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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Grey's Anatomy and Customer Service | THE RETENTION FACTOR

Rosanne D'Ausilio, Ph.D.
The Retention Factor with Rosanne D'Ausilio, Ph.D.

  • Internal Customers/Touch Points
  • External Customers
  • Loyal to Satisfied Customer
Did you see Grey’s Anatomy recently where they sang throughout the show? This was a first for them – and for me to see.

Let me back up a bit. Grey’s Anatomy, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, is a weekly medical show on ABC where usually there are 4 or 5 emergency and/or pre-arranged patients coming in to the hospital to be seen by a variety of doctors, residents, and interns. The cast remains the same; the patients are different each week.

I think there are many similar shows although I don’t watch any others. I like how Grey’s develops their characters, making them real people—humans—so for me, it is about the people, the personalities, not the surgeries!

I don’t watch this religiously but when I remember it is on, I do enjoy the show. This particular night – with the singing – had only one patient. It was one of the doctors and, as you can imagine, she had varying degrees of relationships with each and every person in the hospital.

So now let’s reframe this. After all, what does it have to do with retention? The central character on this night was a patient who we will rename the ‘customer.’ All the people who interact with her are her ‘internal customers’, her touch points. We, the viewers, the public, are her external customers. And the show becomes the ‘company.’ Whether in prime time on TV, or in business, there is huge competition for market share.

What’s different about this show? What’s different about how you treat your customers?

So back to the story. She had been in a serious car accident and her life and the life of her unborn baby were at stake. Each internal customer’s experience with her was different yet they were all connected to her. All of them were there to serve her in whatever capacity they could from the surgeons to the sanitation workers, to the volunteer staff. When a customer has an issue, a concern, a problem, a complaint, you, and all your internal touch points, need to be ready to solve the problem, resolve the complaint, etc.

Why was this show different than any other? This time there was only one patient/customer and everyone took great care of her. What was different? They engaged me, enrolled me, and got me emotionally involved. They created, nurtured and reinforced my relationship with the ‘customer’ and the show (the company). They took me on the journey and solidified our relationship. I went from ‘take it or leave it’ to definitely take it.

On other nights/shows I wasn’t identified necessary with any particular patient because there were a lot of them and none that were related to anyone in the hospital. So the emotional connection wasn’t as vivid as it was this one night.

Why am I writing about this? Because at any one time all we can do is take care of one customer at a time, be it internal or external. The show did a great job of the internal customers taking care of the patient/customer, and I suggest they did a great job of taking care of me, the external customer, as I am now enrolled in the program!

How do you, and your internal customers, take great care of your customers, one customer at a time? As if that one customer was the only person you had to take care of that day? In actuality, the person in front of you either in real time, on the phone, in chat, text, or whatever channel you are using, is who you are taking care of at the moment. How many people can be in the #1 position? One at a time.

Bottom line: I didn’t ‘think’ this was a great show—I ‘experienced’ it! I won’t occasionally catch this program. I will pro-actively and consciously choose to watch it on Thursday nights. I am now a loyal satisfied customer.

As always, your comments, feedback, and topic suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

ROSANNE D'AUSILIO, Ph.D., an industrial psychologist, consultant, master trainer, best selling author, executive coach, customer service expert, and President of Human Technologies Global, Inc., specializes in human performance management. Over the last nearly 25 years, she has provided needs analyses, instructional design, and customized, live customer service skills trainings as well as executive/leadership coaching. Also offered is agent and facilitator university certification through Purdue University’s Center for Customer Driven Quality.

Known as 'the practical champion of the human,' she authors 6 best sellers “Wake Up Your Call Center: Humanize Your Interaction Hub,” 4th ed, “Customer Service and the Human Experience,” “Lay Your Cards on the Table: 52 Ways to Stack Your Personal Deck (includes 32-card deck of cards)—motivational and inspirational readings, How to Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch: 101 Insider Tips, How to Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch: ANOTHER 101 Insider Tips, The Expert’s Guide to Customer Service, a compilation of 28 articles at as well as her popular complimentary ‘tips’ newsletter on How To Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch! at

For more information, please visit Rosanne's TNNWC Bio.

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