I was lucky enough recently to spend time chatting to Bernadette Jiwa about her new book: Story Driven. The premise of the book is that every great business or great career has a backstory, a journey to now, which both compels and helps them to deliver the work that they do.
Now, the book is packed full of stories. But, there was one that stood out for me and is particularly relevant when it comes to improving service and experience.
That was the story of Moyez, Bernadette’s husband, who is also a professor at a medical school in Australia. Prior to that he was a GP (doctor) in the U.K. and he still practices one day a week in Australia.
Here’s his backstory:
Moyez was a migrant to Ireland, where Bernadette grew up. He is of Indian descent, and on his way to Ireland he, his mother and brother passed through Birmingham airport. There, at the hands of immigration officials, they suffered a huge indignity that has stayed with all of them since then. At the time, Moyez was 10 years of age, and they were all asked to strip naked and were then subject to a humiliating medical examination for infectious diseases.
What Moyez now does is that he goes and collects his patients from the waiting room, greets and welcomes them and, when they enter his consultation room, he has them sit next to him in a big comfy chair with no computer nearby.
Doing things this way, Moyez believes, changes the power dynamic in the relationship and it makes his patients feel more empowered. Sometimes patients query his approach and ask why he has them sit in the big chair. To that, he answers that they are the ones that are sick so it only follows that it is they that should be sitting in the big comfy chair.
Now, it may be seem like such a small thing but Moyez has had great success with this practice.
What Moyez’s story shows us, I believe, is two things:
- If engagement and experience is our goal then the smallest changes, particularly if they are empathetic changes, can make the biggest difference.
- Moreover, it is important to remember that the more senior, experienced and qualified we get, our achievements and qualifications, particularly in industries like healthcare or technical and professional services like those in tax, law, engineering, etc can act a barriers to engagement and communication. This sort of situation reminds me of some sage advice that I was once given when working on a project following the completion of my MBA, a number of years ago. Rob, my direct manager at the time, said to me:
“Forget sounding like an MBA and be an MBA”.
So, when thinking about client or patient experience, take a moment to consider how your client or patient feels about you, your position, your qualifications and your experience and think about what you can do to put them at ease and improve their experience.
This post was originally published on Forbes.com here.
Thanks to Pixabay for the image.