Written By: Larry Stevens
Not long ago, I attended the funeral service for a young man named Nate Davis, who had served Med One as our Director of Information Technology for over 16 years. Nate passed away unexpectedly at an early age. His funeral was held in a church, and I estimate the capacity of the chapel and overflow area was 1,500 to 2,000 people. When I walked into the building, I was astonished to find the chapel and overflow area filled to capacity. Furthermore, there was a line out of the building with people waiting to get in.
During the service, one of the speakers who knew Nate very well asked those of us who were assembled, “would everyone who has ever had Nate help them with a computer problem, please stand up?” I was astounded when over two-thirds of the audience stood.
Nate was a very knowledgeable and personable young man. He was passionate about technology and finding solutions to problems. On a personal level, I looked to him often to help me with technology issues here in our office, but also at my home. He was always quick to be there for me, and he always fixed the problem or taught me what I needed to know to utilize an application. I had mistakenly assumed that Nate was always totally responsive to me because he worked for Med One, and he was astute enough to “take good care of the boss.”
Imagine my surprise that morning when I learned that assembled in that room were over 1,000 people who had firsthand experience receiving the benefit of Nate’s technology skills and infectious personality just like I had. Indeed, he had treated me as if I was the most important person he needed to serve, but I shared the room that day with many, many people who had received the same efficient response and customized expertise. Not because he was obligated, but because that is just the kind of person he was.
I’ve been thinking about Med One’s culture and the experiences that Brent and I have shared over the past 30 years as we have worked to build a business and a legacy that could outlive us and still reflect the important principles that we both believe to be paramount in business and in life.
It is, to me, an unforgivable sin for any of our employees to ever say to a customer, “I’m sorry, we can’t do that; it is against our company policy.” We know that our customers do not care about our company policies! We know that they do care about finding solutions to the problem that they are having now.
Brent wrote in the last issue of this publication about the importance of doing what is expected of you – “And Then Some.” I recently reached out to several of our more experienced employees, who regularly interface directly with our customers, to ask them to tell me about experiences they had in exceeding normal expectations to help our customers. I was pleased and impressed at the many, many different ways our employees had found to serve their customers and find solutions to problems by going above and beyond what would normally be expected of them in a typical business interaction.
I learned that we had employees working after hours and driving long distances to quickly deliver equipment that was desperately needed by a hospital. I learned that our employees throughout the country had united to quickly move a scarce piece of equipment from an office in California to a customer in Atlanta, Georgia, in record time in order to fulfill a critical need. I learned that our entire biomed crew at our headquarters location had worked overtime and through their weekends for three consecutive weeks in order to prepare 3,000 infusion pumps for a delivery to a hospital in Chicago in order to solve a dire emergency situation for our customer. I learned that our credit, sales, and finance team had collaborated to quickly customize lease documentation in order to meet the needs of a customer. This quick collaboration accelerated the closing of a major lease that allowed one of our manufacturer partners to complete an eight-figure lease transaction, which enabled them to recognize significant revenue in the desired quarter. I learned that the entire service team in one of our offices in California had coined the phrase, “sick babies shouldn’t have to wait,” and then they unitedly committed themselves to fast track every order for neonatal equipment to ensure almost instant delivery to the requesting customer.
After reviewing the details of each of these experiences as well as many others, I asked a follow-up question. “Do your customers recognize what you have had to do in order to accomplish this for them?” In almost every case, the answer was, “no, our customer was not aware of what we had to go through to do this.” It would sound self-serving at best for us to provide exceptional service for a customer and then bludgeon them with the details of what we had just gone through to meet their needs. The reality is that our customers have learned to expect and count on the fact that when they call Med One, they will likely get a solution to a problem, and often, it is a solution that they hoped for – “And Then Some.” They can almost take for granted that when Med One makes a commitment to them, they can plan on not just being satisfied but being pleased with the result. And they are never going to appreciate what we might have to go through behind the scenes in order to serve them.
In reality, one of the critical pillars of our success during the past 30 years has been that we have consciously tried to shield our customers from any of the behind the scenes drama that often takes place in order for us to do what we do in serving them. It is, to me, an unforgivable sin for any of our employees to ever say to a customer, “I’m sorry, we can’t do that; it is against our company policy.” We know that our customers do not care about our company policies! We know that they do care about finding solutions to the problem that they are having now. We have made it a rule to keep all our background drama about how we can do what we do out of the view of the customer so that they can have a seamless experience with Med One.
For example, many people are amazed that we will routinely provide a brand new, unique piece of equipment for a customer at a very reasonable monthly rental price based only upon a 12-month term commitment (rather than the standard 36 – 60-month commitment which is normally required in the equipment leasing industry). They are further amazed that our options at the end of that minimum commitment term are so simple, straightforward, and customer-friendly. Our customers who take advantage of these types of programs only know how simple and transparent the transaction is. They are generally not aware of the time, energy, and capital we have employed behind the scenes to create a separate “peak need rental” option or the sales structure and the biomed capability we have built in order to efficiently deal with equipment if it is returned to us after that 12-month minimum lease term. We have built this capability so that we can reasonably offer an option to our customers that will allow them to maximize their use of their own capital budgets. We are not aware of another equipment leasing company that has the internal structure that we have, which provides real value to our customers. We provide that value to them without fanfare and without the drama of forcing them to commit to unreasonable, hard to understand documentation language.
When we move a piece of critically needed rental equipment across the United States in record time, the customer is not aware of the logistics involved in sending sensitive medical devices in our own trucks, using our own employees across the country in order to get it there in working condition for immediate use. They only need to know that when we commit to get it to them, it will be there.
During last year’s devastating fires in California, our outstanding delivery personnel spent hours plotting out safe routes to get to our customers when traditional routes had been closed off by the fires - in order to deliver needed equipment when most of our competitors simply refused to show up. What mattered to our customers is that we showed up on time as promised. We choose not to bother them with the extraordinary logistic efforts that made a delivery like that possible.
I would really like to say that this is all due to our flawless hiring practices and our exceptional employee training in the fine art of customer service. However, the fact is that we have been very blessed along the way to have found people to work at Med One who have the personal integrity that drives them to want to serve and to be willing to go above and beyond in order to take care of Med One’s most important asset – our loyal customers. These experiences and many others are a tribute to the outstanding individuals who make up the Med One team.
Med One has grown from four employees at our founding to over 150 people employed in a large variety of job functions. We recently learned that we have more employees located outside of our home office in Utah than we do at the home office. This realization was sobering to me. I never really anticipated that kind of growth. Long ago, we coined the slogan – “At Med One, we want to be really good at one thing – WHATEVER IT TAKES.” This is the culture that we strive to impress upon our employees. We sincerely want each person who works for us to have the same commitment to providing excellent service to our customers that we have always had since there were only four of us. Satisfaction is the lowest level of acceptable service that we expect from our employees.
In this day and age, it seems more and more difficult to find people who have a natural desire to provide exceptional service as a baseline expectation. We are blessed. We have some remarkable examples of people who do this naturally and seemingly without effort. These are the backbone of the culture of Med One.
With so many employees with whom we do not have direct contact – it becomes harder and harder. In this day and age, it seems more and more difficult to find people who have a natural desire to provide exceptional service as a baseline expectation. We are blessed. We have some remarkable examples of people who do this naturally and seemingly without effort. These are the backbone of the culture of Med One. They set the trend and provide an admirable example of friendliness, commitment, and caring. Their actions not only create satisfaction for those we serve, but they create loyalty and exceed expectations. Med One is so very fortunate to have attracted so many people who have taken pride in the mission of the company. We see the results of their work throughout the company. Whether it is a salesperson who truly treats her customers as friends with an eye toward solving problems; a tech who recognizes that his work is a representation of whether or not Med One can be counted on for excellence; a driver who delivers equipment with the friendly understanding that he or she may be the only Med One representative that customer will ever meet; or an accountant who understands the tremendous ability they have to help facilitate and expedite successful transactions.
In our perfect world, every employee would internalize and make a commitment to act COURAGEOUSLY in every situation:
Above and Beyond
Everyday – Do it Right
That is the Med One way.Prev Article Next Article