There was a day when many health care leaders viewed customer service as a nice, but not necessary, add-on to daily operations. It often fell into the “fluff” pile because, after all, how could you show a direct return on investment for good customer service? And we all know that if you can’t show a direct return on investment, it isn’t of any real value. Or is it?
Over the past few years I’ve been really pleased to see many healthcare leaders developing a healthy respect for the value of customer service. HCAHPS and CG-CAHPS have helped many of the non-believers to sit up and take notice about the value of great service. I believe that the foundation of health care is trust. And trust must be earned by consistently delivering on the promises made in your mission, vision and value statements. If healthcare organizations are to be respected and trusted they must deliver – every time. Inconsistencies create distrust and ultimately a loss in business.
To be successful in a consumer-driven environment, leaders must recognize that customer service is mission-critical. Chances are your mission statement includes words like commitment, quality, care, compassion and service. I doubt if it your mission statement contains a disclaimer in the fine print providing latitude for inconsistencies such as: except on weekends, or except in the ED, or, except when Mary is working, or when Joe is having a bad day.
Your mission, vision and values don’t come with disclaimers. They must be upheld in every encounter with every customer, every day. Good customer service is the key.