Patient Customer Experience: The Great Slam Bam Mammogram?
What do you expect as a patient? I’ve heard some people respond “just cure me and let me go.” To them, a great customer experience is a successful procedure or cure – period.
Yet these folks do not represent an overwhelming majority. To many others, a great patient customer experience involves both medical and non-medical aspects of care.
Do healthcare providers — in hospitals, in outpatient test centers, in doctors offices — see it this way? We might think that the healthcare industry believes this. They use scores like HCAHP and Press Ganey to measure the quality of patient customer experience.
Yet there are significant instances of unsatisfactory patient customer experience which say otherwise. Here’s one such story and lessons learned for a great patient customer experience.
Patient Customer Experience: The Great Slam Bam Mammo?
- I went for my yearly mammogram as I had done every year. My favorite technician at the radiology center had retired. She had top notch technical skills and great empathy and people skills. I went in with an open mind since the center had a professional caring staff at the front desk.
- It was my turn. A technician came out called my name and said, “please come with me.” She guided me into the changing room and said she would be back shortly. My experience was off to a bad start. She hadn’t even introduced herself. When she came back, she simply said, “ready”? I said no. I don’t even know who you are. She stared at me and then claimed repeatedly that she had introduced herself. She then disappeared and a different technician came in. This one introduced herself and ushered me to the mammogram room.
- She clarified a few items on my chart, put me into position, said “BIG SQUISH” and slammed the paddle down on me. The pain was so bad I yelled out “God help me.” She then asked me if I was OK. She told me that most people like to get this over quickly but she could use slower compression on the other side to make it less painful. She also added they had been quite busy lately and had even run out of regular size gowns. She finished with, “I know you liked Flossie and it must be tough for you to adapt to a different technician.”
4 Threats & Cures for Great Patient Customer Experience
My patient customer experience was needlessly painful — physically and inter-personally. Not only did the technician know that slow compressions hurt less, she consciously chose the slam bam approach. She left the impression that she didn’t give a flip about me. BIG SQUISH – I was just another mammogram.
- Threat #1 – Uniformity. Treating each customer in a uniform way assumes that everyone is the same. How foolish. Cure: Find out how each person wants to be treated inter-personally and respond accordingly.
- Threat #2 – Rationalizing and Justifying. This technician convinced herself that my negative feedback came from my having to adapt to a new technician — not her poor service. Cure: See all feedback as free learning and growth. Hear what customers are saying; don’t fear it.
- Threat #3 – Lack of people skills training. People skills for great patient customer experience are not inborn. Cure: Train all healthcare staff on outstanding people skills and customer service. If you have some staff that are great at it, have them mentor those who have yet to learn!
- Threat #4 – Great Average Metrics. Great customer experience metrics that are averages of all experiences do not spell greatness. In statistics, the average is one of the most volatile measures because it swings widely with extremes. Cure: Use less volatile statistics to measure patient customer experience. Also look past the numbers and listen to actual comments to design patient customer experience.
I will never return to the radiology center noted above. They have lost a loyal customer of five years who had also referred many others there.
Don’t let this happen to your healthcare practice. Make service and people skills a priority. Referrals don’t come just from other healthcare providers and doctors. Patients refer other patients.
Watch your practice soar to greatness with great referrals from your patients who have had great patience customer experience with you!
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
One Patient Customer Experience Story That Speaks Volumes About Doctors Offices
Is the Average of 32 Questions on HCAHP Score Really a Patient’s Customer Experience?
Radiology Cares: The Untold Story
©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!