Often, we think of the “customer” as someone buying goods or services, but it’s much broader than that. The customer is anyone you come in contact with, including physicians and co-workers. In this month’s Lab Life Hack, we hear from an ASCP pathologist and a laboratory professional about how they identify who their customers are.
“As pathologists, we are often referred to as the ‘doctor’s doctor,’ alluding to the fact that our clinician colleagues are often perceived as our principal customers. We serve these clinicians with results—results of the vast amount of diagnostic tests the lab performs. They, in turn, use this information to diagnose and treat their patients. Yet the reality is that our customers are not our clinician colleagues but, in fact, every patient who walks through the hospital door.
“As anatomic and/or clinical pathologists working in busy practices, we can easily get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and forget the who, what and why of our jobs. In this time of thanksgiving, it is important to reflect upon every patient: the moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, children and families that each case represents. Although we seldom see these patients face to face, we all must remember that they are our patients, too, and that all aspects of our daily work, no matter how menial, aim to better their lives.
“Pathology is an integral part of health care. Let’s all take a moment to be thankful that we are so lucky to be a part of an extraordinary specialty in medicine that serves so many and in so many different ways.”
Evelyn T. Bruner, MD, FASCP
“In our day-to-day lives, we tend to hear the word ‘customer’ and think of the traditional consumer who directly pays for a good or service from a supplier like a restaurant, airline, contractor, etc. With more contemplation, however, one recognizes that there are ‘customers’ in several others senses of the word in nearly every setting.
“As members of a healthcare team, laboratory professionals can recognize the various ‘customers’ they serve. By identifying these ‘customers,’ we can begin to anticipate their needs and expectations and make adjustments to our services accordingly. Having satisfied customers (physicians happy with turnaround times, and patients who feel that the laboratory services they paid for improved the quality of their care) can make putting in that extra mile more meaningful and rewarding.
“Think of your coworkers as a ‘customer,’ and you can adopt a new mindset regarding things like trading weekends or picking up extra shifts for coverage. Try reframing your daily interactions at work as customer service interactions, and you begin to appreciate the value you contribute in your work as a professional.”
Michelle Renee Campbell, MLS(ASCP)CMMBCM