Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
CEO Minute: Complaints Are Opportunities to Improve

CEO Minute: Complaints Are Opportunities to Improve

CEO Minute: Complaints Are Opportunities to Improve- image0You need to meet Tim Fox.  He is the person who handles complaints for Texas Tech Physicians.  He is a very nice guy, and well-qualified for the work that he is doing.  Stop by his office on the first floor of the Pavilion and introduce yourself.  His job is important.  We have had some great folks in this role before Tim—Dennis Lamb, Mark Fikner and Bill Henderson—all three promoted.

The number of complaints across the nation in all service industries is on the rise as customers are no longer willing to accept poor service. It is so easy to view complaints as a negative rather than an incentive to learn and improve our practice. That is not a good place to go, as we say these days, because complaints can be instructive, even helpful.

Today's customer is far more informed and vocal than when I first started at Methodist Hospital (now Covenant) in the early 1980s. I am not saying people have not always expected great service; but today’s customers, or patient if you prefer, are better informed, more knowledgeable and use the Internet.  Why is the Internet a part of this discussion?  Two reasons—people obtain and send information via the Internet. “Word of click” is now as important as “word of mouth”.

Generation Ys, the people born between 1977 and 1994, as well as Generation Zs (those born after 1995) have an inseparable connection to technology, which is spilling over into older generations. I see this in my sons (both in their early twenties). They are constantly texting. Yes, the Internet is giving patients a vehicle for spreading good and bad news at the click of a mouse.  Now, more than ever, we need a Tim Fox, and actually, we all need to be ready to listen to our patients and respond appropriately.  Often we can perform service recovery and turn a complaint into something good. Maybe even make a friend for our practice.

Next week, I have a small questionnaire on how we handle complaints that I will ask you to complete. Until then…