A truck driver entered a Mayo Clinic emergency room, severely short of breath. The diagnosis was a bacterial infection requiring immediate surgery. The patient indicated that her truck was illegally parked at the front entrance and her dog, also sick, was in the truck. Surgery would have to wait. But surgery could not wait, and a nurse volunteered to move the truck and attend to the dog. The truck turned out to be a semi. Finding a parking place, a licensed driver, and dog care fell far outside the nurse’s job description. But promises had been made. The nurse found a Mayo employee who was a former trucker to park the truck in a local shopping center parking lot (with permission). He took the dog to a veterinarian and cared for it in his own home until the patient was discharged. When asked in an interview why he went so far outside the normal service role, the nurse replied, “At Mayo Clinic, the patient’s needs come first.”

This true story, one of many exemplary service stories found in Mayo Clinic’s nearly 160-year history, illustrates the true potential of service: creating a customer experience so valuable and exceptional that the customer feels gratitude afterward. This is the acid test for every organization: how do customers perceive the organization following the service?

Read more about the creation of quality service and the value it begets here.