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What’s missing from the company-customer relationship? 

Awhile back, I had the opportunity to talk with a woman bythe name of Barbara Gamberini. She works as a standardized patient with the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. 

What’s a standardized patient, you ask? 

Put simply, a standardized patient is a sort of actor who isgiven a role of a patient experiencing health issues. Medical schools like Wake Forest use standardized patients to allow students to practice their bedside manner and ability to ask questions to find out what the patient’s problem is. 

It’s a bit more complicated than that, so listen to my full interviewwith Barbara to learn more about what standardized patients do. 

What’s important here is the lesson Barbara can teach usabout marketing. 

Giving Her Best Effort 

For Barbara, being a standardized patient is hard. It takesa lot of work and preparation, and it can be emotionally draining. She sometimes has to play the role of patients who have been abused or are experiencing other very difficult conditions. 

But she takes it very seriously, because she knows the workshe’s doing, the stories she’s telling, will help shape future generations of healthcare providers. 

“I fell in love with being in this role it became such a joyand for me as well as and responsibility for me because I felt such a satisfaction knowing that I was helping these students.” Barbara told me. 

Barbara knows that in order for the students to become gooddoctors, nurses and PAs, she needs to do her part. Those students need her to give it her best effort. 

“I feel a responsibility and the sense of excellence interms of how to bring my role to them. So they will learn for later on in there in the real world because that's really what it's all about,” she said. 

Love is the Answer 

The word “empathy” is used a lot in marketing circles. It’simportant for marketers to empathize with their audiences in order to deliver the right messages and stories. 

For Barbara, it goes beyond empathy. It’s love. 

She truly loves the students she sees and wants them tosucceed, and she’s gratified when she sees them in the community.  

“I bump into them all the time. They have become excellentfor healthcare professionals and I'm hoping that some of my advice that I gave them has helped them get to where they are now.” 

As marketers, we should all follow Barbara’s example. Toooften, we look at the customer relationship as transactional. Because of her love for her “customers,” shealways gives her best effort to be a good storyteller and ensure they get what they need to achieve their goals and improve their lives.

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