By: Ed Albertson
Doctors and customer service representatives aren't so different. At first glance, it would seem that the natures of their businesses don't have very much in common, at least in terms of the details. However, as Forbes contributor Adrian Swinscoe recently pointed out, the corporate world may be able to learn some important lessons from healthcare about how to give clients excellent treatment.
The doctor is in
Swinscoe asserted that he believes bedside manner is critical in the enterprise environment. He said he got this idea recently when he started thinking about his friend, Susan, who had decided to go back to school to train to become a doctor.
Swinscoe explained that Susan entered into a program that generally chooses older students because their life experience often leads them to having better bedside manners. He noted that this isn't a unique scenario: The modern healthcare educational system at large is placing a renewed emphasis on interpersonal, listening and communication skills. This may be because when patients feel their physicians are understanding and compassionate, there can be "a positive effect on a patient's faith in a doctor and on medical outcomes."
But this doesn't apply to the medical field alone. Swinscoe emphasized that for companies, bedside manner is equally important. Just like doctors, customer service associates need to be highly knowledgeable problem-solvers, and they are in positions of power during their client interactions. However, those qualities don't have to take center stage in every situation. Just like it is sometimes better for a medical professional to sit down, listen to and comfort patients, the same can be said of customer service employees. Truly hearing what clients have to say can be an excellent way to show them they are cared about, and it can also lead to more effective solutions to their issues.
Customer service training is becoming increasingly important in the business world because having a good bedside manner is becoming more of an expectation than a perk. The B2B market is fiercely competitive, and clients are happy to spend their money elsewhere if one service provider doesn't offer the level of attentiveness and compassion they desire. Fortunately, stronger communication skills can be taught as long as enterprises leverage training programs that treat outstanding interpersonal skills as a must-have.