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Stepwise Success

Put People First

Published October 17, 2012 4:19 PM by Scott Warner

Technology is amazing. When my wife and I dine in the kitchen, we often turn on the corner TV. This TV is connected to the DVR two rooms away, which we control using a smartphone app to sometimes watch recorded episodes of The Suze Orman Show. Fast forwarding through commercials, we’re done in no time. All with a phone. Didn’t we used to make phone calls on those things?

But then Suze always reminds us, “People first, then money, then things.”

Not only is this true -- without good relationships we are motivated by greed or expediency -- it’s what customer service is all about. In the laboratory, this translates into “The best care for the patient, then billing, then lab goodies.” As a manager, it means “Fair treatment and respect for employees, then wages, then perks.”

This universal need to put the feelings and well-being of others ahead of greed and comfort isn’t just altruism. Helping others for no other reason than they need it and worrying about the details later can be great customer service, but that’s beside the point. Treating each other with respect, caring, and empathy is really all we have when money and things disappear. All of this seems obvious. Hm.

I guess one could disagree with the above priority and just say “People first.” What a great mission statement!

This doesn’t mean that all stops are pulled out for every patient regardless or that employees get everything they want. It does mean that before a decision is made there is serious consideration given to how people are affected and those people are involved in the decision. For patients, this includes family members. For employees, this includes their customers. The idea of “people first” is stated different ways in customer service -- treat the customer like family, put yourself in the customer’s shoes, etc. -- but the idea, again, seems obvious.

All the more depressing that it isn’t practised everywhere. I doubt there’s an app for that.

NEXT: Not Ready For Prime Time

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About this Blog


    Scott Warner, MLT(ASCP)
    Occupation: Laboratory Manager
    Setting: Critical Access Hospital
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