Anyone who sits down with Sjaloom Verhagen, as I had the privilege to do on the most recent installment of Celerity’s Bouncing forward series on LinkedIn Live, will be immediately struck by her attentiveness to customer experience. A veteran of Marriott and the hospitality industry, Sjaloom has made a natural transition to healthcare, and now runs call center operations for RadNet, one of the nation’s largest radiology providers. Like hospitality, a deep empathy for customers is essential in delivering high quality healthcare experiences. Sjaloom and I explored the impact of the pandemic, what it means to work on change management initiatives at a global scale, and why the customer must always stay at the center of the equation.
Similarities of customer experience management in hospitality and health care
One of the remarkable moments in our conversation was Sjaloom’s perspective on the similarities between hospitality and healthcare. In the case of both hospitality and healthcare, Sjaloom points out that you must take care of your customers and you have to create experiences that are frictionless and seamless. That means that in-person interactions need to be supported by employee processes and technology in a coordinated way. With large and complex interactions, excellence doesn’t happen by accident; it’s the result of understanding the journeys of the customer and the employee, and by being deeply empathetic and intentional in the design of those experiences.
Keys to leading large-scale, global change management initiatives
At Celerity, I have the opportunity to explore leadership with extremely talented, senior members of teams who run initiatives that impact hundreds of thousands of people. At the forefront is that large-scale change always centers around the people impacted and involved. Sjaloom explains some of the key components to leading large-scale, global initiatives. Leaders need to avoid making assumptions during times of change and must focus on communicating with teams, understanding the culture and audience as they proactively communicate the WHY of change. We often talk about laying the groundwork of a case for change, and Sjaloom says that even over-communicating about change is important in order to create a community of change networks and change champions. She remarks that building in transition periods and plenty of time for adoption is important, because change isn’t instantaneous, especially at scale.
How the pandemic has changed the employee experience at RadNet
Sometimes employees are left out of the equation when a conversation is about customers, but really employees determine the experience a customer will have. So I asked Sjaloom what she thinks about employee experience, especially during the pandemic, when many employees have had to radically adjust their work styles, and when they may be stretched thin by juggling household responsibilities simultaneously with their work.
Sjaloom told a story about the transition of a large call center to work-from-home within a week and making sure that all the components were in place to care for employees as they made that transition. She and her boss took a deep dive into how RadNet could support employees and promote well-being. They ran focus groups and addressed issues around the juggle of parenting, homeschooling, taking care of parents, and the stress that comes with uncertainty. I think it’s noteworthy that Agile organizations are always learning, iterating, and improving. Sjaloom and her team look at the human elements of the employee experience to ensure that the customer experience for RadNet’s patients is the best it can be.
Watch the full episode
Join us for the full interview as we explore dimensions of customer centricity, organizational agility, and operational excellence with Sjaloom Verhagen. All of these elements are hallmarks of responsive enterprises that navigate uncertainty – or “VUCA” if you’ve been with us since the first episode – well. If you’re looking to build your organization’s capacity to become a responsive enterprise, please reach out. And don’t forget to follow Celerity’s LinkedIn page to find out about upcoming LinkedIn LIVE interviews.
Are you ready for the next normal?
Interested in learning more about how to build business resilience to thrive in the next normal? Reach out today. And make sure to find out about future episodes in the series by following Celerity on LinkedIn.