Leadership for Great Customer Service, 2nd Ed

Leadership for Great Customer Service, 2nd Ed

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The successful first edition of Leadership for Great Customer Service has become a definitive source for healthcare leaders seeking to transform their organizations’ approach to elevating and sustaining service excellence. The authors have continued to be highly sought-after speakers on customer service in healthcare since the book’s publication ten years ago and have consulted with more than 100 healthcare institutions in that time, adding to the content and case studies of this new edition. This thoroughly updated edition has been expanded to include practical applications and techniques that build on the well-recognized content of the first edition.

This entertaining yet practical guide presents the authors’ model for achieving customer service excellence in three parts:

  • Framing the Customer Service Mandate: Address the “why” before the “how,” and develop a greater understanding of your patients and their expectations.
  • Survival Skills for Achieving Great Customer Service: Make the customer service diagnosis, negotiate and resolve expectations, and create “moments of truth” that drive customer experience.
  • The A-Team Tool Kit: Explore the types of dialogue and behaviors displayed by A-Team versus B-Team members, coaching tips, the importance of scripts, and how to reward champions to leave a legacy for your organization.

New to this edition are a highly pragmatic set of tools, known as “The A-Team Tool Kit,” which spans ten chapters. The A-Team Tool Kit puts evidence-based applications, guidelines, techniques, and advice in your hands to achieve service excellence. Also provided in this edition is a summary of Survival Skills at the end of each chapter.

Thom A. Mayer, MD, FACEP, FAAP; Robert J. Cates, MD

Part I: Framing the Customer Service Mandate

1. Getting Started: Why Worry About Customer Service in Healthcare?..........3

The Importance of Healthcare Customer Service: An Introduction.........3

Getting the “Why” Right Before Attempting the “How”........................7

A-Team Members Versus B-Team Members..........................................9

Changing Behavior: Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Change.........................15

Introduction to the Survival Skills.........................................................16

Conclusion...........................................................................................17

Survival Skills Summary........................................................................17

References.............................................................................................18

More Resources on Customer Service...................................................19

2. Understanding Expectations......................................................................21

Expectations for Great Customer Service..............................................21

Failing to Meet Expectations: The Origins of Complaints.....................22

Creating Patient Loyalty by Exceeding Expectations.............................24

Conclusion...........................................................................................26

Survival Skills Summary........................................................................27


References.............................................................................................27

3. Are They Patients, or Are They Customers?................................................29

High Versus Low Expectations..............................................................32

Importance of Language in the Healthcare Journey...............................33

Good Patients?......................................................................................34

What Percentage Patient, and What Percentage Customer?...................36

A Preview of Part II and the First Survival Skill.....................................38

Survival Skills Summary........................................................................40

Reference..............................................................................................41

More Resources on Patients Versus Customers .....................................41

Appendix 3.1........................................................................................41


Part II: Survival Skills for Achieving Great Customer Service

4. Survival Skill 1: Making the Customer Service Diagnosis and

Offering the Right Treatment .............................................................45

Where Are We?.....................................................................................46

Making the Customer Service Diagnosis...............................................47

Expectation Creation............................................................................52

Verbal Skills and Complaint/Compliment Analysis...............................61

Survival Skills Summary........................................................................62

References.............................................................................................63

More Resources on Making the Customer Service Diagnosis................63

5. Survival Skill 2: Negotiating Agreement on, and Resolution of,

Expectations.......................................................................................65

What Is Negotiation?............................................................................67

The Role of Listening in Negotiation....................................................67

Approaches to Successful Negotiating...................................................70

Negotiation Steps..................................................................................75

Survival Skills Summary........................................................................85

References.............................................................................................86

More Resources on Negotiation in Service Excellence...........................87

6. Survival Skill 3: Creating Moments of Truth..............................................89

Vision, Mission, and Values..................................................................90

Moments of Truth—The Nordstrom Story...........................................92

The Open-Book Test Approach to Patient Satisfaction Surveys.............96

Moments of Truth—Teamwork..........................................................101

Moments of Truth—The Star Thrower................................................103

Survival Skills Summary......................................................................105


References...........................................................................................106

More Resources on Moments of Truth................................................107

Appendix 6.1: Select Questions from the HcahpS Survey................107

Part III: The A-Team Tool Kit

7. The A-Team Tool Kit, and the Three Key A-Team Behaviors....................113

The Three A-Team Behaviors..............................................................114

Survival Skills Summary......................................................................123

References...........................................................................................124

More Resources on the A-Team and Active Listening..........................125


8. A-Team Tool 1—Empowerment: Point-of-Impact Intervention,

Service Recovery, Leading Up...........................................................127

Thick-Rulebook Organizations Versus Thin-Rulebook

Organizations...................................................................................128

Narrow Corridors for Success, or Wide Corridors for Success?............129

The Empowerment Paradox: Empowered Accountability....................129

Empowerment: Point-of-Impact Intervention.....................................133

Empowerment: Service Recovery .......................................................135

Empowerment: Leading Up................................................................140

Survival Skills Summary......................................................................145

References...........................................................................................146

More Resources on Empowerment......................................................146

9. A-Team Tool 2—Dealing with the B-Team..............................................147

Dealing with the Difficult (B-Team) Patient.......................................147

Dealing with B-Team Members..........................................................151

Dealing with B-Team Bosses...............................................................156

Survival Skills Summary......................................................................157

Reference............................................................................................157

More Resources on Dealing with the B-Team ....................................158

10. A-Team Tool 3—Patient Satisfaction Coaching........................................159

The Role of Data Mining in Focused Patient Satisfaction Coaching....163

Survival Skills Summary......................................................................165

References...........................................................................................166

11. A-Team Tool 4—Rounding.....................................................................167

Types of Rounding..............................................................................168

Survival Skills Summary......................................................................174

References...........................................................................................175

More Resources on Rounding.............................................................175

12. A-Team Tool 5—Scripts: Using Language to Improve the

Patient Experience............................................................................177


Why Scripts?.......................................................................................177

Not Just Any Scripts...........................................................................180

Developing Scripts..............................................................................182

Script Examples..................................................................................186

Survival Skills Summary......................................................................194

Note...................................................................................................195

References...........................................................................................195


13. A-Team Tool 6—Hiring Right.................................................................197

Guidelines for Hiring Right................................................................198

Conclusion.........................................................................................201

Survival Skills Summary......................................................................201

Reference............................................................................................201

More Resources on Hiring Right........................................................201

14. A-Team Tool 7—Innovation: Next-Level Thinking..................................203

Why Improve?....................................................................................204

How to Improve.................................................................................208

Survival Skills Summary......................................................................210

References...........................................................................................211

15. A-Team Tool 8—Flow and the Psychology of Waiting.............................213

Defining Flow.....................................................................................213

The Value of Flow...............................................................................215

The Importance of Flow......................................................................216

Putting Flow to Work.........................................................................216

Express Admitting Units.....................................................................219

ICU Fast Tracking...............................................................................220

Evidence-Based Admitting Criteria ....................................................221

Flow and the Psychology of Waiting....................................................221

Flow as the Final Frontier?..................................................................224

Survival Skills Summary......................................................................224

References...........................................................................................225

16. A-Team Tool 9—Rewarding Champions.................................................227

Benefits of Rewarding Your Champions..............................................230

Survival Skills Summary......................................................................230

More Resources on Rewarding Champions.........................................230

17. A-Team Tool 10—Leaving a Legacy.........................................................231

References...........................................................................................233


About the Authors.............................................................................................235

2014 / Softcover/ 275 pages /ACHE Management Series Book
ISBN: 978-1-56793-642-1
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