In each step of every customer experience there is both the business need and also an emotional need. Does your company address both?

What impact does it make on your mother when the Veterinarian takes 10 seconds to call her at home to check on her “baby” (dog) after a same day procedure? The impact is priceless, right?

When you get a call like that, do you say, “Oh, that was nice?” Why do we say that? Because we just don’t expect it… we say, “No one does that anymore.”

When I was a child, I remember being home sick on the living room couch and watching a television show of the iconic doctor, Marcus Welby, MD. Just then our family physician walked into my house to examine me. Physicians just don’t do that any more, either, but how much time and effort is a ten second phone call?

In those days, both the fictional TV character, Dr. Welby, and my family physician would have called my mother the next day to check on me, and that one phone call would have given my mother peace of mind. Her blood pressure would have dropped, her heart rate would have slowed down, and she would have said, “that was nice!” And she would have told others, too.

I recently checked into a hotel in Baltimore, MD, and as I walked into my room, laid down my luggage and computer bag, the telephone rang. It was the front desk clerk checking to see if everything in my room was to my liking. My liking? Of course, I was paying close to $200 per night for this room. But, I still said, “Ah, that was nice… no other hotel does that!”

Do they do this in other businesses? Recently I shadowed an elderly patient as she checked out of the hospital. Because she had no heath insurance and did not qualify for medicaid or medicare, she received an itemized bill for her stay. The daily charge for her inpatient room was $600 per night… just for the room! Each test, procedure, tray of food, etc. was charged separately. Did we give her $600 worth of service? One might argue, “No!” Did anyone from the Emergency Department or the Admissions team call her once she arrived in her room to see if there was anything she needed? Of course not. Who called her after she got home? And come to to think of it, who called my mother the day after her recovery from lung cancer surgery?  You guessed it – no one!  Now, some organizations are now mandating discharge phone calls for some of their patients, but that is typically a business or clinical call, does it also fulfill the emotional need of the patient?

I think we can all agree that the impact of a ten second phone call is significant, the effort is minimal, and the cost is negligible – so why don’t we do it for every guest, every customer, every patient, every day? Our ultimate goal needs to be to operationalize this. It is simple, it’s just not easy. However, if it is important enough, we can figure this out too.

Tomorrow, I invite you to start a conversation with your staff… not about the phone call process, but about the impact we strive to make on those we serve. Start with the end in mind: How can we create peace of mind for our customers in less than 10 seconds?