In my Daily Dose video series, I explore the topics that chief customer officers must grapple with on a daily basis. Join me as I discuss what I’ve learned over the course of my 35-year career, so that you can more effectively do the work that needs to be done.
The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video below.
You matter. From time to time, as a customer, you might feel like you don’t seem to.
That’s what happened to Michelle Chaffey during a recent hotel stay. As efficient as the processes she went through were meant to be, they inadvertently designed heart out of them. The concierge Michelle encountered behaved more as a people mover and process handler than a care provider. And that’s not uncommon in a variety of industries. Sometimes process gets in the way of taking care of the human inside of it.
Do you honor your customers’ dignity?
Would you roll your mom into a hospital hallway and then leave her there? Of course not. But this type of thing sometimes happens, because someone has a specific task to execute, and they do it correctly. But even with each person executing his or her task perfectly, your mom still ends up alone on that gurney in the hallway. One person takes her from her room to her test, and then leaves her there, another does the test and moves her back to the hallway to wait for someone to pick her up. And there she waits. That’s because processes established for their efficiency don’t always factor your mom’s dignity and emotions into the equation.
Every industry has frontline employees, tasked with processing patients or customers taking calls or checking out customers. But sometimes when the focus is only on getting the job done, caring for the human at the center of it can get lost.
Start with employees
This is our grand opportunity to let people know that they matter. Treating customers with dignity and respect starts with treating employees the same way in order to deliver customer dignity.
Employees need to feel it, experience it, and receive it themselves. And they need to be encouraged to weave the delivery of dignity into their interactions with customers simply enable people to care.
The Make-Mom-Proud companies build a team of people who take care of customers and their lives. They unite employees in delivering experience, so that no matter what part of the company customers encounter, caring is consistent. They ensure one-company continuity of care.
Caring for those who care
Every person who lives their life on the front line, at one point or another needs a little empathy extended their way. They need a pep talk a hug or a reprieve. Emotionally, employees are spent or they are intellectually exhausted from putting customers lives back together again.
In healthcare, for example, when the emotional toll gets high, many hospitals practices support system called “Code Lavender.” Initially established in a hospital in Hawaii, this process was created to give emotional support to patients and family members suffering through life altering situations. Its practice has been extended now to caregivers and to care for those who care.
Calling “code lavender,” for example, brings caregivers together. They give them needed urgent emotional sustenance to help them overcome highly emotional and draining situations. And at the core of success is making it safe for caregivers to call that code with no judgment or worry. These caring “time outs” help people to rebalance, so that they can continue on with their important work.
How do you care for those who care in your company?