Friday, February 23, 2018

4 Ways to Lose Wait

Part 6 of 7: 4 Ways to Lose Wait

7 Ways to Improve Patient Satisfaction

A common complaint from those receiving care is excessive waiting. Waiting creates a high level of frustration and sends the message that the individual who is waiting is not important.

Countless hours of research have gone into the study of waiting, and it isn't surprising that waiting can produce unhappy customers. Based on the 8 factors that make the wait seem longer from World of Psychology on PsychCentral, here are some tips for making it less painful to wait.

Unavoidable waits

Sometimes waiting is unavoidable. So how do you manage patient expectations without slowing down the process? Here are four tips for dealing with unavoidable waits:


The aid was supposed to come at 10 a.m. but now it's almost 10:40 a.m. and the patient is feeling like they've been forgotten. Simply letting the person know that you're running late can greatly reduce waiting anxiety. The most common complaint respondents give is that the agency doesn’t communicate with them what time their aide, therapist or nurse will stop by. Find out if the person has a time conflict that is creating stress for them. Reschedule if needed.

Be present and attentive

The third most common complaint regarding waiting is that when the employee is rushing to get to their next appointment, the patient feels less important or cheated. To avoid this, explain to the patient that you need to take a minute to call the office and let them know you are 30 minutes behind. That way you won’t be rushing in their appointment and the next person will know what to expect. Another thing you can do is let the person know that once you arrive, you will provide them with the best quality of care. This sets the expectation that although you are late, they are important to you.

No excuses

It's no surprise that things don't always work out the way you plan. However, using excuses to justify long wait times can further exacerbate the problem.

Say "Thank you" not "I'm sorry"

When you finally rush in the door, instead of apologizing for running late, thank the patient for their patience. By doing this, it will help you and the patient to transition from the frustration of waiting to the happiness of being assisted. You may want to keep inexpensive but thoughtful items on hand, such as lollipops, to offer to patients as a thank you gift for their patience.

For more ways to improve patient satisfaction, visit part 7: Treat Everyone with Importance. (Coming Soon!)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Employees—Assets or Expenses?

Expense. A cost or charge.
Asset. A useful or valuable item/person that one owns.

If you have not already, you need to stop and examine how you perceive the employees at your company. The way you see your employees affects your employee engagement.


What do you do with expenses in your company? You look for ways to reduce them. When you consider your employees an expense, which they are of course, you strive to have the least amount of employees needed to do the greatest amount of work possible. It may sound a little heartless to consider an employee an expense but when it comes down to it, technically, they are.

As a common rule, a healthy company should spend less than a third of its gross income to pay its employees. This is why, if a company doesn't bring in as much income as it was hoping, it typically has layoffs. With layoffs come lower morale, talent loss, and lost productivity. While layoffs aren't the only way to deal with a overextended budget, frequently that is what's used.


The skills and intellectual abilities your employees possess is something you cannot own. Additionally, since these items are intangible, you cannot assign an exact value to them. For these reasons, employees are not true assets.

However intangible, your employees still possess value. Through their ingenuity, they can solve problems, increase efficiency and skyrocket sales. Additionally, the longer an employee is with your company, the more company knowledge they possess. As they complete tasks and overcome problems, they strengthen and hone their skills. So, if you consider an asset something or someone that appreciates over time, then an employee is definitely an asset.

Treating employees as assets

Treating employees as assets can pay dividends to you in the future and need not incur expense. Here are some ways you can show your employees that you value them as assets to your company.

  • Take time to get to know your employees and their teams
  • Reward the sharing of company knowledge
  • Increase your communication
  • Provide added reassurance during times of change and transition
  • Encourage feedback from all levels of your company on how you can improve your service
  • Listen to the feedback you receive
  • Make commitments and keep them
  • Invite everyone to increase their quality of work
  • Support the initiatives your employees are working on
  • Improve your training programs
  • Teach your managers how to provide feedforward
  • Encourage creativity

What do you think?

Are employees expenses or assets? How has treating them one way or the other affected your company? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Exceed Expectations

Part 5 of 7: Exceed expectations

7 Ways to Improve Patient Satisfaction

To thrive in today's economy, we have to go beyond just delivering what is expected. Being good is not good enough anymore. In a day and age where we can order pizza on our phones and have it delivered to our door, it can be difficult to exceed expectations. Meeting even standard expectations can be difficult when staff is short and budgets are tight. Here are a few simple ways you can move your expectation meter from hmmm to WOW. 

Low-hanging fruit

Look through your survey results and gather up all of the comments associated with scores three and below. Sort the comments into groups based off of level of difficulty to correct issues discussed. Start by focusing on resolving the negative feedback that is easiest to fix. Quick wins can give you stamina to work on harder-to-resolve problems. By saying you should focus on the low-hanging fruit, it isn't to say that you shouldn't put priority on difficult issues. Clearing up complex problems can definitely take your patient's expectations from good to great in a big way and is essential in operating a successful organization.

Under and over

Remember the old adage, "under promise, over deliver." It's far better to surprise and delight your patients with things they aren't expecting than to promise something and not deliver on it. Again, a word of caution: under promising isn't an excuse for not pushing yourself to do your best. Striving for greatness should always be your goal.

Create "WOW" moments

Simply thinking about simple ways you can do more for your patients than they are expecting is sometimes all it takes. For instance, remembering a patient's birthday or bringing along a sympathy card to a patient who has recently lost a pet.

A family member of a patient said this about her father's nurse, "One nurse knows Dad likes patriotic songs and has downloaded, 'God Bless America' on her cell phone. When he's upset, she hands it to him and it calms him right down."

These are the types of simple opportunities you can take to go beyond your patient's expectations and provide them with a special experience.

For more ways to improve patient satisfaction, visit part 6: Lose Wait.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Invest in Your Employees

Part 1 of 7: Invest in your employees

7 Ways to Improve Patient Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is directly related to customer satisfaction. When your employees are happy at work, your customers can tell. Here are a few tips for improving employee morale:

Recognizing a job well done

When was the last time you let your customers know they were doing a great job? According to Forbes, "Recognition is most effective when it's given in the context of a larger [business-related] goal." You can provide recognition for things your employees are doing to help further company goals.

We can help you identify which employees are making a difference through our interview process. When customers mention employees who have performed outstanding work, we make sure you know about it. You can even print off one of our employee recognition certificates to honor your hard-working employees. The password is 90Percent.

Ask for employee feedback

Did you know that we offer Employee Satisfaction Surveys as part of your Pinnacle HHCAHPS package? If you're not already taking advantage of this great feedback loop, here are some reasons you should:
  • Gathering feedback and following up on it shows your employee that you care about them and value their experience.
  • Open-ended questions can help you understand where your employees are succeeding and struggling.
  • You can provide better care for your patients by knowing your employees.

For more ways to improve patient satisfaction, visit part 2: Make Lemonade from Lemons.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

3 Benefits of Creating An Alumni

If you're like most companies, when a member of your staff gives their two-week notice, you prepare the exit paperwork and say goodbye. However, a few companies have discovered the value in treating their exiting staff as alumni.

An alumnus (a former member of a group, company or organization) can be a great resource to your company. Here are three types of alumni that can benefit your company.

The boomerang

Not all staff members who leave are gone for good. Former employees may leave to receive more education, others may move on to a job where they can gain new and additional experience, and still others may leave because they think they may like a different company or position better. Whatever the reason, if they like your company while they are working for you, they may want to come back. In returning, they bring experience from working at your company before and a stronger knowledge base by gaining more education or working in other positions.

The way you handle the exit experience for your employees can make a big impact on the chances of hiring former employees back on again some day. Be sure to let your exiting employee know they are welcome back if they would ever like to return.

The referrer

A lot of times, employees leave not because they are unhappy, but because they want to continue to grow through education or new experiences. These employees who leave with a positive opinion of the company can be great at referring potential new hires. After all, they know why your company is great and they can encourage friends and family who would be a good fit for the position to apply.

Not only can former employees refer potential new hires, they can also encourage potential patients to use your services. Because they know firsthand how the company operates, former employees can tell potential customers all the benefits your company has to offer. To keep former employees up to date on your current achievements, ask exiting staff if they would like to receive a special alumni newsletter that shares milestones the company hits. 

The sounding board

If you're looking for people familiar with your company to give their honest feedback about your brand and customer experience, your former employees may be a good group to talk to. Since they are no longer receiving paychecks, they're more likely to provide objective feedback than employees.

Explain (to the fourth)

Part 4 of 7: Explain (to the fourth)

7 Ways to Improve Patient Satisfaction

Usually it's not enough to explain things one time—especially in senior care. To ensure adequate communication, we need to explain what we are going to do, what we are doing, what we did and what to expect once the care provider has left.

It may sound like overkill, but if done correctly, it can make a huge difference in a patient's experience. Without sufficient explanation, patients can feel insecure, scared, or uncomfortable. Here's a patient's experience with not being told enough:

“There was one thing that concerned me. They had to do an inspection to see if I had bedsores or anything. That really bothered me because there were about five of them in there. They were looking all over my body and didn't explain anything.”

In this person's situation, the employees did not explain what was going to happen and it created a negative customer experience.

Here's a similar situation that was handled differently and produced a much more positive outcome:

"I have a wound on my backside that just won't heal. The nurse came over today to check on it. I was feeling apprehensive before she came over because it's kind of embarrassing to have a wound there. However, the way she handled it was so nice! When she arrived, she walked me through how she was going to clean the wound. Then as she cleaned it, she told me what she was doing. I knew what to expect as she cleaned it because she had told me beforehand. It took away a lot of my fear. When she was done, she said that it looked like my wound was improving based off the notes from my doctor. Before she left, she explained what I should do until she comes back. I'm so glad she's my nurse!"

Instead of looking at explaining to the fourth as repeating yourself four times, see it as an opportunity to journey with the patient through an experience.

Please share in the comments below an experience of not explaining or explaining to the fourth.

For more ways to improve patient satisfaction, visit part 5: Exceed Expectations.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Becoming An Innovative, Creative, Adaptive Leader

Vulnerability. That's what it takes to become truly innovative, creative and adaptive, says the leading national expert on vulnerability, Brené Brown.

Now if you're like most professionals, you probably feel that vulnerability doesn't belong in the workplace. After all, vulnerability, as defined by is: (1) capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon; (2) open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.; (3) (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend.

A misunderstood definition

Based off of the definition, you might wonder why you would ever want to be vulnerable. Brown, however, clarifies in her discussion on Chase Jarvis LIVE that vulnerability is a misunderstood concept. Instead, Brown defines it based off the data she's gathered as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. She goes on to say, "How can you be a good leader who's not willing to walk into uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure."

Still, the idea of being vulnerable and authentic in the workplace has been questioned by many. Herminia Ibarra, author of, "The Authentic Paradox," in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) referenced an example of Cynthia Danaher, a newly appointed general manager at Hewlett-Packard Co. who hurt her credibility as a leader by being honest about how she felt.

Danaher recalled to the Wall Street Journal that she confided to her 5,300 employees shortly after filling her new role, "I want to do this job, but it's scary and I need your help." She went on to say that the company finally had a boss who "knows how to make coffee."

Ibarra, in her HBR review article said, "Being utterly transparent—disclosing every single thought and feeling—is both unrealistic and risky."

Brown further explained to Jarvis that vulnerability doesn't have to lead to loss of credibility and injury. "What I hear people say is, 'Yes, you can be vulnerable at work but not too vulnerable.' That's like saying you can be healthy but not too healthy—you can't really be too healthy. When people say too vulnerable, what they mean is there's boundary issues."

She then used an example of a business partner who in front of venture capitalists and employees cries, 'Um, I'm in over my head. I'm not sure what's happening, and I'm pretty sure it's all going to go to [omit] in the next two weeks.'

Sharing in this way isn't appropriate, Brown said. You'd be misunderstanding your role. However, sharing that information with a therapist or possibly their partner wouldn't be inappropriate. "Vulnerability," Brown said, "requires an understanding of boundaries: where we share, with whom we share, and why we're sharing."

Boundaries and emotional intelligence

To be vulnerable, you must cultivate personal boundaries in your life. A boundary is a limit we set to help us define what is acceptable behavior from others in order to keep ourselves safe emotionally, physically and psychologically. The boundaries we set regulate how people treat us and how we treat others.

Setting personal boundaries is part of being emotionally intelligent. This learned skill of emotional intelligence helps you identify how you are feeling, how others are feeling, and how what you say and do affects others.

When Danaher told her employees that she was good at making coffee but needed help being able to fulfill her new role as general manager, she did not understand how her message would affect her employees emotionally. She had anticipated that by sharing this information, her employees would relate to a time when they started something new and felt uncertain. She assumed that by sharing this information, they would feel a bond with her because they would be able to relate. Instead, her employees felt a sense of insecurity because they were looking for someone who may not know everything but had a plan and vision for what they were working toward.

Fortunately, as previously mentioned, emotional intelligence is a learned skill, which means if you feel you're lacking, you can practice and improve.

While Danaher admits her faux pas is a painful memory, she has continued to learn from her mistake and has become a more resilient leader because of it. "A balance of openness, strength, and the ability to read others and their capacity for emotional content are all important aspects of vulnerability in leadership," Robert Beare Jr. stated in his doctoral dissertation at Capella University. He then paraphrased authors Goffee and Jones by saying, "In order to inspire followers to innovative and effective teamwork, leaders must develop the ability to be vulnerable and selectively show imperfection."

Becoming a vulnerable, innovative, creative, adaptive leader

Since we're all individual, becoming our true selves will look different for each of us. However, here are six things you can do to become more authentic:
  1. Recognize yourself as a person who is always growing and evolving. 
  2. Spend time introspectively searching who you are. 
  3. Ask others (those who are fans of you as well as those who are not) what they think of your current leadership style. 
  4. Work on your emotional intelligence and boundary setting. 
  5. Practice talking to others. 
  6. And follow Brown's advice to strive for excellence instead of perfection. Try something new, knowing it won't be perfect but that it doesn't need to be.

"Authenticity," Ibarra said, "is being aware of who you are at the core (personality, abilities, motivations, thinking/beliefs), and leading from that place."

Becoming the kind of leader that is authentic and vulnerable doesn't happen overnight. It comes as you conscientiously work toward it.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bragging Right

Part 3 of 7: Bragging right

7 Ways to Improve Patient Satisfaction

Celebrate successes internally, but don't focus on bragging externally. Focus on improving the customer experience and your customers will do the bragging for you.

Promote your successes internally

Your employees make your brand what it is. If they buy into your brand and its messaging, it's far more likely that your patients will experience what you tout your brand to be.

Make sure your employees know what their purpose is. If they feel they are doing worthwhile work and are making a difference, they will be better workers. Create a culture focused on success. Reward success.

Promote success, acknowledge shortcomings, build trust

When you communicate externally, it's important to acknowledge your shortcomings as well as promote your successes. Being authentic and transparent builds trust.

Measure to improve—not impress

Your purpose in measuring and tracking what your patients think about you should not be to impress others. Seeing how your company is performing provides you with a valuable resource to enable you to improve. All companies have weaknesses and strengths; each company is unique. Celebrate what you do well and look at your weaknesses as opportunities for improvement.

Consumers trust other consumers more than advertising

Don't take it from us, all you have to do is look on Amazon to see this is true. Consumers want to hear from other consumers what their experiences have been in interacting with a brand. If consumer reviews are low, your brand will have a much harder time attracting customers.

Encourage patients, family members, and employees to post reviews on Google and in other review venues that your potential patients search. The reviews show up on the right-hand side of the web page when someone searches your company name on Google.

Hospitals are also a key contributor to referrals. More and more, hospitals depend on star ratings to determine which companies to refer patients to. Working to improve your star rating and then promoting it to your hospital referral sources is important.

Promote honestly

Remember that more than your potential patients are listening to the messages you are sharing externally. Make sure that the messages you're telling potential patients are in line with the messages you're telling your employees. For instance, if you tell patients that they are your number one priority and you tell your employees that they need to focus on financial aspects of the company, your employees are going to see a mixed message. Dissonance in your messaging can injure your employee relationship, and it eventually makes its way to your potential patients.

For more ways to improve patient satisfaction, visit part 4: Explain (to the fourth).

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Lemonade May Be Easier to Make Than You Think

Part 2 of 7: Make lemonade from lemons

7 Ways to Improve Patient Satisfaction

Negative situations can sure leave a bad taste in your mouth. However, the way you deal with these situations can change your patients' and their families' perception of what happened. What may have started as a horrible experience can be converted into a good one if you handle things right.

What to do when things get sour

Embrace negative feedback.

  • What this looks like: Instead of focusing on placing blame or covering up process problems, take courage and open up communication. Invite those in your company who can affect change to be part of the conversation. Identify what success looks like and where the process may be breaking down. Make an action plan to address issues and plan for follow up. 
  • What this does: By embracing negative feedback, you can begin to build renewed trust with your patients.

Acknowledge problems, then work to fix them.

Patients do not expect perfection, but they do want you to acknowledge fault and to take steps to correct it from happening again.
  • What this looks like: Making mistakes is part of the human condition. However, before you can stop repeating a mistake, you first must come to the realization that something didn't go right. Regardless of who is to blame, it is essential to sincerely face the fact that the patient or family member experienced something that caused them to feel unhappy with the situation.
  • What this does: When you are able to acknowledge that something went wrong, regardless of who is to blame, you can begin to change the situation. By acknowledging that something went wrong, you help to validate their feelings. It also helps you to be able to move the experience aside and begin cleaning up any unresolved concerns and problems.

Adopt a problem-solving attitude.

Remember, no one receives perfect scores all the time. One reason for the customer satisfaction survey is to measure improvement, not to impress.
  • What this looks like: The process to perfection is a bumpy one. Those who have an attitude that they are still learning are the ones who typically find greater levels of success because they continue to problem solve.
  • What this does: By creating a problem-solving attitude, you can find solutions to issues you may not think are solvable. 

Look for underlying problems if the same issue keeps showing up.

  • What this looks like: Finding and resolving the root problem in a complex issue is not always easy to do. Receiving negative feedback about an issue you're aware of but so far have been unsuccessful at resolving can be frustrating, especially if your compensation is directly connected with the survey feedback.
  • What you can do: First of all, take a moment to give yourself some positive feedback and encouragement. Complex problems don't go away overnight. Typically, they also require the cooperation and brainpower of more than one person. If you're stumped on how to get going to resolve a problem, take a moment to look at these great problem solving tips for complex business problems from the CBS Money Watch website. In addition to this, please remember that we are always here to help you. If you have questions about your reports, please let us know.

Finding solutions to sour situations is possible. This is especially the case when you're willing to recognize problems, transparently discuss them with you patients and their family members, have a problem-solving attitude, and when you work with others to resolve complex issues. As you work toward these solutions, you'll find that lemons can truly be turned into lemonade.

For more ways to improve patient satisfaction, visit part 3: Bragging Right.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Corporate Culture

One of my senior projects at the University of Utah was making a video about culture in the workplace. It was called Corporate Culture. I haven't watched it in a while, but I'm sure it's full of moments that will make me cringe.

It's interesting that 13 years later, I would say that one of our company's greatest assets is our culture. Pinnacle has an excellent work atmosphere. There is very little drama and almost no gossip. There is a lot of teamwork and most people get along very well.

In addition to that we have a high standard for customer service. Our culture is priceless.

As the CEO, I usually get credited for that culture. The truth is, it's not my culture, it's the culture of the people who work there.

Our secret is that we have figured out how to hire the right people. We know what type of people fit in at Pinnacle, and will help enforce the culture.

We will hire on fit before skill set. If someone has a great personality and will fit in with our team, we can train them how to do their job. We can't train someone how to fit in to our team.

Obviously, our preference is that they have the skill set and the cultural fit, but if push comes to shove, culture wins. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dragged to the Middle

I've been thinking about government regulation a lot lately.

When a big portion of your business is regulated by the government, you tend to do that. This time it was brought on by the new overtime exemption laws taking place later this year.

The principle of the law is to protect people, which is admirable. Make sure "folks" (as Obama calls us) get compensated fairly for a hard day's work.

What's not to love about that?

They are updating laws that were more than 40 years old. They weren't protecting people anymore like they were supposed to.

The problem with federal laws like that is that businesses across the US are vastly different. When you make a law that brings regressive or predatory companies to a minimum standard, it protects the employees of those companies.

However, it can hurt the employees of progressive companies. By enforcing a medium standard, it brings everyone into the middle.

For example, we try very hard to make sure our employees are happy, well-compensated, and valued.

One of the ways we do this is through our Paid Time Off plan. Salaried employees who are exempt from overtime can take as much time off as they want. The only thing we are concerned with is getting the job done.

A lot of our employees will work extra hours one week in order to take extra time off the next week.

The employees that will become non-exempt in December will likely not be able to do that anymore. They lose one of the perks that they really like, as we (a progressive company) are dragged to the middle.

I've also seen this with our clients. Many of our clients were using a satisfaction survey that gave them in depth feedback about their individual patients. Then a few years ago, the government mandated they used a certain survey instead. They had to get rid of their superior tool in order to use the mediocre tool established by the government. Dragged to the middle.

I'm not sure what the answer is. I like the idea of protecting people. I wish we could trust the free market to protect people. I know Pinnacle couldn’t keep employees if we tried to force them to work 60 hours without being compensated fairly. I suppose that's not the same everywhere. I don't know. All I know is that it's frustrating to get dragged back to the middle.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Story from a Client

One of our new clients recently told me a story about how our satisfaction surveys had impacted one of their facilities.

They got a survey back from a resident's daughter who was pretty upset. She felt that they weren't including her mother in any of the activities at the facility. The mother was really bored and lonely there.

The administrator at this facility was surprised by the feedback because she knew this resident really well and happened to know the resident had been involved in most, if not all, of the activities. So the administrator reached out the the daughter and had a conversation with her to understand her frustrated feelings a little better.

The administrator told her she was very active there and even sent over some pictures of her participating in the activities.

The daughter was surprised and realized that her mother had been trying to make the daughter feel bad for not visiting enough by telling her how bored she was. The daughter felt some remorse and realized she needed to make a better effort to visit and also realized the facility had been doing a great job.

I liked this example because it illuminates how some open communication can solve problems. After the survey opened the lines of communication, an upset customer became a satisfied and loyal customer acknowledging this care provider's excellent work. Furthermore, a relationship between a mother and daughter was positively impacted.

I'm glad Pinnacle got to play some role in that. It's rewarding.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

An Indescribable Trait that Makes the Best Employees

I was talking with a group of people representing four different organizations last week. The conversation was sparked by one of them saying that they had a theory about hiring people that had worked in the restaurant business. They liked hiring them because they knew how to hustle and how to treat people right. (I, of course, like this theory since my first job was serving tables.)

That led us to talking about what we look for when hiring employees. What followed was really interesting. One of the people there said the best way he can describe what he looks for is "spirit." He is looking to fill a job right now, they had 112 applicants and they have narrowed the search down to 2. The reason they ended up on these two? Spirit.

Another person said that what they are looking for is "legitimacy." Will others look at this person when they are working with them and think they are legitimate? Do they bring a presence that is legit?

Yet another said he wanted someone with emotional intelligence. Someone who could recognize how others around them are feeling and react appropriately.

The thing that I have always looked for is twofold. The first I call the "normal person" concept. I just want a normal person. I don't want to work with someone and after they are done talking to me think to myself "what the hell are you talking about?" I need them to be a normal person. Tina Fey shed some light on my principle in her book Bossy Pants. She said that when she was hiring writers for SNL that she would ask herself if she would want to be stuck in a break room with them at 3:00 in the morning eating dinner together. If she answered yes, they would likely be a good hire.

I don't want to be stuck at work with people I don't want to have lunch with. I prefer to have normal people around me. Is that too much to ask?

The second part of my preference is zest or infectiousness. Do they have that thing that really makes me want to be around them? I've never known exactly how to describe it, but I know it when I see it.

I thought it was really interesting that each of us in our group last week were essentially looking for a very similar and hard-to-describe quality. There is an emotional quality inside people that we know translates into successful employees.

We each had a different word for it, zest, spirit, emotional intelligence, legitimacy.

There are lots of other traits that employees need to be successful. (Problem solving, pattern recognition, attention to detail, etc.) but that zest or spirit really puts people over the top.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


I travel quite a bit for work and for fun. Yesterday I was on my way to Washington D.C. and happened to be seated next to a mom traveling with four kids. The youngest was under two and sitting on her lap. He was pretty restless. He was loud, and really wanted to run around.

He was a normal toddler.

His mom was amazing. I can't imagine how stressed she was about making the people around her uncomfortable. She was really doing her best to keep the kids settled down. The youngest one cried sometimes and went crazy a few times, but honestly I don't think anyone on the plane cared. We were too impressed with how this mom was handling all her kids as she had to chase the youngest one up and down the aisle a few times.

I regret not telling her how great she did on that long flight.

My experience is that a lot of moms are this good with their kids. That's pretty amazing when you think about it.

This supermom on the plane made me start to think about all the moms that work for Pinnacle.

We have about 130 people that conduct surveys for Pinnacle. Roughly 100 of them work from home, 90% of those are stay-at-home moms who were looking for a job they could do in the home.

As someone who was raised by a supermom, and also happens to be married to one, it makes me so happy and proud to entrust our most essential business operation to these supermoms.

If you know any supermoms who happen to be looking for a work-from-home job, send them here.

(We hire superdads and childless superhumans as well.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Oh, I do that.

I got my haircut yesterday. I'm not telling you who cuts my hair, because I already have to book my appointments two months in advance, and I can't risk that the three people who read this blog would start going to her and make it even harder to get an appointment.

Anyway, I overheard her talking to the stylist who works across from her. This other stylist has just started doing eyebrow microblading (a popular new technique to get the appearance of thicker eyebrows). Most estheticians who perform this post before and after pictures on Instagram or other social media pages as a way to advertise their services.

My hair stylist (who will remain nameless) started telling her that when she posts this before and after pictures on Instagram, she really needs to show three pictures: a before, a directly after, and a 4-week after (once it is completely healed). Nobody does that, everyone just posts a before and an immediately after.

Stylist #2 had a difficult time with this suggestion. Her immediate response was "oh, I do that."

She doesn't.

She might post a picture several weeks later after they are completely healed but the pictures aren't side by side.

Being in the customer feedback biz, I can't really fault stylist #2. Her reaction of "oh, I do that" is the most common response to customer feedback.

It seems like when customers or potential customers give us feedback, the most natural reaction is to assume that they are telling us this feedback because we are not as good as we should be. We came up short. No one wants to admit that they came up short.

The truth is, customer feedback can highlight your shortcomings, but it can also give you some interesting new ideas that no one expects you to do, and no one is currently doing.

Regardless of which one it is, your shortcomings or interesting new ideas, you can NEVER get defensive to customer feedback. Once you do that, your customers will stop giving feedback. They're feedback will feel unwelcome.

I've seen this over and over in healthcare, an executive director will approach a patient and ask him/her, "why would you say this?" The patient will then back off their comments because they don't want to make anyone upset. Then nobody learns from the problems and they are doomed to repeat themselves.

Be aware that it can be difficult to hear customer feedback sometimes, make sure you do your best to listen and understand without getting defensive. That's what my hair stylist does, and that's why my hair is so on point today :)