As you know, my consulting work keeps me traveling throughout the year, easily racking up over 100,000 miles. So, I’m not only a keen observer of healthcare service, I have become a customer service aficionado for the hospitality industry as well. I can spot sincere hospitality a mile away and have no patience for insincere hospitality staff. I was recently a guest at a very nice hotel/resort where virtually every staff member responded to requests with a smile and the line, “It’s my pleasure.” Was it scripted? Absolutely. Was it sincere in each and every delivery? If I’m any judge of character whatsoever, I have to say, yes, it was sincere.
I will admit that I’m a bit of a skeptic, so when I hear the standard scripted “It’s my pleasure,” I’m fully prepared for the phrase to lose some sincerity after numerous repetitions. In fact, I expect it because I’m constantly hearing healthcare workers grousing about scripting and how it feels too insincere. (It could be that they feel insincere because they don’t actually like being of service to others, so therefore are being insincere. I don’t know.).
Because I am a skeptic, I turned to my travel companions for their opinion about the “It’s my pleasure” response throughout our week-long visit. All of them felt the staff was very sincere and stated that it made them feel like honored guests; no request was unmanageable. How did this resort make this standard? My guess is that they hired right, set the expectations, then held everyone accountable. Wow, what a concept.
I think that when it comes to creating a predictably positive customer experience, we know that scripting is a proven tool. But to make it effective, we have to set the expectation, model the way, observe, coach, and have consequences when people fail to deliver the expected level of service. Maintaining a consistently positive patient experience won’t happen by default; it must happen by design. As leaders, we have to engage staff in envisioning the end product (a delighted and trusting customer) and help them understand how their attitudes and actions contribute to that end goal.