Category: Customer Experience

I’ll Have the Apple Juice with Oatmeal Cookies Please

One of the many benefits of living in the greatest city in the world, NYC, is access to some of the world’s best doctors and hospitals. One such place is the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 for orthopedics and No. 3 for rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2017-18) and has been among the top-ranked hospitals for orthopedics and rheumatology for 26 consecutive years.

Late last year I found myself in need of HSS’ services, specifically an Epidural Caudal. In non-medical speak, this is an outpatient procedure that involves using an ultrasound machine to guide a needle into the lower back to deliver medicine to a targeted area that is causing chronic pain.

As you can imagine, the thought of having a needle injected into my spine, well, caused the hairs on it to rise and as I arrived at the office that morning my nerves were working overtime. Little did I know that the amazing folks at HSS were more than prepared to alleviate my anxiety and my pain.

Thoughtfulness and empathy were clear themes throughout the day. Upon check-in, a woman at the front desk greeted me with a welcoming smile and a calming hello; instantly, I could feel my nerves subsiding. She asked me if I wanted a loved one to receive text updates during and after my procedure (this gave me the warm and fuzzies). When I excitedly responded that my wife would love that, she replied, “is this Dana (my wife’s name)?” This, I thought to myself, is how things should work!

With a smile, they quickly moved me from station to station where I digitally completed my required paperwork. Special consideration was given not only to my emotional well-being but also to my physical comfort; the process was smooth and efficient. Every person that I encountered was friendly, knowledgeable and professional. They took the time to explain the details and answered all my questions, the entire time reassuring me that I was in good hands.

The doctors never made me feel rushed; they even asked if I wanted to review the images from the procedure while I was still in the operating room. About halfway through the procedure, my doctor asked how I was feeling. I replied that I had been very nervous when I arrived that morning, but couldn’t even remember why as the experience had turned out to be quite pleasurable. Without hesitation, he responded, “that’s exactly what we strive for.”

Once out of surgery, I was taken to the recovery room and given a menu that rivaled any business traveler’s hotel snack bar (see below). Don’t mind if I do!

The positive experience that I had that day wasn’t an accident, but rather a carefully crafted journey. From the moment I walked through the door until the moment I walked out, everything was about me. Any company that is in the business of service could stand to learn a thing or two from the folks at HSS.

On my bus ride home, I couldn’t help but feel sad that I likely wouldn’t have another experience like this again for a long time!


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Shake It Up!

I live on the Upper West Side (UWS) of NYC, and to the dismay of what we’ll loosely call my exercise routine, there’s a Shake Shack just two blocks south of me.

After a long day, when I don’t feel like cooking and the line isn’t out the door long, I’ll stroll in for my usual: two Hamburgers – singles, with ShackSauce, lettuce and tomato, and possibly a side of fries.

It’s important to note the nuance in my order, Hamburgers vs ShackBurgers, as these come standard with cheese and are $5.19 vs $4.19; I know, get past it, they’re delicious!

Recently, I found myself in this very situation, and decided this was going to be my dinner for the night, of course, washed down by a glass or three of something red and Italian.

The line was manageable, so I ordered dinner and took my seat for my wait to begin. After what seemed like ages, but was probably about ten minutes, my buzzer buzzed! I approached the counter to be greeted by a smiling gentleman who handed me a bag, and as I looked inside, my normal delight turned to dismay when I saw cheese!

As I looked up, without a smile, he instantly knew something was wrong.  I explained the situation, and not knowing I’m a Shake Shack veteran, he asked me if I ordered ShackBurgers or Hamburgers.  It was in this moment that I realized, oh, I’m in a process and this guy is empowered to solve this problem.

I told him I ordered the burgers, and he asked whom I ordered them from. As I nodded to the woman who took my order, he approached her, and instead of looking at the receipt, he asked her what I ordered, to which she replied the Ham, not the ShackBurger.   Pretty awesome that she remembered, I thought.

It turns out that she was new and pressed the wrong key on the POS. All of this happened in a matter of seconds, and before I knew it, they were making my new burgers. As I stood there thoroughly enjoying seeing this process play out exactly as it should have, I realized that since she selected the Shack and not the Hamburger I had overpaid by two dollars. My blue collar roots wanted that two bucks back, but my New York sensibilities told me there was no way I was slowing down that line.

So, I resigned myself to paying an extra two bucks for what surely would be a delicious dinner, when, suddenly, the cashier who had taken my order approached me with a new receipt – my $2 had been refunded.

At that moment I experienced sheer retail utopia. This was exactly as it should have been, and it was beautiful to witness. The unfortunate problem is that this is the exception and not the rule.

Serving customers is a tough business, especially us New Yorkers, but these guys got it right and it’s my guess that for the employees of Shake Shack it’s the rule, not the exception.


SHA_Menu_8.5x11_UWS_Feb-2015 copy