Hospitals aren’t hotels

Thank you Captain Obvious. For a start, there's a great deal more at stake.

Nobody slips off to a hospital for a few days to lie about and chill; they're there because they're compelled to be, and they anticipate their stay is going to be marked by discomfort and probably pain. When things go badly in a hotel you may end up with a disgruntled guest who had to send his cold soup back. It's a very different scenario when things go badly in a hospital.

There are major differences, but there are also similarities. The highly qualified professionals in both hotels and hospitals are overseeing complicated multi-faceted organizations. Their skills are paramount in providing the successful outcome anticipated when either guest or patient become their responsibility. But neither the Swiss hotel school trained general manager or the brilliant heart surgeon are likely to be there when the guest or patient arrives on site. They aren't going to be the first impression. They aren't admitting the patient, they aren't taking the guest to their room, they aren't checking in every time the patient rings for assistance and they aren't inquiring how they can improve their stay. Simply put, they aren't going to be the face of their organization. In fact, the guest may never see the hotel manager and most of the time the patient spends with the heart surgeon they're likely to be unconscious. So vitally important as they are, they are just a part of the impression the patient will form that ultimately makes up the "patient experience."

In hotels, the people with whom guests interact most, and who, therefore, have the most control of how they perceive their experience are the cheerful valet parking attendant, the efficient welcoming receptionist, the smiling cleaner in the corridor who genuinely wishes you a good morning, the wait staff who remember how you like your coffee and the server who anticipates what might enhance your stay. Unfortunately, not everyone is instinctively cheerful, efficient, welcoming, smiling with a good memory, and ability to empathize. These are skills that great hotels train people to excel at every day. It isn't something that can be left to chance, or hope that it will turn out alright in the end if we keep muddling through. It has to be taught to the required standards. Implementing effective ongoing training programs is how hotels create a culture of excellence that results in the highest levels of guest satisfaction.

And so with hospitals, the person remembered is the one who spends an extra moment with a patient or their family and demonstrates they recall something mentioned at their last meeting: the doctor who talks to the patient as an intelligent human being with legitimate worries; or the nurse from another part of the hospital who takes the effort to chat when going up in the elevator. "Everyone is so friendly and helpful here" is a large part of a successful patient experience. Hospitals are busy, stressful places with life and death decisions being made all the time, and they are not hotels. But hospitals who expect staff to make patients feel they are genuinely interested in them personally, or hold them to specific standards in order to elevate their patient satisfaction ratings, might look to how great hotels have invested in training to successfully create such a guest centric culture.

About the FreemanGroup Service Solutions
 Since 1985, over 500 of the world's leading organizations, including hotels, casinos, government tourist boards, retailers, airlines, airports, cruise lines and hospitals, have partnered with FreemanGroup Service Solutions to develop, train and implement their hospitality programs.


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