Archive for March, 2010

Right Customer, Right Moment, Right Message

March 31, 2010

© 2010 Cooper River Bridge Run

As I froze at the start of the Cooper River Bridge Run last weekend, I found myself theorizing about the value of the hordes of people milling about waiting for the gun.

For starters, anyone who is out before the sun waiting with 40,000 other people in 43 degree, windy weather to run (or walk) six miles across a massive bridge is dedicated.

These people invest money in something they love. $30 or $40 entry fee for the run. $75 for a pair of running shoes. Multiply that by 40,000 and that’s a boatload of cash.

For some companies, the exposure of being an event sponsor or having a sample in the runner’s packet would have very little impact. But taking the right product/message to a finely targeted, engaged audience like the one I was standing in could be a tsunami for some products or companies.

How hard are you trying to reach your best customers? And when you do reach them, is what you have to say or offer going to send them running in another direction?

Should Rooms Move Perceptions of Healthcare?

March 24, 2010

When Mom had inpatient shoulder surgery last week, we shared an excellent healthcare experience from both sides of the procedure – except one  thing.

The Good

The pre-op nurse was very informative, but we appreciated his sense of humor most.  It was a welcome relief for mom’s anxiety.

Another nurse personally escorted me to the family waiting room, where other loved ones and I were doted on by a volunteer hostess.  The first nurse soon returned, bringing me the medical power of attorney forms that I forgot I’d even asked for earlier.  I helped myself to complimentary hot tea and wi-fi.  The director of surgical services even stopped in to check on everyone, making sure we had fresh coffee and fast Internet connections.

Mom’s surgeon was thorough in explaining how the procedure went. She patiently answered all my questions and then some – with a smile. 

Although Mom had some trouble with pain later that day and overnight, each nurse was attentive and kind to both patient and daughter until she rested comfortably.  They used the latest technology to cross-check medications with her electronic medical record. Clinically, we could not have asked for better care.

The nutritional services staff even called Mom by name each time they cheerfully brought and collected meals.  The discharge process was smooth. JCAHO and Press Ganey reps would be proud.

The Ugly

So what was wrong?  Her room betrayed every other touchpoint.  Although clean and spacious, it was very old.  Holes dotted the walls, laminate peeled back from the counter corners, furniture showed wear to the raw wood, and painted cabinetry screamed early 70s.  This was the progressive hospital the surgeon and we chose?  

In a leadership book by J. Richard Hackman, a frustrated airline executive once said, “What does a customer think if one of our tray tables is dirty?  That if they can’t even keep their tray tables clean, how well do they take care of their engines?”  Exactly.

How much should the condition of her room affect our overall impression of care? 


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