Blog Post

What Are Your Customer Experience Bookends?

The manner in which customers start and end their interactions with you have been proven to be a large part of what they retain and share on social media, and with friends, relatives and colleagues. How do you engage your frontline folks to work to create a specific beginning and ending of customer interactions? Read how this company creates memories customers want to tell others to have and repeat again.

Making Griffin the Hospital of Choice in the Community
Griffin Hospital (in Derby Connecticut) has made a commitment and investment to understand the lives of patients and their families. Their goal was to imagine what it would be like to be the patient so they could improve the experience for both patients and their families. Griffin Hospital hadn’t always received this type of accolade. Back in 1982, Griffin Hospital was very far from extreme loyalty. At that time, one-third of the local community named Griffin as the hospital they would avoid if they could. That rude awakening pushed them to rethink their purpose and literally everything they did. The hospital wanted to create an experience to remember.

Griffin Hospital Decided on Music in the Parking Lot and a Piano in the Lobby

Being told that it was avoided whenever possible pushed Griffin to rethink the purpose for their hospital, physicians, and caregivers. Their goal was to go from being the hospital to avoid to being the hospital of choice in the community. Griffin knew that if “choice” was the goal, then they had to readjust their purpose; they needed to move from being healthcare providers to becoming service providers. Griffin had to stop executing required tasks and determine what experience they would deliver, what patient and family emotions were involved. What they found was that the emotional journey of going to the hospital begins in the parking lot. So Griffin provides free valet parking and concierge services. Music in the parking lot and lobby welcomes visitors and takes away the sterile “hospital” feeling. Says Bill Powanda, Griffin Hospital vice president, “It doesn’t matter if you have the shortest Emergency Department wait times around and deliver the greatest care in the nation; if parking is a nightmare, your patients won’t be completely satisfied.”

Griffin Hospital Enjoys a 99 Percent Recommendation Rate
Understanding the customer emotions involved in “coming and going” from a hospital visit prompted actions that made Griffin stand out. Those bookend experiences are part of the magnet that pulls people back to Griffin. No longer considered the “black sheep” hospital of the community, Griffin grows through customer referrals. Inpatient admissions grew 28 percent from 1997 to 2009, compared with a state average growth rate of 10 percent. And outpatient services grew 92 percent from 1998 to 2009. Not only have they become the choice of their community, but for surrounding communities as well. One-third of Griffin Hospital’s customers come from outside of the community it serves. Ten percent of administrators of U.S. hospitals want to visit Griffin Hospital to learn from them. Do you think about how you punctuate your moments of connection with customers? First impressions last the longest. Is yours purposeful? Does it create the ideal first opinion of you?

What Are Your Customer-Experience Bookends?
Griffin Hospital decided to eliminate the fear of hospital visits with music in their parking lots and a concierge in their lobby. The memory of these experience bookends bond visitors to them.

• Do you have a purposeful beginning and ending to moments of customer contact?
• Are you creating memories or executing tasks?
• How would you rate your intent and ability to create purposeful moments of customer contact?
• How would your customers say you are doing?
• Do customers rave about a memorable experience?
• How does your decision for having purposeful moments for customers from beginning to end compare with this beloved company?
• What are the marquee moments in your customers’ experiences with you?
• Do your decisions for creating memorable bookends earn you “beloved” status today?

 

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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