Sometimes, I think customer service is a tool that gets lost in the daily hustle for healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals. That’s unfortunate, as customer service is an effective tool for any situation. Whether engaging with the C-suite or one of your more “frequent flyers,” we in HTM are offering a product and it’s important that our customers should be happy with it.
Customer service isn’t about hitting a metric or your bottom-line target but about building a relationship with your clientele. These relationships benefit both parties through trust. With that trust, our customers become comfortable bringing issues to HTM because they know they will be addressed appropriately. Instead of running an issue up the chain, customers will take the time to call you and discuss.
We as HTM professionals benefit from these open lines of communication, which lets us be more in tune with our systems. And, this allows us to increase efficiency, effectiveness and uptimes. Over time, this positive feedback loop builds upon itself, eventually benefiting the whole organization. Through customer service, which builds trust, the organization as whole can now offer a better product.
Now, I can already hear some of y’all saying you don’t have time to provide that level of customer service or that some of your customers are beyond help. Let me put it this way—providing excellent customer service is basically doing preventive maintenance on your relationships at work. Just how you check on your important systems every morning during rounds, you should also check on the customers that rely on that system.
If you prevent an unexpected breakdown by staying in tune with your systems, you can save your organization time and money. The same is true for a breakdown in trust and communication with your customers. Putting in the time and effort now can save you many times over in the future.
So, the next time you go out on rounds or to a meeting, double check to make sure you’re taking customer service along in your toolbox.
Lucas Marsh is chief of healthcare technology management for the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, SC, and a member of the Technology Management Council.