The Customer Experience Gold Standard

I recently had an opportunity to visit the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. I say opportunity because the precautionary tests ultimately didn’t reveal any medical issues but the visit itself delivered an incredible lesson in customer experience and established what I think should be the new gold standard we all seek to achieve.

For those who don’t know, the Shepherd Center is a world-renowned hospital famous for neurorehabilitation. It should be world-renowned for its customer experience as well. My visit was – from check-in to discharge – far and away the most professional customer experience I’ve had anywhere, much less at a hospital. When I expressed my appreciation and amazement to the woman managing the discharge window, her response brought everything together for me. Rather than saying “thank you,” she looked at me almost indignant (but in good way) and said, “We’re Shepherd.”

It was clear to me then that I wasn’t simply there on the right day or happen to get the right nurse or doctor. There was nothing random about my experience. What I witnessed was the result of a culture focused on delivering an incredible customer experience, so much so that even someone many layers removed from the board room clearly understood and valued that’s just the way things are done at Shepherd.

Yes, Shepherd is world-renowned for neurorehabilitation, but I can’t help but wonder if that is in large part because of its focus on customer experience. The “About Us” page on their website says that Shepherd patients “get an experience that brings healing and hope.” Think about that. At Shepherd, healing and hope isn’t the experience; the experience is what brings about healing and hope.

Kudos to Shepherd’s CEO, Sarah Morrison, and the entire leadership team for not only recognizing the impact of world-class customer experience but having the discipline and commitment to actually make it happen in an industry where it’s almost always ignored. Every business leader can learn a lot from their example.

Perhaps we should establish “We’re {INSERT YOUR BRAND}” as the new gold standard for customer experience.

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