I’ve had the opportunity to see the people at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, Virginia, at work over the last several days. They are a study in what to do to build great relationships with your customers.
Here are some of the things I observed:
- EVERYONE is an ambassador. Every staff member you encounter looks at you, smiles and, at the very least, offers a greeting like “good morning” or “have a great day.” This includes people in elevators, in hallways as well as the direct patient care team.
- The staff is informed. Ask a question of any person and you will get an answer. No “um,” no “you need to ask my supervisor.” Everyone seems to know the answer or how to get it.
- Signage that is easy to understand. I had never been to the hospital complex before this weekend. I never got lost during several days of needing to find various locations and services. It was just easy.
- Great communication network. They seem to have a system where everyone on duty – from the nurse to housekeeping to the floor supervisor - has a phone number and a portable phone. This makes everyone highly reachable.
- A question-asking culture pervades. Everyone you encounter will ask before they do something. There are no assumptions; no doing things without explaining and making sure information is understood. It is refreshing to be asked rather than having to check assumptions to make sure they are correct.
- Lots of information gathering. Every staff member that entered the room had a card to solicit feedback on their service. Bulletin boards defined the service standards and offered phone numbers to provide feedback.
No place is perfect. Mary Washington seems to know that since they are always asking for feedback on how they are doing. I don’t wish a hospital stay on anyone, but if you get a chance to go there, I think you will be impressed.