Can customer service in a retail environment provide lessons on how to approach our own healthcare interiors clients?

While recently shopping at a local department store, I was struck by outstanding customer service—which almost took me by surprise. I had been to the store before, but this time there seemed to be a change.

The store personnel went out of their way to help me with a difficult item. My sales clerk even solicited the advice of a more seasoned professional to ensure I found the exact item I wanted.

They put my needs front and center and let me know that their goal was to make me happy. They did all the right things:

  • Paid attention
  • Asked questions
  • Researched the item
  • Teamed together to find a solution
  • Called other stores (experts) for advice

I left with a positive impression that will inspire me to return.

This experience had me thinking how we—as healthcare design professionals—are ensuring positive experiences. As designers, our job is to help our customers (the healthcare provider) help their customers (the patient).

Here are some good reminders on how we can approach healthcare providers:

  • Anticipate their needs

Make it easy and efficient for them

  • Know when to bring in experts
  • Continuously exceed their expectations
  • In this tight economy especially, customer service easily can be a competitive differentiator. As we all work to improve the patient experience with better designed healthcare interiors for our clients, we might ask ourselves: What are we doing to be outstanding?