Friday, August 19, 2011

Business: Bad Customer Service is Killing Us

In my previous Zappos post suggested that the airline industry get some immediate assistance from the Zappos Insights team on "How to Deliver Happiness".

I've just come across this funny YouTube video called "If Air Travel Worked Like Health Care".

It made me think, wow...if the service provided by the Health Care Industry is so bad that Air Travel is being used as an example of good customer service, than Health Care is more f*!#ed-up as I thought.

Delivering Happiness > Pretty Crappy > Really, utterly crap-tastic
Illustrated in Mathematical terms for more left brain readers, using the transitive relation theory of basic algebra which states:

whenever A > B and B > C, then also A > C

A = Zappos' customer service = the business model is called "Delivering Happiness"
B = Airline Industry customer service = pretty crappy customer service; ref prev blog post 
C = American Healthcare customer service = really, utterly crap-tastic

Aside from the politics, there is an subset of the the Service Design industry which focuses solely on delivering customer satisfaction and improving efficiencies through better design and innovation in Healthcare, and a byproduct of these changes has been reduced costs and improved patient care. Perhaps we should approach America's healthcare dilema with a "Delivering Happiness"  rather than a 6 Sigma Strategy? 

Q: What does this blog post have to do with the home furnishings industry?!

A: All businesses big and small, manufacturing in the US or importing from abroad, retailing product, or designing homes have employees. And, those businesses must consider the cost of healthcare for their employees and themselves. It is a big problem in the US economy and I've heard it called basically a tax on businesses or individuals or in most cases both. Not a tax levied by the government, but by the bloated healthcare industry which costs individuals, families, and businesses 10, 20, even 30% more in the US than it does in all other industrialized nations. 
Healthcare Expenditure as a share of GDP Among OECD Countries 2009 graph source, original data source

These additional costs increase the final product cost of our businesses and reduces our competitiveness in a global economy.

Whether those nations have nationalized heathcare, private, or a combination, they are still delivering better service at lower costs than the US system. 

Our businesses and therefore our economy is not going to be able to escape this economic quagmire without a massive fix to the healthcare industry. 

This is not a political issue, but an economic one. In the end, whether we take the red road, the blue road, or something in between, we need to end up with better and more efficient health service that will result in healthier people, businesses, and profits.  
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