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Does your staff know how much you care about customer service? They do at Mid Carolina Cardiology in Charlotte, NC, which has a committee devoted to customer service issues and a detailed set of standards. (See sample standards, p. 130.)
At orientation, new employees view a video and attend a customer service seminar. "When you walk in [as a new employee], you get the message right up front that this is something that is very important to the organization," says Joanna Younts, MBA, director of outcomes and a Patient Satisfaction & Outcomes Management reader.
A "Caring Corner" bulletin board in the break room lists employees who have been nominated for employee of the quarter for outstanding customer service. And special thank-you pads enable employees to recognize each other for taking a special effort either to help staff or patients. The note they write goes in the employee’s personnel file.
At Pinehurst (NC) Surgical Clinic, the star award committee bestows a simple gift, such as a balloon bouquet and a star pin, on employees who have been nominated and met criteria for excellent service.
For example, several workers in the business office of the orthopedic department bought lunch for a patient who was waiting for a public transportation van to take her home. Another employee stayed after his work shift to help an elderly patient with a flat tire. They all received star awards.
"It makes people feel really good, just a simple thing like that," says Pinehurst marketing director Betty Dew. "[We announce] The star award is going to be in such-and-such department today. Come and see who’s going to get an award.’ People cry. It’s a great thing, and it doesn’t cost a lot of money."