Marlene Moran, a collections rep at Aurora’s Forest Home Center in Milwaukee contacted a customer in his 90’s about his overdue medical bills. During the call, she learned the man was unable to pay anything; in fact his eye sight was so bad he could not even read his bill plus he was an amputee. Marlene contacted an Aurora financial counselor who dispatched Kathy Paul for a home visit. “I was able to find and help him complete his application for senior care which had expired,” said Paul. “We also contacted the county who arranged for a social agency to visit him weekly to provide personal care. I left him my phone number to call anytime he had a concern.” Her actions were like the story of the boy returning starfish trapped on the beach back into the ocean, despite the fact there were thousands on the shore. When a passerby chastised the boy for pursuing a task that was too massive to make a difference, he retorted, as he tossed another starfish into the surf: “it made a difference to that one!” The story is now a part of Aurora’s book of patient-centered care stories entitled “This Side Up.”
“Extra” goes to the heart of the great service. It telegraphs affirmation. William James, the famed psychologist, wrote: “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” Extra says you are worth it. Extra says, “I care enough to go the extra mile for you.” What can you do to give your customers…extra?