Nothing like a broken leg to start thinking about Customer Experience

Two weeks ago I had an accident: simply slipped and fell on a mossy rock in the Turku archipelago. The fall was unfortunate, as it turned to be a broken lower leg. And it hurt like a …. (insert your favourite expletive here)

Fortunately I live in Finland, so I didn’t have to worry about healthcare: within 10 minutes there was an ambulance standing next to me in the rain, and within 2 hours, and a few small ferries and small islands later, I was in Turku hospital.

They fixed me as much as they could, and the next day I spent in the hospital in Helsinki, until I got operated. 1,5 hrs later my leg was full of metal and screws, and the healing could start.

My dismissal from the hospital took an extra day, because they couldn’t get a proper cast on me due to the pain and lack of flexibility in my lower leg and ankle. (amazing cast btw, can easily take it off thanks to the velcro strips it’s made with)

What all that gave me however, was a fascinating insight in a long process: where every element had a clearly defined task, with a clear framework, and still with the responsibility to work flexible within that: depending on the customer.

I was impressed: everyone did a great job, and did whatever they could, and went out of their way where they needed. And as there were a lot of people I came into contact with, they clearly kept track of everything: I didn’t need to ask for anything twice.

My Customer Success and Customer Experience senses were truly tingling throughout.

Public healthcare, even in a well-organised country as Finland, has a bad reputation, but I found none of the rumour-mongering to be true. Ok, the food was terrible, but that was it! :)

Observing what was happening throughout, and thinking of how all this was worked out, I started thinking of this as a customer success exercise.

So, what was my take-away, what did I (re-)learn?

  1. Have your processes and expectations clearly communicated to everyone internally and externally
  2. Train those processes again and again and again with your team.
  3. Take charge, follow the process where needed, and be flexible where you must.
  4. The end-goal is success: be professionally friendly and engaging, no need to be friends and buddies.
  5. Let the customer trust your expertise: not by telling, but by showing it again and again.
  6. Healthy sense of humility in everything you do: you have ‘customers’ in front of you who often are in extreme situations and you don’t know what they are thinking.

I feel I need to pin this to a wall, as a constant reminder of how it could and should be.

All in all, I am happy, and knowing all future doctor appointments were in the books already when I left the hospital, makes life a whole lot less complicated.

So, thank you Finland, for taking good care of me, even though your nature tries to kill me on a (semi-)regular basis!

P.S. 1 Damn, the drugs were insane! Flying high in the purple sky…

P.S. 2 And for my US-based contacts: yes, all free – this is why I pay taxes…