It’s human nature to run from danger. When you are trained as a paramedic, firefighter, police officer you are taught to run toward the danger. They know that their role is to identify the problem and take immediate action. Rescue personnel run confidently toward danger. Service recovery opportunities are missed because we don’t help healthcare employees see service recovery opportunities and run toward them. Rather they avoid it.
The very simplest example is the classic waiting room scene where someone has been waiting a long time. You can envision this woman sitting, arms crossed, looking at her watch with a scowl on her face. Anyone with even a small amount of emotional intelligence can see she’s becoming increasingly irritated because of the wait time. Do you run and hide, or take action to address her directly, honestly and with compassion? That will depend on how confident you feel. You build confidence with practice, encouragement and support.
Does your staff know how to spot indicators of dissatisfaction and escalation, and do they know what to do and what to say? If not, it’s certainly time to start practicing.