Create the Environment that Creates Unmatched Customer Experiences

by Paul E. Macek
Proctor Hospital

Proctor Hospital is recognized for outstanding personalized patient care. It’s reflected in our mission: Provide unmatched healthcare experiences … every day. That level of care doesn’t just happen — it takes employees who are keenly focused, love what they do, and work in an environment that allows them to shine.

In 2010, Proctor Hospital became a Planetree affiliate. The foundation of the Planetree philosophy is simple: provide your patients a personalized, humanized and demystified experience. These values are intrinsic to what all human beings not only want, but deserve.

“People want to know they matter, and they want to be treated as people. That’s the new talent contract,” said Pamela Stroko of Oracle Corporation at Human Capital Institute’s Employee Engagement Conference in September. The correlation between how our patients want to be treated and how our employees want to be treated is significant. And it’s often forgotten by organizations that say they are focused on great customer service, but do not extend the same respect to their employees.

If you create a culture that stimulates and motivates your employees, you’ve created a culture of unmatched customer experiences. To that end, there are several “must-dos” to create a culture where your employees feel valued.

  1. Communication must be at the heart of everything you do — its value is too significant. “Without credible communication, and a lot of it, the hearts and minds of the troops are never captured,” said Harvard Business School Professor John Kotter. Employees feel valued when you communicate with them about your goals and vision, and make clear what your expectations are. Become a good listener; nothing keeps people engaged more than listening to their ideas. You must be transparent, tell the truth and have a little patience. Patience helps instill confidence and trust.
  2. Your employees know their jobs and understand their roles. Trust them to do what they do best. Your role is to encourage and support them in an environment that stimulates them to think of and share new ideas, new processes and new ways of working. Give employees the tools and help them gain the knowledge to do their jobs. You cannot force someone to be responsible, feel engaged or become a leader. They have to do that on their own. You are responsible for creating the environment that fosters these initiatives.
  3. Employee recognition is critical. There is no more personal or humanizing experience than feeling appreciated. Knowing that your coworkers trust and believe in you is both humbling and fulfilling. Simple greetings of “hello” or “good morning,” acknowledging individuals, and asking if there’s anything you can do for them is equally as important, and helps set the tone for the day. Recognizing employees at department meetings, town hall meetings and in programs like “employee of the month” signals to your employees that they are indeed valued for who they are as people, not just as an employee.

Our patients, and your customers, want these same things, too. Patients want to be involved in the process of their care. They want honest insightful communication. They want to be heard and informed. The same is true for families and friends. Planetree has taught us to include everyone in the healthcare process.

Patients want to be recognized and treated like human beings in a quiet and respectful environment that is both nurturing and healing. The Planetree philosophy isn’t just about patient care, it’s also about creating unmatched customer experiences. In order to personalize, humanize and demystify the patient experience, you must first do that for your employees.

Providing unmatched healthcare experiences… every day generates amazing word of mouth, a highly regarded reputation, and both patient and employee loyalty. iBi

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