Yesterday, I received this kind message from the CEO of the hospital where I had the difficult time in the emergency room this past weekend.
I appreciate his response, and — in fairness — wanted to post it in its entirety:
Dear Mr. McKain:
I truly appreciate your above-and-beyond efforts to bring your Emergency Department experience at our Siena Campus to my attention. You are correct: No patient should have to experience what you experienced in our ED. We strive every day to provide excellent care to every patient every time. I am truly sorry we did not provide that level of service and care to you, and that we let you and your family down. Please accept my sincere apologies.
I have asked Allen Marino, M.D., our chief medical officer, to review your experience and to provide a response to the communication and other problems you experienced in our ED. In addition, I will ask Maggie Rafferty, our patient experience officer, to review the breakdown in relaying your online and phone survey comments about the service you received to our administrators.
Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do at this point to ameliorate your Saturday night ED experience entirely, and we are truly sorry for that. However, please know that I personally will see that your comments are responded to thoroughly and promptly. I also will personally ask our staff to do their utmost to ensure this does not happen again to you or anyone else. Thank you, again, for bringing this to my attention in such a prompt manner. I hope we can serve you again in the future, and in a much more prompt and appropriate manner.
Rod A. Davis
Senior Vice President of Operations Nevada
President/CEO Siena Campus
Here are the points I liked best about Mr. Davis’ response:
- He apologized
- He took ownership of the problem
- He outlined the steps that he would be taking to fix what was broken
Here is an area that I might suggest all of us should examine and improve:
The letter says, “Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do at this point to ameliorate your…experience…” — and the dictionary defines “ameliorate” as “to make something bad or unsatisfactory better.” Yet, by taking the steps he commits to, Mr. Davis IS doing something to ameliorate my experience.
- However, I also infer that there is nothing they are going to do for me to “make it right.”
Strange, isn’t it? It’s like the letter is saying: Here are all the steps that we are going to take internally so this doesn’t happen to anyone else — yet, there’s nothing we’re going to do for the customer who had to sit in an emergency room for seven hours.
I’ve read the research where customers expect a lot less than we would imagine to make things right.
- And, it’s important to note: I’m not looking to get anything out of this — other than to assist the hospital in making certain it doesn’t happen again — and, to use it as a lesson for all of us who are committed to delivering the “Ultimate Customer Experience ®.”
However, could you imagine how much better it would feel, if you were in my position, to get a Starbucks card, for example, with the message, “Let us buy you and your wife a cup of coffee — and prop your leg up, so that knee gets better!” Or, just a little bouquet sent to my wife with the message, “Sorry we kept your husband all day Saturday — hope this makes next weekend better!” Cost to the hospital: just a few bucks.
However, what they’re actually buying is a customer insurance policy. They are paying a small premium that dramatically raises the odds I will return to their facility instead of seeking out another.
- How do YOU respond when customers voice disapproval?
By the way…been icing the knee, and after several days, the swelling has gone down quite a bit. I’m still a little slow on my feet…but, doing MUCH better! (And THANK YOU for asking, as so many of you have. I really appreciate it!)