Company reputation comes down to only 1 person – Hospitals and Healthcare.
December was an interesting time for us in that it marked the birth of our twins Hayley and Casey on Christmas Day. And from a business culture perspective it meant we had to interact with one of the major hospital groups in South Africa. This again highlighted the fact that a brand is only as strong as the behaviour of one particular person.
Being several weeks premature, the twins spent 17 days in NICU where we interact with several staff during both of the day and night shift. As in any company there were some staff worth writing home about and some worth writing to management about. It’s hard to say which was the most effective the day shifts all the night shifts but what was very clear is that there Is more than one way to skin a cat – or raise a baby.
For the most part our experience was very positive however one incident stands out. We arrived at hospital early one morning to discover our precious darlings had been moved to a new part of the ward into open cribs – a clear sign that they were progressing well and will be home soon (I guessed). We felt a bit shortchanged by the fact that they skipped the incubator stage of the development programme and when we asked the nurse responsible for them why they had been moved straight to the open cribs, we were told it was because the unit was overfull, hence the move straight to open cribs. Naturally we now felt even more marginalized – angry even – that our kids’ development had missed a step. It was in fact about another week before they came home.
How could she have handled the situation differently (her sullen attitude towards us and other parents didn’t help the situation either) allowing us as customers to feel better about our situation and the health of our babies?
Of course she could have told us that the move was due to their progress and that they no longer required the temperature to be controlled, monitors and drips. It’s a simple case of framing and communicating more positive message. That would have resulted in a far more positive view from us. It nevertheless resulted in an overall poorer experience on our part.
Recent behavioural economics research also indicates that the timing of any experience has a big impact on one’s overall recollection of an event. When we have a bad experience near the end of an event, We are more likely to recall that the entire event is being a poor one. Very much like having a great holiday tainted by a rude
hostess on the return flight. It proves yet again that your company’s brand is as strong as one individual, but also that timing plays a vital part. You need to impress your customers throughout their interaction with you. It’s no longer just about first impressions!