The doctor’s reputation is huge; his hospital small. They believe he has the magic touch. His skillful scalpel has healed bodies. His humble bearing and golden tongue have conquered minds.
It is a strictly no-frills hospital with a skeleton staff. The doctor is proud of his team. His assistant has been with him for more than two decades; his nurse, for eight years.
The caregiver wants to warm up dinner before feeding the patient. The hospital has no kitchen; just a small pantry and a stove. Hesitantly, he asks a nurse, the only nurse on duty. She agrees and hands over the task to the help. The help sees great humor in the situation. “This vessel is for making tea, this is for milk and this is for the dog. There is no vessel for you.” They all laugh. The caregiver bristles at the clear hint that they would rather care for the dog than the helpless patient, who has been waiting for dinner.
The patient is recovering. Gingerly, he walks outside the room, oblivious to a huge blood stain at the back of the gown he is wearing. Why didn’t someone change the gown? The assistant with two decades of experience immediately replies: “Perhaps no one noticed.” And why was the patient not given a sponge bath? The seasoned assistant is angry at being questioned. “We asked the patient, he refused.” Didn’t they know the patient was hard of hearing and could not follow their language?
The caregiver is careful not to bother the patient. He does not talk about the confrontation with the staff. But the doctor has no such worries. He takes it up with the patient. “Your caregiver keeps arguing with my staff. Please remember my people are very experienced. No other hospital gives you such service.”
Employee versus customer?
It takes years to build your business and even longer to nurture a positive image. .
How much do you value that image? How do you train the members of your team to understand and be loyal to the values you cherish? How do you guard against complacency that can grow into arrogance?
Whenever your employee interacts with your customer in any little way, what impression does he create? When you come across an aberration, do you jump in to defend your team or grab the opportunity to make a subtle course correction?
The patient, who could have picked any large hospital to begin with, goes home bitter. Maybe he would come back to the doctor; but, never to this hospital.