Medical care is a necessity for many of our retired veterans. Some did 20 years and left the service. Others were medically retired due to injuries sustained in the line of duty, many of which were as a result of more than a decade of war. So, how is it possible that the discussion of wait times is once again marginalized?
When asked what metrics the VA uses to determine if the wait time issues are in fact decreasing, the Veteran Affairs Secretary threw a curve ball to reporters. Instead of providing metrics, he attempted to provide context, and unfortunately went down a route no one would have expected.
McDonald stated, “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is what’s your satisfaction with the experience?” The good news is that McDonald is correct – in a way. Satisfaction with the experience is an important piece of the discussion. In fact, the last few years have shown us that customer satisfaction can fuel entire industries.
Customer reviews have helped Amazon demonstrate the efficacy of one product over another. Angie’s List is dedicated to reviews of businesses to help the consumer make an informed decision. Even Six Sigma, an efficiency-driving practice, is based on understanding customer specifications based on their satisfaction and improving the processes around that to remove non-valued added steps.
Unfortunately, McDonald is also very wrong for a variety of reasons. First, Disney does track wait times. They even have a Disney App for that, and it makes the wait times public so that park-goers can make informed decisions based on the time they have remaining. Second, if the wait time for medical care exceeds the life remaining in the patient, then in a very tongue-in-cheek way, the satisfaction level will decrease.
The customer satisfaction is never determined by the business. Only in a command market will that be dictated. McDonald fails to understand that customer satisfaction is personal, and while it is open to influence from marketing or awareness campaigns, it can be contradictory to what the business owner desired in the first place. Veterans, patients, and advocates place wait times as part of the customer specifications for what makes them satisfied. They determine what are appropriate wait times versus inappropriate. It is up to the VA to work to meet that specification to improve satisfaction.
Every time a customer picks up the phone to speak with customer service this is demonstrated. A call that sits on hold for two minutes versus thirty minutes creates an entirely different level of satisfaction. A company which calls back when the wait time is over understands that it is not wasting the customer’s time as much and is improving that satisfaction. McDonald fails to understand this.
Perhaps, at the end of the day, it is important to understand how McDonald came into his position in the first place. It was a wait time scandal that led to his predecessor’s downfall, and his rise. It would behoove McDonald to remember this, and to tailor his comments appropriately. None of the veterans waiting on medical care think of their experience as if they were waiting for an amusement park ride. It is time that McDonald recognized that too.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.