#4 of 8 from "If Disney Ran Your Hospital" (by Fred Lee): Customer experience is more important than customer service

If Disney Ran Your Hospital, Customer Experience would trump Customer Service.

In the now famous book, The Experience Economy, the authors provide an insightful commentary of where our economy is heading. Back in the 1800s, we had an economy driven by commodities - cotton, water, oil, steel, etc. Then, after the industrial revolution in the early 1900s, our economy was driven by manufacturing - i.e. clothing, cars, refrigerators, TVs. In recent years, since all products are becoming semi-commoditized, value is created through services (relaxing spa, trusted investment advice, friendly dry cleaning). The 4th revolution has begun relatively unnoticed - the customer experience.

Take coffee as an example. The theory is that every step up gives you 5-10x more value. Coffee grinds run maybe a few cents. Package it into a product? maybe 20 cents. Brew a cup and sell it - about a dollar. Cozy up in a warm sofa at a Starbucks with a grande dark roast coffee, $4.

Lee quotes the authors, and so will I: "Commodities are fungible, goods tangible, services intangible, and experiences are memorable." The main principle is that experiences are personal and individualized.

In other words, we have to stop thinking of our hospitals as providing a service or a product. We have to start thinking about our hospitals as providing an experience. What kind of an experience? As Lee puts it, an experience that "engages patients on an emotional, physical, intellectual, and yes, spiritual level." And the quality, consistency, and substance of that experience may very well become the primary differentiator of your hospital. What can we do today that will make this patient visit absolutely memorable?

Lee goes on to make some excellent points of how to implement this new mindset. Scripting has to be more than words on a page, but setting up an entire experience, scene by scene. Hiring should be done based on one's talent to engage the patient. Think of roles, not jobs. In some sense, every patient room is a stage.

Lights, camera, action!

8-Part Series on "If Disney Ran Your Hospital"

The 8 Big Impact Ideas from “If Disney Ran Your Hospital”
1. Perceptions > Reality
2. Courtesy > Efficiency
3. Patient Loyalty > Patient Satisfaction
4. Experience > Service > Product
5. Intrinsic Motivation > Extrinsic Motivation
6. Habit > Imagination > Willpower > Compliance
7. Dissatisfaction > Complacency
8. Doing > Knowing