peace of mindThis sign might not look like a big deal but for a weary traveler who just arrived on the red-eye, it’s very reassuring. Notice the bottom line which reads, “LAST SERVICED AT 6:44am.” It’s a simple detail. But to me, it translated to one thing: No worries – this restroom is clean and stocked. And, if it reassured me imagine how many other customers will see it and not have to wonder if the facilities they (and their children or elderly parents) will use are clean.

No worries. That’s really the goal of all customer service efforts isn’t it? We don’t want our customers (whether it’s patients, family members, or employees) to be worried about what’s going to happen next. And yet, they do worry. Why? Because we haven’t given them reason not to worry. We haven’t created peace of mind.

One of the greatest challenges in healthcare today isn’t that we AREN’T meeting or exceeding expectations – it’s that we haven’t taken the time to set them in the first place. And a great way to set expectations and create peace of mind is to use a technique my team and I teach called Caring Out Loud®, which is simply – letting the customer or patient know what you’re doing while you’re doing it.

Consider the patient going for an MRI for the first time. The machine is scary looking! But imagine if the technician took a few moments to talk with the patient first and let them know things such as: the machine is loud, it makes some banging noises, we need you to remain perfectly still so we can get the best images, it should be over in about 20 minutes….etc. By Caring Out Loud®, the technician can help reassure the patient and hopefully lessen their anxiety and stress about the process.

Caring Out Loud® is a really simple tool – it’s just not easy to remember to do all the time. And much like the restroom sign letting me know the bathrooms are clean, it’s a small effort that has a big impact on the patient or customer experience.