A couple of weeks ago, someone recommended Fred Lee’s “If Disney Ran your Hospital: 9 ½ things you’d do differently”. I haven’t tracked down a copy of it yet (anyone got a spare one?) but it set me thinking.
If I was laid up on a ward feeling below par, would I want an over-sized mouse with a squeaky voice telling me to “Have a Nice Day!”? Even worse, would I want a Disney Parade trailing through the ward every evening at 7pm, even if the fireworks were silent?
Over-sized fizzy drinks and fast food would probably not be a substitute even for the normal hospital (nutritionally sound) menu, but the cleanliness would be pretty damn hot – so that’s a positive.
More food for thought applying the same sort of logic – if you walked out onto the tarmac expecting to board your Virgin Atlantic flight to Florida and the logo emblazoned on the side of the aircraft was NHS instead of Virgin Atlantic – what would be going through your mind? What differences in service might you be anticipating?
A doctor or two on board would be a positive - but would there be a last minute seat reallocation to make way for a priority case? Would the pilot arrive at the last minute, having rushed from another flight (clinic) looking a bit frazzled and would the first officer have had enough sleep, or been up all night dealing with emergencies?
We do have a lot to learn from the giants of the service industries. They are good at making the customer experience positive - their success depends on it. But I wonder if the NHS brand is as good at understanding that patients = customers, and that their experience is as important as the outcome of their treatment.
Customer Care is one of the vital staff development programmes that we run now, and making sure the principles of Being Open are embedded is vital. Staff need to know that saying sorry if something didn't go right is not only OK but essential.