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By Stephen W. Earnhart, RN, CRNA, MA
CEO, Earnhart & Associates, Austin, TX
So much of what we do at our hospital or surgery center can seem overwhelming, making it difficult to keep track of all the details. However, it is important to remember that we are in a service industry that thrives on relationships. Our primary target relationship is our surgeons. Next, our patients, followed equally by patients’ friends and family and our own staff.
It is easy to forget who we serve, but it is always important to be reminded. While we often (perhaps subconsciously, anyway) think of ourselves as a higher service provider, we really share the same retail markets as a Walmart or McDonald’s. Consider that retail business is defined as the activity of selling goods or services directly to consumers or end users. This might be a rude awakening, but it is shockingly true.
What do other service industries provide to their consumers? Probably more than what most of us provide. The greatest benefits might be job security, full-time employment, retirement plans, and full benefits that make it tough for many facilities to compete. Typically, our education and training requirements are higher; ergo, higher pay. But our hours are not all that attractive for most. We might get an employee discount, but it involves surgery. Like most things in life, it is the little things that make a difference to all of us in healthcare and retail.
Over the years, I have made a list of things I have done, heard of, seen others do, thought of, or dreamed of. I am sure you could add other items to the list below. The following are gestures that really can enhance and promote great customer service and will set you apart from others. These suggestions are of a personal and not business nature; however, you are a part of the business with which you work and it will, at the same time, promote a better image of your facility.
For me, this is the oldest I have ever been; yet, it is the youngest I will ever be. I am going to try to make every day count and try to follow as many of these “little things” as I can:
(Earnhart & Associates is a consulting firm specializing in all aspects of outpatient surgery development and management. Earnhart & Associates can be reached at 5114 Balcones Woods Drive, Suite 307-203, Austin, TX 78759. Phone: (512) 297-7575. Fax: (512) 233-2979. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.earnhart.com.)
Financial Disclosure: Consulting Editor Mark Mayo, CASC, MS, reports he is a consultant for ASD Management. Nurse Planner Kay Ball, PhD, RN, CNOR, FAAN, reports she is a consultant for Ethicon USA and Mobile Instrument Service and Repair. Editor Jonathan Springston, Editor Jill Drachenberg, Editorial Group Manager Terrey L. Hatcher, Author Melinda Young, Physician Editor Steven A. Gunderson, DO, FACA, DABA, CASC, and Author Stephen W. Earnhart, RN, CRNA, MA, report no consultant, stockholder, speaker’s bureau, research, or other financial relationships with companies having ties to this field of study.