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Do You Trust Your Customers? Do You Trust Your Frontline?

Griffin Hospital in Connecticut grows ten times faster than any other hospital in their state – because they have decided to be completely transparent with patients and families about their hospital records.  This freed up healthcare workers to do what they wanted to do – share and support families in understanding and managing care.

What can you open up to your reps that they can share with customers –so that you can be a partner with them – rather than creating rules and regulations that protect you from your customers?

Honor Patients’ Right to Their Information

Griffin Hospital wanted to have no secrets between themselves and their patient “customers.” The traditional approach of doctors or medical professionals delivering only select information often left patients and family members feeling that they were not in control. It put the customer out of power and the medical professional in power. Griffin wanted to balance out that lopsided relationship. They wanted to create a hospital/patient/ family partnership. So they decided to make medical records available to patients and their families.

Mend Years of Imbalanced Healthcare Relationships

Through their gesture of making records available to patients, Griffin showed that managing the journey to health was an equal partnership between themselves and patients and their families. They wanted to mend years of a perceived imbalanced relationship, so Griffin made the total transparency of patient medical records an olive branch. Anything the hospital knew, the patient and family could know. In doing so, Griffin Hospital patients could spend all the time they wanted with their records, have them explained, and consider them their “own.” They could even make comments on their own charts.

Partnership and Trust Replaced Fear and Suspicion

Malpractice suits declined. Worried doctors feared that patients armed with this information would fuel an increase in lawsuits. The total opposite occurred: this decision reduced malpractice claims. Patients and families fell into partnership with the medical staff.

After Griffin Hospital granted patients and their families access to their medical records, malpractice claims against the hospital dropped by more than 43 percent—from 32 percent in 1996, before the policy was enacted, to 18 percent in 2005. It’s noteworthy to add that this reduction in claims dropped during a period of great growth for Griffin Hospital. Patient discharges rose 40 percent during that period, an increase that usually carries an increase in claims.

This decision stopped that cycle. Trusting patients with their own records grew patient belief in Griffin Hospital, and ultimately contributed to its growth. Griffin earned an 80 percent referral rate from customers who participated in this new decision. Surely there’s a simple gesture you can make to show customers you trust them, that you believe that trust is reciprocated.

Are You Transparent with Your Customers?

When Griffin Hospital decided to open up records to customers and their families, their trust was reciprocated in greater relationships and reduced malpractice incidents.

What information are you holding close to your vest because it gives you power over customers?

  • Is there anything you know that customers could prosper from knowing and understanding?
  • Do you believe trust is reciprocated?
  • How would you rate your intent and ability to be fully transparent with customers?
  • Do customers rave about how open and honest you are?
  • How do your decisions for transparency compare with this beloved company?
  • Do your decisions yield open, honest and transparent customer relationships, to earn you “beloved” status today?
  • Can you identify one simple gesture you can make to show customers you trust and believe in them?

 

About the author

Author of two best-selling books: I Love You More Than My Dog, which presents best practices for companies to move from an “everyday” company to a “beloved” company, and Chief Customer Officer, which is the roadmap purchased and followed by more than 60 percent of all newly minted customer leaders. Bliss was the chief customer officer leading customer focus at Lands' End, Microsoft, Allstate, Mazda and Coldwell Banker Corporations. Her company, Customer Bliss, helps leaders and their companies, such as AAA, Ameritrade, Costco, Yahoo! and Zappos, create an actionable path for driving the customer loyalty commitment into business operations.

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