What can a retailer learn from a healthcare facility? Quite a lot, according to Leonard L. Berry, who was founding director of The Center for Retailing Studies at the Mays Business School, Texas A&M University.
Berry, who today holds the M. B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership — among several other positions — at Mays Business School, studied healthcare service at Mayo Clinic, then wrote a book about it. Just published by McGraw-Hill, Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic was co-written with Kent D. Seltman, who was director of marketing at Mayo Clinic from 1992 through 2006.
This week in “Retail Strategies,” we will excerpt a little of what the two authors learned. In the chapter, “Preserving a Patient-First Legacy,” they tell the following story, which was told to them by an emergency physician at Mayo:
“The driver of a big-rig transport truck became ill while driving through Rochester and proceeded to Mayo Clinic’s Saint Marys Hospital, parked her big rig right in front, and made her way to the emergency department (ED).
“The doctors strongly advised that she be admitted to the hospital immediately, but she resisted. After some probing questions, the staff learned that the driver was very concerned because her truck was parked on the street and her dog was locked in the cab.
“At this point, the patient’s ED nurse volunteered to handle the truck and the dog, accepting the responsibility though it was not his job to do so. The patient gave him the truck keys, and he says, ‘I was a little surprised to find that it was a Kenworth with a 53-foot trailer.’
“Then he recalled that a nurse colleague in the ED had been an over-the-road truck driver and had maintained his commercial driver’s license. This second nurse moved the patient’s truck, but parking it for a few days was another matter. He called the management of a local shopping center, as well as the Rochester Police Department, and received permission to park in the mall lot. The first nurse looked after the patient’s dog.”