This may seem like a silly question to ask, or even to write about. But truth be told, beyond the customer or patient satisfaction numbers, chances are, your employees may not like your customers or patients all that much. I am not saying that your employees are treating customers and patients with open disdain or contempt. But, the lack of employee enthusiasm, concern and caring, communicated verbally and shown non-verbally in the workplace, with average to mediocre employee satisfaction surveys, may be a pretty good indication that your employees may not like your customers or patients a whole lot.
And that doesn't really help your efforts to improve the patient or customer experience.
When little differentiation exists to tell hospitals, doctors, specialty pharmacies, home health care and other providers apart, employees, liking their customers and patients, can set you apart from your competition. And with little opportunity existing now, and in the future, to differentiate yourself in your competitive healthcare vertical, success in experience improvement will only came when your employees like your customer, patients and you the employer.
Besides, they are your front-line brand ambassadors. The visual and emotional representation of your healthcare brand. And if they don't like your customers and patients, then what does that say about your brand?
This isn't rocket science. Employees are the best brand ambassadors that exist. They can do more to create customer and patient evangelists than you may even imagine. But, if they don't like you or your customers/patients, then creating brand evangelists will be even tougher.
Marketing has a role to play. And it's not just making things look pretty.
Marketing should be analyzing customer, patient and employee satisfaction data with HR to identify trends, challenges and opportunities for improvement.
Marketing should have a mystery shopper in place to document and feedback on employee interactions in three planes- live, on the phone and in social media.
Marketing should be involved in creating or purchasing that customer or patient service training programs.
Marketing should be working with HR or Talent Acquisition to develop that employee branding campaign.
Human Resources or Talent Acquisition as the case may be, has a lot on its plate in this too. But that is a topic for another day. It is also beyond the scope of this blog.
So if you want to strengthen your brand, become a market leader and succeed in your experience improvement efforts, then your employees are going to have to like you and your customers.
Can't have one without the other.