Is it your People? Or Your Process?

I've spent a little time with a family member in the hospital this year. Thankfully, all has been resolved, and everyone is fine. However, my experience has me thinking. 

Much of my work has been around helping teams learn how to be more customer service oriented, with warmth and hospitality. Even how to gracefully de-escalate upset customers.

However, in our experience with this hospital, I can honestly say that except for one nurse, the people were LOVELY! Caring, dedicated, and personable. The picture of warmth and hospitality.

The process, however, not so much. One hand didn't know what the other one was doing. The doctors want to be able to talk to family, but you never know when they are going to show up. When my loved one was transferred to another part of the hospital, I had to tell the new team why he was there because it wasn't communicated in the transfer. No one could answer our questions or tell us who could - and promises made were not always kept. 

There are three areas of red-carpet customer service: Process, Warmth & Hospitality, and the WOW Factor. 

Could it be that your people have warmth & hospitality in spades - but that they are trapped in a system that doesn't work? 

For instance,

  • How's workplace communication? Is everyone getting the information they need when they need it? 
  • Are you orienting and onboarding team members thoroughly or throwing them out on the floor unprepared?
  • Are your policies and practices set up for your customers or for your own convenience? 

Here's an example. I was coaching some physician support teams earlier this year, and one of their main patient complaints happened when the doctor told the patient to come back in 3 weeks - which just happened to be in the middle of the doctor's vacation. Or when he was fully booked up. The patient would take it out on the scheduling person because "the doctor told me 3 weeks!" 

There's a simple fix to this. The doctor can send a private note to the scheduler and ask the patient to work with them to find the next available date within a specific timeframe. When I mentioned this, their response was "the doctors will never do that." 

So, in essence, the schedulers are stuck dealing with a process that doesn't work and a whole lot of upset patients. 

It's time to ask yourselves. Is the problem really our people - or is it our process? 

What are your thoughts? Comment below and tell me what you think. 

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