In business, we generally measure customer satisfaction by our sales or market share. It seems fairly obvious that if a customer doesn¡¦t like what we have to offer, why would they buy our product or service?

In a sense, hospitals are in the same boat. If a patient isn¡¦t happy with how they have been treated, they can find another hospital. But the truth is that hospitals go a step further and maybe there is a lesson there for business.

Press Ganey Associates, Inc. has developed a national database of comparative satisfaction information for the health care experience. It has become the standard of the healthcare industry and provides a means for clients to benchmark their results with peer organizations.

There is a focus that comes with measurement that invariably produces improved results. As part of the work I have been doing as a contributor to an upcoming book about best practices in healthcare, it has become apparent to me that those organizations achieving high scores in patient satisfaction have a thing or two to teach us about improving customer satisfaction and at the same time improving employee engagement.

Before an entire organization can be the best in it¡¦s field it requires each participant in the organization to be their best individually. As a firm believer in the Appreciative Process, it makes sense to enlist each person to report on a daily basis what they have done today to make their place the best place to work with a fill in the blank statements like:
Today I made a difference in an fellow employee¡¦s life by:
Today I made a difference in a customer¡¦s life by:
Today I made a difference by:

Getting people in the organization thinking positively is a critical first step and sharing the positive comments is an action that will foster more positive comments. This can also become a vehicle for encouraging initiative.

The next step is to develop a clear cut outline of expectations and then a measurement system for those expectations. Maybe those expectations could be covered by 4 major categories including: Safety, Quality, Productivity and Cleanliness. Each category can have multiple subcategories with a scoring system for each culminating in a score for each major category. Each employee must understand the system and what their score is presently. In addition to the daily ¡§make a difference¡¨ reports, each employee could establish their own goal for scores in the major categories.

A weekly review of actual scores against goals could point out areas where the supervisor could provide support to the employee to help them achieve their goal. Department heads need to review the reports for employees and supervisors at least on a quarterly basis.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for a process to engage employees in improving performance, employee satisfaction and in turn, customer satisfaction.
Wouldn¡¦t it be great then to have a vehicle for customers to rate the performance of companies and make that available to employees so that they could see how their performance affects the company ratings.

When you think about how this might apply to business, you might want to begin with a look at the feedback system in place on Ebay or the book review section on Amazon and envision how it might work for businesses. What might it look like if there were mutliple categories to rate the buying experience that might include: quality of product, shipping, terms, information provided, packaging, purchase experience, service, and much more.

P.S. This insight came from some research I have been doing for a chapter in an upcoming best practices in healthcare book. Look for Masterpieces in Healthcare Leadership: Lessons from the Field to be published by Jones & Bartlett early next year.

Author's Bio: 

Bob Cannon helpsindividuals, teams and organizations enhance performance and profitability by expanding perspective. Check out other interesting articles available in the Taking Aim newsletter available at . Bob can be reached at (216) 408-9495 or mailto: