I sometimes find it hard to believe that it is so simple to increase employee and team morale, increase individual productivity, take greater personal pride in our work and increase the ability to provide outstanding customer/patient service. Great service comes from the heart; great service is a choice.
I want to relate to you a story of one person's search for a mission - the story of Johnny the bagger, as told in John Ortberg's book When the Game Is Over It All Goes Back in the Box. Johnny worked in a grocery store. Johnny had Down syndrome. One day Johnny went to a training event held for the frontline workers of the supermarket chain: cashiers, truck drivers, stockers, etc. The presenter spoke of how to make a difference at work, how to create a memory, how to bless someone's life, and she spoke of how to recognize those opportunities to do so.
Johnny decided, even as a "mere" bagger, that he could make a difference. Every night after work he would sit down and think of something positive, some reminder of how precious life is, how special people are, or of how many gifts we are surrounded by. Every night he and his dad would write this "thought of the day" down on a strip of paper and make 300 copies of it, and Johnny would then sign each one.
The next day while bagging his groceries, Johnny would place one of his strips of paper on top of each customer's last bag and say, "I've put a great saying in your bag. I hope it helps you have a good day. Thanks for coming."
A month later, the store manager couldn't believe what was happening in his store. Johnny's checkout line was always three times longer than anyone else's. When it was announced that other checkout lines were open, no one would move. Shoppers would say, "That's OK. I'll wait. I want to get Johnny's thought of the day." Before too long, Johnny had transformed the entire store. The floral department used to throw away unused or broken corsages. Now they would go out into the aisles, find an elderly woman or little girl and pin it on her. The butchers started putting ribbons on their cuts of meat they would wrap up for customers. And so on. Everyone in the store was uplifted by Johnny's actions, and business boomed.
If this can happen in a grocery store, it can happen in our chiropractic offices. We may think our jobs are barriers to our mission, or that "This is not the right time. I'll start tomorrow somewhere else." We tread water. We wait for another time, another place. But what is important to realize is that you do not choose the time. Time chooses you. And you are in your place now for a reason. Whether it is at work, in a marriage, as a parent, with a friend, among neighbors, volunteering at school or church, or wherever you are, you are furthering your mission. Where you are today is no accident!
I hope this is a great reminder that no matter who you are, what your job requires or what obstacles are in your way, you can still make a difference in the lives of others. Building patient loyalty by making connections is what makes patients keep coming back. Add your own personal touch to your work; take personal responsibility and create a memorable, positive experience inside your practice with existing patients and outside the practice with people you meet. Each of us is given the opportunity to make others feel special. Take advantage of that opportunity. The rewards will be great.
Click here for previous articles by Michelle Geller-Vino, CA.