Want a great customer experience at every turn? Hire and support keen observers. Organizations that excel at service and the patient experience are filled with keen observers. And I believe you can foster this by recognizing people who spot opportunities and act without being told. In our mystery shopping encounters, we constantly observe and note opportunities when staff members could intervene on behalf of the organization but don’t. We also see some of the best examples of this which may have been going unnoticed by leaders.
One example happened just last week when I was bringing my mom to the ER. It’s always a shuffle to bring someone to the ER when they can’t walk but a few steps. You usually have to park in a restricted area and run inside to get a wheelchair. On a good day you’ll find one. Then you have to help the patient into the wheelchair, take them into the hospital and leave them to park the car. Then you can return, reconnect with the patient, and start or join the registration process. Whew!
Well last week I was grateful for good observers who could intervene before I asked. Seeing me pull up with an elderly person, the registration clerk immediately grabbed a wheelchair and came out to the car to assist. He was both observant and helpful.
Many hospitals have a standard or policy that everyone is to walk visitors to their destination. The successful implementation of that policy is only as good as the staff’s power of observation and their commitment to being fully present. If people are not tuned into their surroundings and encouraged to take action on behalf of the organization, the policy is just a group of meaningless words. Staff must see the behavior modeled by leaders. The other thing that will help increase the desired behavior is having leaders who are observant and offer recognition when staff do take action.
Leaders can help their team members to be more observant. Walk around with them and start to point out service opportunities. Encourage them when you see the desired behaviors by giving praise and recognition. Finally, remind them that when they are on site and in uniform they are representing the organization at all times. Put the smart phones down when walking the halls. When your line of sight is on your smart phone, you are missing countless opportunities in front of you.