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Servicide® is Killing Your Service

Servicide® is Killing Your Service  – By Bruce Loeffler, Customer Service Expert


A number of years ago, I had the privilege of working with Walt Disney World where I was asked to create a new position to improve the service our “cast members” (that’s the name Disney calls employees) provided to our guests.  Post-Disney, I began training hospitals on the very same principles I taught in The Magic Kingdom.   I noticed in those hospitals a number of staff members who were behaving in a manner that seemed apathetic, callous and insensitive toward our patients and their guests.  It was not a majority,  but  enough to alarm me.  My experience prompted me to create a new term that aptly described this damaging service: I took the term “service,” added “suicide” and came up with “Servicide®.”  Here’s my definition: “Servicide is the service we provide that offends and frustrates our patients and co-workers.”  It is delivering a self-inflicted wound that often proves deadly to organizations: apathy,

the brush-off, coldness, plastic, condescension, and indifference are just a few of the attitudes that offend not only patients and guests, but co-workers as well.  I have worked with over 100 hospitals, mostly rural, developing the staff and leadership to provide exceptional service.  When we allow staff to “get by” with committing Servicides, it begins to destroy the rapport and connection we have with our patients and reflects poorly on the entire hospital itself.  

One of the detriments we have experienced as a result of Covid is he impersonalization of the service we are now providing to our patients and each other. I recently read an article that discussed the lack of “kindness” and “compassion” in Healthcare since Covid began.  Has the pandemic caused us to be less sensitive and more guarded in our care for others? Possibly.  That is why the concept of “Servicide” is so critical for leaders to grasp and to correct when they encounter interactions with our patients, guests and especially our staff.  It is imperative that leaders recognize negative behavior as quickly as possible citing examples, attitudes, coaching and even role playing. 

The question is: how do we eliminate Servicides?  You avoid committing Servicide by bringing culture to the forefront: who we are, what we stand for and how we treat others.  First and foremost, what do our patients and guests want and need from us? Second, what do our co-workers need from  us as well?  The term that keeps coming to mind is “Likeability.”  It’s almost like stripping our service to its most basic component, “Do you really care?” According to experts, 70% of success in our relationships is due to this one factor: are you Likeable?  I believe we can help eliminate “Servicides” by  building a culture of likeability: are we friendly, do we smile, are we interested in others and engaged, how well do we listen and connect with others, do we have a positive attitude, do we put their interests above our own and finally, do we seem to genuinely care?  When we are more concerned about others than our own interests, it shows.  From this trainer’s perspective, when we show we care, it helps us eliminate the Servicides that negatively impact our service. 

If you would like to know more about our training or to speak with Mr. Loeffler, please contact Brentwood Communications.

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