What is your customer service initiative for 2013?

Customer service is without a doubt an ongoing discussion at hospitals across the country. With part of reimbursements now tied to patient satisfaction, it is more important than ever to ensure your team is doing what they can to make patients happy.

As we march on into a New Year, now is the time to review what your facility is doing to keep customer service top-of-mind.

As with any communications program, a strategy should be developed to drive positive customer service skills. There are many components of a customer service initiative, but I’d like to highlight five.

Focused Topics
As part of your ongoing initiative, take time each month to focus on one topic. For example, one month you might consider talking with your team members about making eye contact with the patient or family member, or how to answer the telephone. These topics might seem basic, but you might be surprised how those two elements along can make a difference to your patients.

Current Issues
Is there a hot-button issue going on at your facility right now? What about last month? Take time to research what your patient satisfaction data is telling you and address these challenges and discuss what happened and how it was (or needed to be) resolved. Avoid a recurring issue by addressing it from the beginning.

It might seem silly to the team, but staging scenarios and showing your team members examples of how to deal with situations can be a powerful method of communicating. It’s also fun!

Survey Results
Take time each month to discuss customer service survey results from the previous month. Compare these results to previous points in time. Learning can be achieved no matter if the data shows you’re doing better or getting worse. In either case, it’s important to bring this to light.

Keep it going! Don’t let your customer service program go silent. An ongoing program will increase top-of-mind awareness and promote a positive trend in performance scores.

One last suggestion. Stay away from too many webinars, television training programs, and telephone-based customer service programs. They often bore your team members because they are not interactive.

Need help in looking at what might work for your hospital? I invite you to give me a call. I’d be happy to discuss how my on-site customer service programs are quite affordable, engaging, and effective.