OR Excellence - Where Leaders Meet, Learn and Grow Together

Marriott Rivercenter, San Antonio, TX, Oct. 14-16

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Building Your Surgical Facility Into a Trusted Brand

Chris Malone

Chris Malone

Building Your Surgical
Facility Into a Trusted Brand

A customer loyalty expert tells you how to make surgeons and patients fall in love with your facility.

Surgeons view their interactions with your facility in deeply personal ways — they dislike your anesthesia team, love your nurses and think your schedulers are out to get them. What's actually going on in their brains when they make these judgments? "We see companies and brands the same way we automatically perceive, judge and behave toward one another," says customer loyalty expert Chris Malone, author of the award-winning book, "The HUMAN BRAND: How We Relate to People, Products & Companies." "To achieve sustained success, you must forge genuine relationships with your customers." In "Building Your Surgical Facility Into a Trusted Brand for Surgeons and Patients," Mr. Malone will discuss how the traditional rules of business are fundamentally at odds with the natural triggers of human trust, and how genuine and lasting relationships with customers are more critical than ever before for sustained business success. Here's some of what you'll hear.

  • Warmth and competence. Whether we realize it or not, we perceive and determine the trustworthiness of companies and brands in the same way we do other people: on the basis of their warmth and competence. Through evolution, humans became hard-wired and highly skilled at judging the intentions of others (warmth) and their ability to carry out those intentions (competence) very quickly and accurately. This was a critical human survival skill in the original game of "Survivor" tens of thousands of years ago. We become loyal and trusting of those who exhibit both warmth and competence toward us, but feel envy, distrust and grudging cooperation for those who seem highly competent but lack warmth. I'm quite sure that physicians become loyal and trusting of outpatient surgery centers in the same way.
  • A Relationship Renaissance. For most of human history, commerce was conducted face to face. That's where most of our warmth and competence perceptions were gleaned, through facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, and of course words and actions. The choices people made were as much about the person they were dealing with and their relationship with them as it was the product or service offered. For thousands of years, the mutually interdependent relationships between merchants and customers were the basis of all commerce. While the Industrial Revolution disrupted that for about 100 years, the fundamental psychology of humans hasn't changed. What's more, the convergence of E-commerce, social networks and mobile devices has brought about a Relationship Renaissance, where again we are making most of our choices based on what we know about the people we are doing business with and our relationship with them. It's like warmth and competence on steroids, turbo charged by digital technology. As a result, genuine and lasting relationships with customers are more critical than ever before for sustained business success.
  • Genuine warmth and goodwill. Social psychologists have determined that more than 80% of human behavior is driven by warmth and competence perceptions. Perhaps the most surprising finding of their research in more than 40 countries is that human behavior, relationships and success are more driven by warmth than competence. Despite all we've been taught and trained about the importance of our competencies, genuine warmth and goodwill toward others has far more impact on our performance. Of course, we can't get by without at least adequate competence in any field, especially health care, but competence will only get us so far. Without warmth and trusting relationships, competence alone yields only grudging cooperation and resentment.
  • The dangers of competing on price. The last 50 years of bottom line-driven commerce has created a highly transactional business environment where trust and relationships are weak. As a result, many customers and buyers default to price as the basis of choice. So despite that we've got more data and more ways to communicate than ever before, loyalty in nearly every industry is actually lower than ever before. With price transparency and consumer choice coming to health care, it's really imperative that outpatient surgical facilities understand and focus on building trust-based relationships and loyalty. Otherwise they'll get trapped in a downward spiral of price-based competition.
  • How we come across to others. Despite the remarkable gift we've all been given that lets us quickly and accurately judge the intentions and abilities of others, we are equally cursed with an inability to objectively see how we come across to others. As a result, we frequently rub colleagues, physicians and patients the wrong way without even realizing it. This is often the case when we focus on precision or efficiency without equal attention to the feelings and impressions our actions are conveying to others. What's more, bottom line-driven business principles often cause healthcare organizations to treat patient and employees in ways that are fundamentally at odds with their natural triggers for trust and loyalty. As a result, all of our policies, practices and processes need to be reconsidered through the lens of warmth and competence.
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OR Excellence 2015

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