimension in your everyday functioning and processes?  Are you prepared to let your competition outshine you and take customers?

Contact us at 604-349-8660 or to book your People Change Strategy Session. Is it the leadership that need some improvement? Learn more about our Building Better Bosses Program.

This entry was posted by Pam Paquet and is filed under Customer Service Training. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.