March 6, 2013
Think Like Einstein
cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
What do a hospital and the Executive Education division of a publishing company
have in common? Jim Hathaway, CMO of that company, would have said
nothing—nothing, that is, until his daughter had spinal fusion surgery at CHOP,
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Jim reports, “As part of the experience, the hospital practices a model of care
that they refer to as KIDS CARE. It is an acronym that covers all aspects of
patient privacy, comfort, respect and transparency for the patient and family.
For example, we were given a flyer telling us how we should expect to be treated
by all the hospital staff and were encouraged to report any violations of those
standards. The CHOP staff in turn lived by every word of this working model, and
it made a tremendous difference in comforting us through an otherwise very
dramatic life event.” (His daughter is fully recovered.)
Impressed by this level of service not just during their daughter’s hospital
stay, but before and after as well, Jim made the leap to business and thought,
“Why not provide this same level of service to our customers?”
Jim continues, “We took this model as an analogy for our own approach to
customer experience in our B-to-B world and demonstrated that the principles are
the same when making people feel special and cared for, and that seemingly small
added touches can make a meaningful difference in satisfaction and repeat
business. For example, we run some forty-five training events a month and our
focus had always been on producing the best events possible for our customers.
Now, in addition to offering top quality sessions, we also include various pre-
and post-event services, which are totally unexpected, but very much
appreciated, by our customers.“
We are still early in this process,” he concludes, “But this analogy has helped
to take the concept of ‘customer experience’ and make it real for our teams to
help deliver against. And the results have shown up in our bottom-line. We have
definitely seen an uptick in repeat enrollments, better feedback, and growing
word-of-mouth recommendations for our events.”
Transform Your Business
Develop your parallel thinking muscle. In everyday living, notice
similarities in seemingly dissimilar things. For example, how is waiting on line
in the supermarket like being nominated for an Oscar? Or, how is the deadlock in
Washington like badly behaved children?
Seek solutions outside your industry. When faced with a process, people,
resources, service, or systems problem, deliberately look at how these issues
are handled in other industries and organizations. Then, adapt their solutions
to your situation.
At the end of the day, that’s what Jim did. He noticed how really good it felt
to be treated with KIDS CARE, made the leap to thinking that approach could be
adapted to his business, and enjoyed a large pay-off by adapting that idea to
align the company’s businesses towards a common customer experience.
Make What You Say Pay — With Metaphors.
I Declare March to be Metaphor Month
In like a lion, out like a lamb.
(Yes, strictly speaking those are similes, but you know what I mean)
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