Pride: Outstanding customer service motivation

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Joseph Weaver
  • 56th Medical Operation Squadron commander
When you get coffee at a Starbucks, do you go to a particular location?  Most people will answer "yes." Why is that? All Starbucks provide the same coffee or specialty drinks, so if I get my coffee at the Army Air Force Exchange Services Starbucks or the Starbucks in Glendale, I know I am getting the same drink prepared to the same exacting standards. So again, why do most people have a particular Starbucks location?  Why is it that people are willing to spend thousands of dollars on a Disney vacation? Why is it that Disney theme parks have more repeat visitors (guests) than other theme park? Why are there so many people attracted to the Disney brand?
The Walt Disney Company has been a leader in customer (guest) service for more than 50 years. They provide classes to companies all over the world. They pride themselves in providing outstanding customer (guest) service. Starbucks has exploded in the past few  ears, after having entered the business scene in the northwest U.S. in 1971. What do they have in common? What can they teach us in the military?
Simply put, they have put the customer or guest at the forefront of all they do. We may believe that our beneficiaries, our customers, have no choice but to use our service -- but most of them do have a choice. The AAFES, Defense Commissary Agency, the Medical Group, our clubs, golf course and gyms, to name a few, rely on the positive hoice of their patrons.  When our customers have a choice, and we want to be their hoice, we must stand out. Outstanding customer service is the answer. 

Being in healthcare, I draw on the Lehigh Valley Hospital plan for customer service. They titled their customer service program: PRIDE.
P: they recognize the right to privacy and they pledge to keep all personal/medical information confidential.
R: they value and respect each person's uniqueness, beliefs, rights and needs. 

I: they believe active involvement and effective communication are critical to customer satisfaction. 

D: our attitudes, actions, concerns and words reflect our self esteem and convey our concerns providing dignity to our customer.
E: empathy of staff means striving to understand the needs and unique perspectives and situations of our customer. 

So, how does this relate to me? How do I use this on the flightline? PRIDE is the beginning of being an outstanding provider of customer service and being a recipient of outstanding customer service. On the flightline, the crew chief must understand the pilot, as his customer, and understand the fuels shop as his customer service provider.  What does the pilot want? He wants a "thumbs up" and assurance that the
aircraft is mission capable. What does the crew chief want from fuels? On time delivery, so the aircraft is ready to launch on schedule. No one wants excuses or "attitude" -- we want to accomplish our mission. Each of us is both customer and consumer, and we must co-exist to execute the mission. If each and every one of us takes the time to treat others the way we want to be treated, we would not have customer service issues. Then and only then, will we be the number one choice of our