‘Our customer service goal is to get people to leave and recommend us’

Seth Adler

customer service, customer engagement strategies, customer centric, customer experience strategy

How to taking the hospitality experience to healthcare to deliver a great service so customers want to share a recommendation after they’ve left.


Jim White is the former Vice President of Customer Experience at Symphony Post Acute Network. In this week’s podcast interview with host Seth Adler, White describes how running a post-acute Medicare care network is similar to running a casino. He shares how he built up a keen understanding of the customer experience in hospitality within his gaming career and how he brought that forward into the healthcare industry.

He also says that the true insight in customer experience is to tie it into somebody's emotional state, because people make decisions based on how they feel. In healthcare that's very prevalent, but even in gaming it is. If someone feels good about the time that they spent in your building by, for example having a great meal, even if they lost money during their visit, they will feel good about the experience and they will share a recommendation.


“If you feel good about the deliverable, whatever that deliverable is, you can connect at a granular level with people and have success.”



1. The one customer service goal

“There are things that you're judged on, healthcare ratings from the state are driven on those things. So that's not going to change, but my job was to partner with these guys so that they could understand that they could do all those things and we could still concentrate on these clinical outcomes with a positive attitude and a smile on our face. It's getting them to understand that you can have both, and so focusing on the end result, which really has to be the clinical outcome, but people don't leave and talk about, ‘Oh I had the best nurse because they took care of me’. They leave and they talk about how they felt about that service, which is all customer experience. Our whole goal with customer service is only one goal. My goal isn't to have these glowing reports on how fabulous our buildings were. The customer service goal of our company is to get people to leave and recommend us.”

2. From hospitality to healthcare

“I actually am not a nursing home or healthcare person. I spent 26 years in casino gaming. I was recruited three and a half years ago to come into this specific company, who realised the stigma, and the branding around the negative connotation of nursing home, and they wanted to go out into the realm of having a better customer experience, like most healthcare organisations. They wanted somebody that had a hospitality driven background. My job was to take that background and knowledge that I have intimately around customer experience and put it into an environment where the last place somebody wants to be is in one of our facilities.”

3. Will over skill

 “From a customer experience standpoint, you have to know what your end goal is, hire people for the end goal. In my current business, you have to have the licensure to be a nurse or a CAN. That's great. Once you pass the licensure test I'm going to hire you based on whether or not your personality is going to match my end goal of customer experience, and if not, you're going to skate along. […]. Skill is necessity. I would rather have the will.”