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What Happens When Your Process Fails?

No matter how good your process is, it’s highly unlikely it will never have a failure. What happens when that failure occurs?

My elderly mother was recently hospitalized for two nights. When it came time to discharge her, a number of things went wrong. Her doctor’s office authorized discharge without visiting her or considering all of the factors. As a result, my mom was released in a condition too weak for her normal habitat. Unfortunately, she also did not stay in the hospital a third night, which would have made her Medicare-eligible for skilled nursing.

We met with her doctor a few days later. He sat right down next to my mom, grabbed her hand and apologized for the discharge errors. It was an associate who made the error, yet he owned it as his mistake. (He owns the practice.) Her doctor articulated what they did wrong, identified the things they learned and assured her they would not be making those mistakes again, for her or any other patient.

Here’s what I took from that encounter. When (not if) your process fails, own it. Don’t try to explain it away or blame someone else. Understand the impact on your customers and make it right with them. Learn from your mistakes and put corrective actions in place as appropriate.

Mandy Dietz

For more on Customer or Patient Experience, go to Orion’s CX Solutions page.

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