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Dreaming of a brighter healthcare future

 

Taking my 88-year-old mother to her doctor visits have become a routine and dreaded activity. I know we will wait for at least an hour in the waiting room, I know we will be led back to an examination room by a very task-focused individual and processed through the vitals. I know we will then wait in a cold and sterile examination room for at least a half hour before a doctor will breeze in shake our hands, but then never look at us again while she types in our conversation on her laptop. After sharing some medical recommendations in a jargon-laced discussion, she will shake our hands again and then tell us to make sure we stop off at the bill pay window as we go towards the exit door.

Therefore, I was AMAZED this past week, when taking my mother to a new heart doctor. I had decided I was tired of the poor service and poor way the both of us had been treated at the prior heart doctor, so I found a new one. Wow! What a difference!

The first thing I noticed at Dr. Van den Berg’s office was the welcoming receptionist when we walked in the front door. Smiling brightly, she said “Good morning! Glad you are here. It’s chilly outside, come on in and have a seat.” (she made us feel very welcome)

The second thing I noticed was within 10 minutes, a young lady called our name and led us back to the examination room. She told us her name and said she would be getting everything set up for the doctor with the current vitals status and if we had any questions for her to please ask. My mother told her she doesn’t hear well and immediately the young nurse walked over closer to her and repeated everything she had said a little louder. I noticed the look of contentment on my mother’s face. (usually, the nurse turns to me and starts all discussion totally ignoring my mother and leaving her in the dark)

Within 5 minutes, Dr. Van den Berg knocks and enters the room. Immediately you sense the warmth and compassion in his demeanor through the way he smiles, introduces himself, and then starts the conversation. He tells my mother that she has more of an electrical problem with her heart and while he could treat her, one of his colleagues would be a better fit. He explains her condition in very clear and understandable language talking directly to her and loud enough for her to hear. He takes me out to show me her x-rays and EKG results. He states again, he would be more than glad to take her on as a new patient, but also notes that if she was taken in an emergency to the hospital, it is not a hospital he serves, but that his colleague does. We agree that we will transfer to his partner.

Sincerely, he shakes our hands and tells us to stop by and see Joyce his assistant who will give us all my mother’s records and files. When we see Joyce, she has written down the name of the partner, his phone number, email, and a note by Dr. Van den Berg explaining why the referral.( she could have just given us his name and made us look up all the contact information) Joyce wishes us a Merry Christmas before we head out the door and says it was a pleasure meeting us.

The entire experience at every touch point was what I would describe as AMAZING service. Amazing, because no one else is doing it. Kind of sad, because it wasn’t anything spectacular, it was just little wows along the points of contact that added up into one big huge WOW!

Kudos to Dr. Van den Berg and Cardiology Consultants of Orlando, you get it! You know the value of Service Excellence and you know the value of treating every patient as a person and not a transaction.

 

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