The ‘Wow!’ factor: How to amaze your customers and prospects

We all want our organizations to have a focused brand.

Your brand is the set of touch points that tells customers and prospects, “We’re the only place where you can get what you want.”

But for most of us, it’s a strategy of hope rather than a reality because we fail to do three things:

  1. Identify each touch point.
  2. Determine which ones are the most important.
  3. Act in a certain way that makes the customer or prospect say, “Wow!”

When we do those three things consistently, the “Wow” occurs. Customers and prospects notice what we do and how we do it. They’re impressed.

How a hospital wows patients

Last summer, my wife spent 27 days at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Green Bay for “pneumonia and complications.” She’s fine now.

We both noticed an incredible consistency within each unit where she received care, whether it was from an RN, a specialist or the person who delivered her meals.

Each time they entered her room, they called her by name. They put on rubber gloves if they were going to touch her. Before leaving, they asked if she was comfortable and if she needed anything. Before they left the room, they used hand sanitizer from the dispenser.

Just as importantly, they demonstrated sincerity and genuine concern. And they delivered. When she asked for something more, someone promised she’d receive it, and she did. Many employees used communication devices to get backup help or other services from their peers. They were cheerful, made good conversation with patients, and even did little favors.
When shift changes occurred, the “old” RN and the “new” RN would talk to us about what was to come, so there was no doubt. We received thank you cards from the staffs of the four units where she received care. It’s rare to receive that kind of customer service from so many people.

It didn’t take long to figure out that this wasn’t by accident. Members of the hospital management team had made it a priority to figure out how they wanted others to talk about the hospital, and they had a process to make it happen.

They convened focus groups of former patients as well as the employee/caregivers to determine what great patient care would look like, and what employees should do. They were so specific that they even suggested certain phases employees could use, and they explained when to use them.

They compiled the feedback from patient and staff focus groups into a booklet called Service Moments. The hospital uses it to train the staff.

The secret sauce: surveys

How does management know something is working? Surveys.

The hospital has used a national survey company to ask for feedback in specific areas. Now, under Obamacare, it’s required. A hospital’s Medicare reimbursement level is affected by the scores developed by approved third-party services. St. Vincent’s hasn’t ranked well – barely in the top third. But I have a feeling it will see a big improvement.

Friends who had recently spent several days in St. Vincent’s sister hospital, St. Mary’s, told me, without being asked, about the service they encountered. It was identical to what we found, so it’s not a fluke.

Eric Dordel is the mastermind behind it all. He started the process with Prevea Health, the physicians group affiliated with the hospitals. When he was put in charge of patient satisfaction there, Prevea was ranked in the 17th percentile. Five years later, it’s in the 97th.

During his first year on the job, Dordel used feedback to create a list of key concepts that everyone would buy into, including hard-to-manage physicians and specialists, across all positions.

The Prevea Promise

They made these key concepts the elements of the Prevea Promise.

All employees are expected to:

  • Listen to the customer.
  • Understand the customer’s needs.
  • Share compassionate service.
  • Recognize and respect the customer’s individuality.

Why can’t you do this at your organization?

Why can’t you ensure that your business develops a consistent, focused branded experience that encourages customers and prospects to say “Wow!”?
Phil Hauck coordinates three TEC CEO groups in northeast Wisconsin.

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