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Kara Redoutey, MBA

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

It is difficult to take ownership of things you didn’t do.  It’s slightly easier to take ownership of something you did do. However, in either case, taking ownership of mistakes takes humility, accountability, and honesty, especially when you are talking to a patient/customer who isn’t very happy or understanding of the mistake that occurred.  It’s also much easier to say “there’s nothing I can do about that” and move on, rather than take the time to help resolve the issue at hand.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Recent research published states that the most important factor in promoting positive word of mouth is employees taking ownership of customers’ concerns.  Customers can relate to the fact that we are all human and mistakes happen.  So what matters most in service recovery is what we do when a mistake does occur. How do we handle it?  Taking ownership shows the customer that we care about them.  Following up on their issues shows that we care to do something about their concerns.  Taking ownership and following up with our customers when they have concerns can make the biggest impact on their perceptions of the entire patient experience with our organization.

How can you do it? 

  1. Listen.  When customers have an issue, they want to be heard. They want to know that the company is willing to listen and really hear their concern.
  2. Show empathy.  We have all had something go wrong at one time or another. Apologize and let them know you understand how they may be frustrated. Show that you care that things didn’t go perfectly for them. Let them know they are not alone and express our desire to improve the situation.
  3. Communicate. You must communicate with the customer along the way.  It may take awhile to determine next steps or follow up on their concern, but active communication helps the customer know you are working on their issue and you haven’t forgotten about them.
  4. Close the loop.  Most of the time, we cannot solve the issue ourselves. Following up with the customer to let them know an answer or next steps for their concern is imperative.  You can listen to their entire story, but if you stop there and don’t get others involved to help resolve the issue, the customer won’t remember all the time you took to listen.  Taking the time to follow the steps outlined above will greatly improve your chances of recovering from the organization’s mistake or service failure.

How do you take ownership of customer concerns in your workplace?

The post Creating and Sustaining a Service Culture: Take Ownership of Customer Concerns appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Kara Redoutey, MBA

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

At times, we view our time as more valuable than our patients’ or colleagues’ time.  We may not realize how long a patient has been waiting because we are so busy completing our work.  We administer a test multiple times a day and forget the patient isn’t as familiar with how long the test will last.  There are many reasons why we fail to share the time something will take and delays in the visit, but it makes a huge difference with our patients when we communicate both.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Time is valuable.  Think of your own time. Specifically, think of an experience when you were very frustrated because you thought someone was wasting your time or when a hostess gave you an inaccurate wait time at a restaurant.  How did it make you feel?  Think of how you felt and now imagine what our patients or colleagues feel when we don’t share duration or delays with them.  We have mentioned this before in the past, but when our patients are visiting us, they are giving up a lot of control for this visit.  Letting our patients know when and how long the steps of their visit will take gives some control back to them.  It allows them to prepare for the next step, additional wait time and helps them to know if this delay impacts the rest of their schedule that day.  It gives our patients a better idea of how long each step will take.  And because you are not keeping them in the dark about the time everything will take, they may be more understanding about delays that occur.

How can you do it? 

  1. Communicate often.  Any time you are taking a patient for a test or procedure, share the time it will take to complete it. Patients appreciate knowing how their time is going to be spent. If there is a delay in care, share how long the delay will be and what the patient can expect next.
  2. Listen to concerns and apologize for delays. It would be great to eliminate all delays, but we know this isn’t likely.  Apologize when your patients are experiencing any delays and listen to the concerns they share about them.  Listening and apologizing for inconveniencing your patient will go a long way.
  3. Give the patient options if there are delays.  Give the patient an option to reschedule or make a change if the delay is going to be considerable.

How do you communicate duration and delays to your patients?

The post Creating and Sustaining a Service Culture: Share the Duration, Time is Valuable appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Kara Redoutey, MBA

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

We do many of the same things every day or every week so we forget that our patients or colleagues may not understand what and why we are doing something.  We may assume that the patient or colleague already knows what and why we are performing a task.  We may think somebody else has already informed them.  In healthcare, we should a lot of technical terms and acronyms, so we may worry that we won’t be able to use appropriate lay terms to explain the process or next steps.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Patients generally want to know what’s happening and why, even if your explanation of a difficult and complex process seems unsophisticated.  If you take the time to explain what you are doing and why you are doing it, it can improve the patient’s perception of care.  Have you ever been in a situation where the people around you are doing things that impact you, yet you have no idea what they are doing and why?  It is a powerless feeling when you don’t understand what and why something is happening to you.  Patients are sometimes already feeling insecure and out of control when they are at the hospital, so we have a real opportunity to empower and involve them in their care by simply talking about what we are doing and why, while we are doing it.  It doesn’t take any more time to talk about the process while we are performing it and we get the added bonus of the patient feeling much more informed.

How can you do it? 

  1. Talk through your tasks while you are completing them.  You don’t have to do anything special. Just say what you are doing and why.  Here’s a simple example: I’m going to check your blood pressure using this cuff wrapped around your arm.  It will tighten and then slowly loosen up while it is taking the measurement. You may feel a little pinch when it tightens.  Now I’m documenting your blood pressure in the electronic health record so the doctor can see it.  Once I complete that, you should have a few minutes to rest until the doctor comes in to examine you.
  2. Make sure you use terms that your colleague/patient can understand.  Patients may not understand the acronyms or technical terms we use in healthcare, but you can still explain what you are doing in a simple, easy to understand way. For example, for a blood glucose test you could say “we are going to do a test that checks to see how much sugar is in your blood.  If there’s too much, we will have to give you some medicine to lower it a bit. You will feel a slight prick to your finger and then we will use a strip in this machine to collect a tiny blood sample.  Are you ready?”
  3. Ask your colleague/patient if they have any questions about what you’re doing.  When you are taking the time to explain things, it also gives you an opportunity to make sure the patient understands what’s happening. By explaining things and answering questions, the patient’s perception of quality of care will likely increase overall.

What methods do you use to share what you are doing with your colleagues/patients?

The post Creating and Sustaining a Service Culture: Share an Explanation appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Kara Redoutey, MBA & Service Leadership Team Members

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

When a colleague or patient is talking to you, have you been guilty of preparing your response while they are talking?  I know I have done this in the past.  When we start preparing our answer while attempting to listen to what the person is saying, we fail to hear or comprehend fully what the other person is trying to say. We can’t communicate effectively if we aren’t entirely sure what the other person has said to us.  Research suggests that 70-80% of our time we are engaging in some form of communication with 55% of our time spent listening.  Given those statistics, you may be surprised to learn this one: most humans only remember approximately 25% of what they heard.  It’s no wonder that we seriously struggle to listen intently and communicate effectively.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Listening is an incredible skill you can hone and develop and is extremely important to effectively communicate with our colleagues and patients. Listening impacts how effective we are at our jobs and the quality of the relationships we have with others. If we want to improve the perceptions of others that we care, we must practice giving the gift of careful listening. Careful or “active” listening is when you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words the other person is saying, but use all of your senses to understand the complete message.

How can you do it? 

SOMC follows the GIFT framework to assist us in remembering to give the gift of active listening.

  1. G – Give your full attention.  Look at the person directly, clear your mind of distracting thoughts and focus on the other person intently. Avoid preparing your next response, but do take notes to ensure you have captured the key points of the conversation.
  2. I – Indicate you are listening.  Nod and smile, using positive facial expressions. Use verbal cues to indicate you are still listening and ask probing questions related to what the person is saying. It’s important to remember that some research suggests that 93% of what we communicate comes from our facial expressions and tone of voice.
  3. F – Feedback, feedback.  Let the other person know you want to make sure you have heard and comprehended the conversation correctly. Repeat back to them the key points of the talk. Ask the other person if you missed anything important.
  4. T – Try not to judge or interrupt. Try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. Be empathetic. Interruptions waste time, frustrate the other person and limit our full understanding of the conversation.  Allow the other person to finish making their points before starting to talk.

What are your tips for listening intently?

The post Creating and Sustaining a Service Culture: Listen Intently appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Kara Redoutey, MBA & Service Leadership Team Members

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

When a colleague or patient is talking to you, have you been guilty of preparing your response while they are talking?  I know I have done this in the past.  When we start preparing our answer while attempting to listen to what the person is saying, we fail to hear or comprehend fully what the other person is trying to say. We can’t communicate effectively if we aren’t entirely sure what the other person has said to us.  Research suggests that 70-80% of our time we are engaging in some form of communication with 55% of our time spent listening.  Given those statistics, you may be surprised to learn this one: most humans only remember approximately 25% of what they heard.  It’s no wonder that we seriously struggle to listen intently and communicate effectively.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Listening is an incredible skill you can hone and develop and is extremely important to effectively communicate with our colleagues and patients. Listening impacts how effective we are at our jobs and the quality of the relationships we have with others. If we want to improve the perceptions of others that we care, we must practice giving the gift of careful listening. Careful or “active” listening is when you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words the other person is saying, but use all of your senses to understand the complete message.

How can you do it? 

SOMC follows the GIFT framework to assist us in remembering to give the gift of active listening.

  1. G – Give your full attention.  Look at the person directly, clear your mind of distracting thoughts and focus on the other person intently. Avoid preparing your next response, but do take notes to ensure you have captured the key points of the conversation.
  2. I – Indicate you are listening.  Nod and smile, using positive facial expressions. Use verbal cues to indicate you are still listening and ask probing questions related to what the person is saying. It’s important to remember that some research suggests that 93% of what we communicate comes from our facial expressions and tone of voice.
  3. F – Feedback, feedback.  Let the other person know you want to make sure you have heard and comprehended the conversation correctly. Repeat back to them the key points of the talk. Ask the other person if you missed anything important.
  4. T – Try not to judge or interrupt. Try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. Be empathetic. Interruptions waste time, frustrate the other person and limit our full understanding of the conversation.  Allow the other person to finish making their points before starting to talk.

What are your tips for listening intently?

The post Creating and Sustaining a Service Culture: Listen Intently appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Kara Redoutey, MBA & SOMC Service Leadership Team Members

Why are leaders hesitant to make a connection?

Time is typically the culprit.  We don’t believe we have the time to make a connection.  The interactions with patients are sometimes short and a lot of business information sharing has to occur in the interaction.  The feeling of limited time often limits our own ability and dedication to making a connection with our patients.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

KevinMD.com stated that…“Often patients want to feel that you are there for them.  Sometimes they are not looking for lengthy discussions and overly involved detailed information.  They want simple, accurate and informative information that is pertinent to them and presented in a genuine manner.  They want to feel that they matter, and any questions they may have are not insignificant.”  If a patient has made a connection with you, however small, they may be more apt to share important information about their disease state and may be more truthful about how they are complying with their medication regimen at home.  The more information we have, the better we can treat the patient’s condition and coach them to help themselves in the healing process.  Building a connection can also increase patient satisfaction and increase your own satisfaction with the difference you are making in the world.   Making a simple connection with patients has more positive benefits than we can really fathom and we do indeed have the ability to make connections in short amounts of time.  But we have to consistently show empathy and warmth in our interactions.  

How can you do it? 

  1.  Look for something that you can connect with while interacting with the customer. Personal clues like family, sports, hobbies and anything stated that you can cue into that shows you are paying attention and the person is special.
  2. Remember the little things.  Any time you can personalize your care/service with what you have learned about your customer, do it.
  3. Small talk is bigger than you think.  Simple conversation can set the patient at ease and make their experience much better.  You can also learn important information through chats with your customer.

 How do you make a connection with your customers/patients?

The post Creating and Sustaining a Service Culture: Make a Connection appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Kara Redoutey, MBA

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

Introducing yourself seems so simple, yet we often forget to do it when interacting with new colleagues at work or with patients throughout our day.  We sometimes assume we already introduced ourselves. We have an important task to complete.  We are worried about something going on at home and are trying to get through the day.  There are many reasons why we fail to introduce ourselves, but we must remember that a person’s health is one of the most intimate and important issues for them, and introducing ourselves can ease a patient’s fear, anxiety and make them feel a little more comfortable in our setting.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Dr. Kate Granger, a physician in the UK, launched a campaign on twitter in 2013 entitled #HelloMyNameIs, as a result of her being diagnosed with a rare cancer and the lack of introductions to her throughout her hospital visits by all medical staff.   She stated that introducing yourself is one of the first things learned in medical school, yet “this missing link made me feel like I did not really matter, that these people weren’t bothered [with] who I was. I ended up at times feeling like I was just a diseased body in a hospital bed.”  We are so focused in healthcare on delivering safe, high quality care, a complexity of processes we master daily, yet introducing ourselves, a much simpler thing, still gets lost in the shuffle. We must remember that giving compassionate, empathetic care is just as important to our patients. Your introduction sets the tone for the relationship.  A simple, positive introduction can increase communication, comfort, and build a positive relationship that fosters an environment of healing.

How can you do it? 

1.       Make the introduction about them.   I’m going to be your nurse today and my plan is to help you get better as quickly as possible. Or try, “Hi, I’m Kara, tell me something interesting about you!”  Asking someone to share about themselves and really listening can really make the introduction special.

2.       Remember that nonverbal cues are as important as the introduction.  You must smile and show kindness in your introduction.  If you introduce yourself in a monotone, flat voice, without making eye contact or offering friendly gestures, the introduction certainly won’t help you with the ongoing relationship.

3.       Share more about your role in caring for the patient or serving your colleague.  Use the introduction to strike up conversation by sharing more about what you do and asking what needs the patient or colleague may have today.  You’ll be able to help the patient or colleague more by sharing more about your role in the process.  

The post Creating and Sustaining a Service Culture: Introduce Yourself appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Kara Redoutey, MBA & SOMC Service Team Members

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

We get focused on the task at hand, often meticulously entering information into the medical record. We get distracted putting out fires or handling issues. We are focused on correcting mistakes and training co-workers.  In all of this hustle and bustle, we forget to properly acknowledge the person in front of us with eye contact, a smile, and a warm, friendly greeting.  We often have good intentions, but good intensions are not enough.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Everyone deserves to be acknowledged. Nothing makes you feel more like you are not being cared for than when you are being ignored or not acknowledged.  Whether in person or on the phone, we should acknowledge customers so they know they are not an interruption to our day, but the reason for it.  When we take the time to acknowledge the people we serve, patient or colleague, we let them know through our behavior they are important and we are present and available to take care of their needs.

How can you do it? 

  1. Make eye contact and smile with a warm, friendly greeting.  A genuine smile goes a long way. Meet their eyes with “warm” eye contact, just as you would greet your family member, remembering, quite simply, this person is someone’s family member.
  2. Meet and greet customers and colleagues within 3 feet.  Look up as you walk or as you are working at a desk as someone is approaching within 3 feet.
  3. Practice a “Heads Up” policy when interacting with customers. It is impossible to do this properly when our heads are looking down on our devices, so “Heads Up” out of the cell phone and other devices.

In what unique ways do you remember to kindly acknowledge your customers?

The post Creating and Sustaining a Service Culture: Acknowledge your Colleagues and Customers appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Kara Redoutey, MBA

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

At times, we forget how important it is to set an example of behavior for our teams.  We may get distracted and fail to give someone our full attention.  We may be busy and answer the phone sounding annoyed to the person on the other end.  We may be tired from having been up all night with our child and, in turn, been short with a team member or failed to really listen to their concerns.  We are human and there are a variety of reasons why we don’t always lead by example. No matter the reasons, we should always do our best to give perfect service despite how we feel.  We should also own up to our teams when we fail to give them the service we expect.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

This John Wooden quote really makes the case: “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own example.”  Your team is not likely to follow you if you aren’t willing to do the things you are asking them to do.  If you want your team members to develop and improve their service to your teams and patients, you must first show them how it’s done.  The example should always start with you. Even on the days we feel tired, sad, or overwhelmed, we have to push service to the forefront of our brains and deliver to our teams the level of service we expect them to deliver to our patients.

How can you do it? 

  1. Remember that you are always on stage.  No matter who you are interacting with, as a leader and service role model, you must consistently demonstrate the behaviors you are expecting from others. Someone is always watching you and will remember how you handled the situation.
  2. Model giving perfect service as often as possible.  When in situations, show your team how to do it. We want to change the old adage, from “do as I say, not as I do,” to “do as I say and do what I do.” You have a great opportunity to set the example for your teams and colleagues.
  3. Welcome constructive criticism when you are not delivering on your service commitment.  We all have moments or times where we fail to deliver perfect service to someone. Own up to it and ask your team members to call you on it.  We can make mistakes, but it’s best to make mistakes from which we can all learn and grow in an open environment where speaking up is encouraged.
When you’re day isn’t going as planned, how do you push yourself to make service a priority?

The post Creating and Sustaining a Service Culture: Lead by Example appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Kara Redoutey, MBA Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this? An article in The Harvard Business Review shared a quote from a professor at Columbia University saying, “It’s all too easy for businesses to become inward focused, to think about their own activities rather than what the customer is going through. They think they’re focused on the customer, but they really aren’t.”  This quote was a great reminder that we don’t always put ourselves in our patients’ shoes.  We often focus on our own processes and outcomes, rather than thinking about how our patients feel in the interactions with us. At times, we don’t really think about the overall impact that our everyday service has on our patients and the long term effects of failing to deliver on our commitment of giving perfect service. What is the case for doing it anyway? Our mission to make a difference in our community is served in part by providing excellent service to our patients.  The more consistent we are in delivering positive patient experiences, the more patients will support the organization and continue to choose us for their care.  It is an amazing feeling to have made a hard, time consuming, or difficult situation just a little bit better for our patients by demonstrating to them how much they matter to us through our service to them. How can you do it?  Do your best to model The SOMC Way in every interaction with our patients and co-workers.  We will all be better for your commitment to focus on making each patient experience a positive one. THE SOMC WAY
  1. I will acknowledge my customers with a warm smile, friendly greeting and eye contact.
  2. I will introduce myself to my customers, sharing my name and my role in caring for them, and I will call my customers by the name they prefer.
  3. I will make a personal connection with my customers by treating them like I or my family would want to be treated and remembering the “little things” to make them feel special.
  4. I will communicate respectfully with my customers by listening attentively (sitting down if in person) and displaying positive, open body language.
  5. I will explain the tasks I am performing for my customers by narrating while I am completing them, using terms that my customers can understand.
  6. I will keep my customers informed of the duration of their tests and treatment and up-to-date on any delays in their care.
  7. I will thank my customers for choosing SOMC for their care, and always ask if they need any additional assistance when my interaction with them is ending.
  8. I will take ownership of issues or problems for my customers, apologizing for the concern, working to find a solution or someone who can help me, and following through to fix the situation.
  9. I will be professional while representing SOMC through my neat, clean appearance and professional conduct.
  10. I will be a respectful team player at SOMC by anticipating my co-workers’ needs, helping where and when they need help, and acknowledging that all jobs and departments are important in delivering a positive patient experience.
What are some of ways you personally use “The SOMC Way” strategies to deliver perfect service to your patients or colleagues?

The post Creating and Sustaining a Service Culture: What is the SOMC Way? appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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