What are Your Customer Experience Bookends?

Do you have a purposeful beginning and ending to moments of customer contact?

DECISION INTENT: A Griffin Hospital Visit Should Be Uplifting, Not Avoided

Griffin Hospital, a local Connecticut hospital has earned extreme customer loyalty. But back in 1982, Griffin was very far from beloved status. At that time, one-third of the local community named Griffin as the hospital they would avoid if they could. That rude awakening pushed Griffin Hospital to rethink their purpose and literally everything they did.

THEIR MOTIVATION: Make Griffin the Hospital of Choice in the Community

Their goal was to go from being the hospital to avoid to being the hospital of choice in the community. Griffin knew that if “choice” was the goal, then they had to readjust their purpose; they needed to move from being healthcare providers to becoming service providers. Griffin had to stop executing required tasks and determine what experience they would deliver, what patient and family emotions were involved.

They found that the emotional journey of going to the hospital begins in the parking lot. So Griffin provides free valet parking and concierge services. Music in the parking lot and lobby welcomes visitors and takes away the sterile “hospital” feeling. Says Bill Powanda, Griffin Hospital vice president, “It doesn’t matter if you have the shortest Emergency Department wait times around and deliver the greatest care in the nation; if parking is a nightmare, your patients won’t be completely satisfied.”

IMPACT: Griffin Hospital Enjoys a High Recommendation Rate

Understanding the customer emotions involved in “coming and going” from a hospital visit prompted actions that made Griffin stand out.

Those bookend experiences are part of the magnet that pulls people back to Griffin. No longer considered the “black sheep” hospital of the community, Griffin’s growth rate is three times the average for hospitals in the state. Inpatient admissions grew 31 percent from 1998 to 2007, compared with a state average growth rate of 5.7 percent. And outpatient services grew 70 percent. Not only have they become the choice of their community, but for surrounding communities as well. One-third of Griffin Hospital’s customers come from outside of the community it serves. Ten percent of administrators of U.S. hospitals want to visit Griffin Hospital to learn from them.

Do you think about how you punctuate your moments of connection with customers?

First impressions last the longest. Is yours purposeful? Does it create the ideal first opinion of you?

CLARITY CHALLENGE: Creating ­Memories ­for ­Customers

  • How would you rate your intent and ability to create purposeful moments of customer contact?
  • How would your customers say you are doing?
  • Do customers rave about a memorable experience?
  • How does your decision for delivering planned and purposeful contacts – from beginning to end – compare with the profiled beloved company?
  • Do your decisions for creating memorable bookends earn you “Beloved” status today?

Take Action: What are the most powerful moments of contact in your customers experiences?

Identify one way to plan the experience to create memories, not just execute tasks on your “to do” lists.


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