Skip to main content

Don't Bother Trying To Hide "Merely Average" Service

Chicago-area Adventist Midwest Health comes clean about “merely average” costumer service results. It’s an unusual approach, but far better than pretending.

Is your service merely average? If so, I’ll bet you’re hesitant to dish publicly. It’s tough to say “We know we’re not very good and here’s what we’re doing about it.”

But exactly whom do you think your silence is fooling? Your customers already know. Their friends know. Your employees know, and their friends, too.

Silence Is Not Golden

That leaves you, dear leader, stuck and alone in a conspiracy of silence. Sure, you want to fix everything, touch greatness, and THEN brag about it. That could work. But if it did you wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place, now would you?

You needn’t be perfect to begin winning back that lost loyalty. Confession, we're told, is good for the soul.  It's a healthy habit for businesses, too.

Better to admit the obvious and get the discussion back on your side.  How?

Shape the story around your journey and the destination, NOT the starting line.

Try equal doses of honesty, humility and transparency. I know it’ll feel weird for a while, but trust me.

Your customers and employees will love even more what they helped fix, so seek out wide-ranging inputs and ideas, from sources traditional and offbeat, from the few customers who still love you and the many you’ve pissed-off and ignored.

Small steps, improve, communicate, repeat.

But since words are easy and action is difficult, you must maintain a laser-like focus on measured, visible solutions. 

And that's when the hard work begins. See, to win the battle you must actually improve, not just talk about improving.  You'd hate to adopt a branding strategy of "We're no worse than anybody else" but, absent real improvement, that's what you're left with.

Fooling people repeatedly is not a great business strategy, but you already know that. You’ve read this far, after all.


Popular posts from this blog

Becoming Consumer Friendly In Five Easy Steps...Or Not

An article at offers hospitals 5 steps to becoming more consumer friendly.

If you still think there's a secret sauce to your hospital becoming more "consumer friendly," these 5 steps are as good a place to start as any.  Unfortunately, it's a little like that old Steve Martin comedy bit where he says he'll teach you how to be rich. The first step is to go find a million dollars.

Step 1 from the article is realizing that "...a Medicare beneficiary with chronic conditions is different from a young mom who brings her kids in for an annual check-up." This is market segmentation for beginners, and, yes, one size decidedly does not fit all. I'm sure your marketing team's been saying this for a while.

Steps 2-5: have a strategy, metrics, a champion and resources. OK. Hard to argue with any of those.

But those things, alone or together, won't overcome culture. They're important components to be sure, but insufficient without a …

My Take On Anthem-Cigna, Big Dumb Companies and the Executives Who Run Them

After last Friday's Appeals Court decision, Anthem's hostile takeover of, er, merger with Cigna has but a faint pulse. Good. Unplug the respirator. Cigna's figured it out but Anthem is like that late-late horror show where the corpse refuses to die. Meanwhile, 150 McKinsey consultants are on standby for post-merger "integration" support. I guess "no deal, no paycheck..." is powerfully motivating to keep the patient alive a while longer.

In court, Anthem argued that assembling a $54 billion behemoth is a necessary precondition to sparking all manner of wondrous innovations and delivering $2.4 billion in efficiencies. The basic argument appears to be "We need to double in size to grow a brain. And just imagine all those savings translating directly into lower premiums for employers and consumers." 

Stop. Read that paragraph again. Ignore the dubious "lower premiums" argument and focus on the deal's savings.

$2.4 billion saved from a p…

Another Day, Another App, Another Satisfied Customer

How might health care providers use technology to turn customers' mobile phones into information displays and ordering devices? A few years ago, the NY Times outlined how retailers are doing it...
"(Designer Norma) Kamali is at the forefront of a technological transformation coming to many of the nation’s retailers. They are determined to strengthen the link between their physical stores and the Web, and to use technology to make shopping easier for consumers and more lucrative for themselves.

Cisco Systems, the supplier of networking equipment and services for the Internet, is also a leader in the field. The company’s Mobile Concierge system is capable of connecting customers’ smartphones to retailers’ wireless networks — so a shopper could type “Cheez Whiz” into a cellphone, then pinpoint its location in the store." Ms. Kamali's boutique installed a technology called ScanLife, "allowing people to scan bar codes on merchandise and obtain details about the…