We’ve shared the story of how Panera Bread works to reassure customers about what’s in their coffee cup. How? they take the mystery out of when their coffee was brewed. It’s simple, really. They just place a little sign near the coffee pot indicating when the coffee “was freshly brewed.” I don’t know about you, but that little sign reassures me that I don’t have to worry about whether my coffee is fresh or if it’s been sitting around unattended for hours on end.

This technique, as simple as it sounds, is a great example of a tool we call Caring Out Loud® – which is the process of caring for customers (or patients) in a way that makes them feel cared for. It is communication that is customer-centered or patient-centered and goes beyond what we’re supposed to do and say and considers thing specifically from the customer or patient’s point of view. In short, it is an action that is taken – either verbally or non-verbally – that makes customers or patients feel extremely well-cared for.

One of our team members shared this photo taken at his local church. More specifically, it was taken in the church’s daycare. Just a small little sticker placed right on the front of the diaper reassures parents that their child was well-cared for. Simple. Easy. And relatively inexpensive, too. (Don’t have stickers? Sharpies with a note and a smiley face or a heart will work just as well!)

Improving the patient experience is simple – it’s just not easy. It’s not easy because to “hardwire” a process like this of using stickers on baby diapers takes a bit of effort and a whole lot of communication. However, when caregivers at this church see how much parents appreciate this gesture, they may begin to feel a sense of pride in the work they do. The parents are happy. The employees are happy. And, I’m guessing the little ones are happy too, knowing they’ve been “changed with love.”