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Getting to “why?”

Posted by Kristin Baird on December 10th, 2015 • 1 Comment »

Every organization wants to be among the top scoring. The challenge we find is that many organizations are presented with stacks of patient satisfaction data that tells them how many patients rated them a certain way. What the survey data misses is the emotion behind the score. How did the experience make them feel, and how did their feelings shape their survey responses? This is precisely why I’m a huge fan of mystery shopping.

Yesterday, my husband had outpatient surgery giving me the chance to observe a new clinical environment with fresh eyes. With the exception of one individual at registration, the entire experience, from start to finish, was exemplary.

Upon discharge, we were given the standard, check-the-box, likert scale type survey. Sure there was a tiny row for comments, but wouldn’t your staff benefit from the story about how their encounters made the patient and his wife FEEL about the experience? What raised our confidence? What comforted us? What exactly did you say and do that engaged us and made us feel valued?

In all the years I’ve been in leadership, I know for certain that it’s the examples and stories I share with my team that has helped bolster pride and confidence or, conversely, support the need for improvement.

This is precisely why I have worked so hard to develop mystery shopping methodologies that can share stories that leaders can use to further their goals.

All day yesterday as I saw stellar examples of service, I wondered if the staff had ever had any feedback about their impact beyond the survey scores. In this case, the story I could tell them as a direct observer would reinforce the best behaviors and point out the few spots where there were shortcomings. This could verify that most of the time they were meeting or exceeding standards, and how their interactions made us feel. The stories, hopefully would inspire more excellent behaviors and point out how to close the small gaps.

Mystery shopping is an excellent tool to dive deep into the patient experience, and find the stories that bring the experience to life, in the hearts and minds of the staff and leaders. It tells you what you want more of, and what you’d like less of. Wouldn’t it be nice to know?

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Baird Consulting

One Response to “Getting to “why?””

  1. Betsy Dooley says:

    I am in total agreement. Surveys only provide a portion of the true VOC (voice of the customer). Mystery shopping is a great tool as providers, their networks look for ways to improve their quality, in network referrals, etc.


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