Have you ever thought about the impact you make on others as you do your work? Someone is usually watching, how you do what you do, if not up close, from a distance. Over my career, I have been amazed at what team members have done for customers on their own, without prompting, to create excellent experiences for the customer. This takes two things in my view to accomplish:
- the right CULTURE
- and EMPOWERMENT
CULTURE: Some organizations have a culture that allow their team members to "make it right" no matter what. Team members do not fear making a mistake. The culture is blame free. The organization looks at systems problems, and knows that few issues are bad people problems.
EMPOWERMENT: is a difficult concept to embed in a culture. It can be offered from top leadership, but the team members has to step forward and accept it and act on it. A team member at a PALS Hamburger Stand in Johnson City, TN is faced with a customer at the drive-thru that doesn't have quite enough money to pay for the order that he placed. The team member has to make a business decision. He/she decides using judgement to say "That's fine, just pay me the next time you come by here." The customer is astonished! The team member is fearless of punishment for potentially losing money on the sale. The manager will reward the team member for providing excellent customer service. This type of "Sudden Service" has helped to earn PALS Hamburgers, a very small hamburger chain the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award!
I asked my team members, who all worked in an Emergency Department, what they did on their own, outside of the standard customer service training to put their personal mark on their work. Here are some of their answers:
“I am careful to make eye contact with every patient so that they know I am giving them my attention.”
•“I put a blanket over and under every elderly patient to preserve their body heat.
•“I tell seriously injured patients that they are at (name of hospital), and that they are safe now”.
•“I keep patients informed and carefully explain their treatment to them.”
•“I turn the TV to the education channel, when it can help them.”
•“I tell the patient that it has been my honor to care for them.”
•“I use fun bandaids or decorate them!”
•“I always sit down when I talk to my patients”
•“I like to use warm blankets and footies and change them whenever they need to be to keep the patient comfortable.”
•“I remember to put my name on the white board.”
•“I keep a bag of angels. I wear one, and pass them on when I’m asked about them.”
•“I ask the patient about their family, pets, etc. to personalize the relationship.”
•“I go visit the patient when I am assigned to A side and they have been moved to B side”.
•“I teach the patient about taking their BP – right size cuff, and make sure they understand their medications.”
•“I give patients a foot massage if they have had a long wait”
•“I spend as much time as possible using comfort measures, propping patient.”
•Maintenance: “I touch up paint every week so that scuff marks don’t build up.”
One of the best examples of an employee making their personal mark is Johnny the Bagger.
At one job as a leader I started receiving cards and letters about a particular employee who was a Paramedic. I saw him one day and I asked him what he was doing differently. He scratched his head and said, I really don't know. All I can think of is that when I go visit the patients the next day in the hospital they seem glad to see me. Paul hadn't realize that his act of kindness in looking up his patients and visiting them was something above and beyond what his patients expected him to do. They remembered his name and were so impressed they felt compelled to recognize him.
We have all had excellent customer service experiences where we could tell that the person serving us was doing something unique that was not part of their job description.
My challenge to you is to find that special thing that you can do for others that will WOW them. I have made just a few suggestions below. Please comment and give me your best ideas back.
- When in your office with someone and the phone rings, don't answer it. Give the person in your office your undivided attention.
- Ask your team members about their family.
- Be more visible. Round for Outcomes.
- Have lunch with your team members.
- Empower someone to do something they didn't know they could do.