When Eli, a twenty-something lively man from New York with Walnut-colored skin and tinted glasses entered my dad’s hospital room, he changed the atmosphere.
Eli responded to my dad’s many requests and needs with patience, a sense of enthusiastic urgency, and something that I can only describe as love. Eli serves my dad like he’s a son, not a nurse technician. I caught myself staring at the interaction between my dad and Eli with my mouth hung open.
Over the last fortnight, I’ve watched Eli and Kodjovi from Togo, Africa, and Kimberly from Texas, all nurse technicians, serve my dad with personal connection and enthusiasm. This team is surprising and delighting me with one of the best customer experiences I’ve ever had.
My two biggest takeaways from this team of fantastic nurse technicians are Be Intentional and Put Customers Over Tasks.
Here’s what they taught me.
Personal Connection is Intentional
When my dad and I met Kodjovi, well-traveled and fluent in English, French, nine dialects, and speaking some German, we talked about travel for some time. My dad, ever taking charge of situations, cautioned Kodjovi, “I don’t want you to get fired for talking to me. Get back to work.” Kodjovi explained, “This is part of the job, Mr. Al. We are expected to spend time talking to patients and families, and getting to know you.”
The primary job description of Nurse technicians is to provide basic medical care to patients. But at Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa, a big part of the job is connecting with patients. When personal emotional connection is the expectation, employees are more likely to build relationships with customers.
People Over Tasks
When Eli’s shift ended on the night I met him, he bid my dad goodnight and said he looked forward to hearing more about dad’s travels in East Africa and his chronicles from teaching middle school math for more than thirty years. I could tell Eli had spent time listening to my dad’s stories and even enjoyed them. Many afternoons Kimberly has sat on the vinyl olive green couch and chatted with dad and me.
I sense that time is built into shifts for patient connection and listening. Nurse technicians would probably tell you differently, as most employees feel they’ve got more tasks than time, but it appeared that the focus was on meeting basic needs and focusing on patient and family relations. Tasks outside of patient rooms seemed not to disrupt the commitment to building relationships.
I want you to think about how you can improve your customer experience by creating a culture that is intentional about connecting with customers. Make sure your customer-facing employees aren’t too overwhelmed with tasks to talk to and genuinely serve customers.
What changes do you need to make, so employees have time to build, strengthen, and repair customer relationships?