Primary Goal: Serving the Customer
There are three things customers expect from any business: (1) timely service, (2) a good product, and (3) people who treat customers well and are nice to them (i.e., caring service).
Today’s customers are no longer willing to wait for anything. Unfortunately, long wait times seem to be common at many hospitals. Why? The last people who should be kept waiting are sick patients, who are scared and anxious.
Hiring the Right People
Many people hire employees by saying that each employee was brought in to fulfil a certain “purpose.” According to Schulze, "I can think of no more dehumanising and immoral statement than this, as it reduces the employee to the status of a machine or automaton. I hire my employees as human beings to join us and be a part of us. I want them to be a part of the vision and dream of our company, and I want them to gain happiness from being part of a team that creates excellence."
The Difference Between Leaders and Managers
Managers, on the other hand, are concerned with covering up their own lack of drive and ambition with excuses.
Key Points and Lessons for Radiology
Elliot K. Fishman, MD, Karen M. Horton, MD, and Siva P. Raman, MD, from the Department of Radiology at Johns Hopkins University, write in the accompanying commentary: "One of the truly important messages our staff took from Mr Schulze, and, more broadly, from the entire series of lectures, was that we are fundamentally in a service industry, in which our primary goal is serving a customer, not so dissimilar to a restaurant or a hotel. Although we clearly must prioritise the care of our patients and their healthcare outcomes, ignoring customer (i.e., patient) satisfaction is a dangerous path to tread for an industry in which volumes are stagnant or decreasing and reimbursements are falling.
"Mr. Schulze mentioned that 'timely service' and 'caring service” are critical components of a customer’s view of a business, and these are certainly features of the patient’s experience that we routinely ignore.
How many of us know whether our receptionists and schedulers are pleasant to patients? Many practices pay their schedulers and receptionists a pittance, provide little training in customer relations, and have little oversight to make sure patients are dealt with in a polite manner.
"Mr. Schulze’s talk also reminds us of what Gary Glazer once described as the 'invisible radiologist': the idea that a large proportion of the public has little idea who radiologists are and what they do, and the fact that this misunderstanding of the radiologist’s role is made worse by our field’s lack of effort in establishing contact with patients. If, as Mr. Schulze argues, the success of a business is highly dependent on the personal interactions a customer has with its employees, should we not, as radiologists, make a greater effort to directly interact with patients, instead of merely relying on our technologists, nurses, and receptionists?
"Perhaps it might not be advisable to directly speak with every patient about his or her imaging results. However, radiologists must become cognizant that we are, in fact, running businesses and that the long-term success of those businesses might be helped by introducing ourselves to the patients in the waiting room, being friendly (and available) if patients call our facilities with doubts about their procedures or with questions about what their radiology reports mean, and if we actually take the time to talk with and introduce ourselves to patients before their procedures."
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