“Customer Service Starts With Your Employees!”

“Customer Service Starts With Your Employees!”


 If you want to serve the customer with uniform Excellence, then you must FIRST effectively and faithfully serve those who serve the customer—i.e., your employees, via maximizing tools and professional development.” — Tom Peters

       In my humble opinion, many business owners have things backward. They believe they’re doing their employees a favor by giving them a job, paying a decent wage and providing benefits. But that’s not enough if you want to be competitive today. If you want to rise to the top of the heap in your business or practice you need to get employees vested in your business.  They are the ones on the front lines serving the customer. They are the ones representing your business or practice, many times even before you see the customer/patient.   In a word, appreciate a good employee, train them properly and reward them for stellar performance.

       I’ve seen time and again employees who were taken for granted, mistreated and otherwise just plain relegated to servitude status by employers who actually had a “diamond in the rough”. An employee who just needed a little attention, training and appreciation to feel like their job mattered. Many time this can help catapult the owners’ business/practice and make an employee a real advocate for it. Some owners would say, “But that’s why I hired them. They should do this anyway!”. Oh really?

       Case in point:  I once consulted with a healthcare practice that had a receptionist who was worth her weight in gold.  She was the first contact with patients coming in to the office. This receptionist was always professional, always in a good mood, and always the same with patients no matter what kind of day she was having.  She was truly worth double to the practice than what she was being paid (although, obviously I didn’t point this out to the owner of the practice). I did, however, point out that this receptionist was critical to the practice.  I did point out a new patient would probably gauge their initial experience with this particular doctor based on how they were treated when they called to schedule the initial appointment, once they walked in the door for that appointment, and the ease of dealing with re-scheduling and payment after seeing the doctor.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I fully realize the bulk of the patient’s expectations and satisfaction will lie with the healthcare practitioner and the quality of the treatment given.  But the entire patient experience will be determined not just by the doctor but by the staff prior to and after the care of the doctor.

       In the case of this particular receptionist, the practice owner mistreated her, under-paid her and could not see past her own insecurities  in the value of this employee and how she could leverage her skills to increase the number of patients in her practice. Eventually the receptionist left and got a job with a similar practice where she is valued, respected and compensated appropriately for the value she brings.

       Taking care of and valuing employees is just good business.  I see time and again employers looking at employees as necessary overhead instead of potential money-makers for their business/practice. It definitely pays to value and train your employees.  They can truly make or break your bottom line.