Beside Manner Isn’t Just For Beds

Been to the doctor lately?

How was the customer service?

You are the customer, remember.

(It’s easy to forget that in many health care environments.)

Western medicine is often practiced on the manufacturing model:

  • Get them in
  • Make them wait
  • Go down the hall
  • Wait some more
  • Spend 5 minutes
  • Get them out
  • Next

Does it make you feel more like a number than a person?

And, when you are there, how does the doctor treat you?

I’ve worked in many hospitals.   In hospital culture, doctors are at the top of the food chain.

They typically have the reputation for being arrogant and all-knowing.

Does your doctor patronize you?  Make you feel small?

Treat you as if you’re a textbook case, rather than a person?

You’re not alone.

Carolyn Bucksbaum had an intuition about her ailment.

She told her doctor about it.  He rudely and brusquely dismissed her.

Over time, it turns out she was right.   The doctor was wrong.

Ms. Bucksbaum was later treated by a compassionate doctor at the University of Chicago.

This experience was a complete 180 from her earlier one.

It made her stop and think about how doctors are trained.

She decided to do something about it.

As reported last week, the Bucksbaum Family Foundation donated $42 million to the university of Chicago to create an institute devoted to improving medical students’ handling of the doctor-patient relationship.

Doctors aren’t the only ones who need to improve customer relationships.

Every customer has two sets of needs:

  1. Product or Service Needs
  2. Personal Needs

The product/service need is the easy one.

It’s on the surface.

It’s what we’re paid to do.

It’s the personal needs that separate the bad from the good, and the good from the great.

Those providers who care for the whole person, who see beyond the surface need, are the ones who build a reputation for excellence.

It’s a different–but critical– skill set.

One that needs to be trained and developed.

If it’s worth $42 million to one woman to see medical students improve, what’s it worth to you and your business?

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