Efficiency 101

There is something to be said about one-stop shopping, where everything you need is in one place. It doesn’t matter if your business is a big box store or a mom-and-pop shop, efficiency brings in customers.

I recently accompanied a family member to Mayo Clinic for some medical tests, and the clinic’s efficiency rating was off the charts. It was as if we were on a group tour – the itinerary was the Bible of the trip and everything was clearly marked. If we had gone to see every individual doctor, complete every individual test and spend time making every individual appointment, it would’ve taken months, maybe years, to get it all completed. Here, my family member saw two doctors and went through a handful of tests – half of which the doctors had results in hand a few hours later – in the matter of two days.

I don’t think it’s because Mayo Clinic has super powers or is the Disneyland of the medical world, but on a business level, they have honed in on something of interest. People go there, not only for the level of care, but because of the efficiency. There is an elevator ride and a couple hours between a blood test and a CT scan. A doctor sends orders to the scheduling department as the patient is sitting in the exam room, and by the time you reach a scheduler 20 or 30 minutes later, your itinerary is ready.

It’s like magic.

Or is it? I think most businesses can learn from this level of efficiency. Now, Mayo Clinic has had decades of experience honing this very unique technique for its niche – doctors of all specialties under one roof – but there are aspects of this well-oiled machine that benefit business as a whole.

On the simplest level, Mayo Clinic had well-informed volunteers who could help direct patients where they needed to go. Everyone knew what they needed to know to get the patient to the next stop where another person would pick up the baton and help the patient progress even further on their quest. It was like watching a relay race at the Olympics.

When people are informed, they can better help customers in any business. If someone didn’t know the answer, they went to find it. That’s efficiency – giving the customers what they need to know, when they need to know it and moving them along to the next step. Since employees are typically better equipped to find answers, it takes unneeded responsibility, frustration and wasted time off customers.

It keeps people coming back. Efficiency and customer service come as a packaged deal. Those volunteers at Mayo Clinic who gave directions and answered questions were also pleasant about it. As efficient as the detailed itineraries were, they also relieved stress and anxiety for patients, which is an aspect of customer service. The list goes on.

Every business is different, but everyone can learn from a place that deals with people’s lives and well-being, yet still makes it as pleasant of an experience as possible. As a first step, think about how you can make dealing with your company more efficient for your customers. We all can’t be like Mayo Clinic, but we can definitely learn from it.

Tiffannie Bond is a media relations specialist at Imagine Communications. Contact Tiffannie at tbond@weareimagine.com.

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