July 8: Service Excellence
Today I would like to introduce a Guest Blog from our very own Laura Anning. As our Program Director for Service Excellence, we couldn’t be more fortunate to have Laura help lead in this important area as part of the Banner Good Sam family. With her leading the design of more reliable systems at Banner Good Sam, so that each patient feels like he or she receives the best patient experience possible, the future is indeed bright …
Steve Narang, MD, is the chief executive officer at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.
You are the patient experience
By Laura Anning
I’ve been with Banner Good Samaritan nearly four months and couldn’t be happier! Making customer experience the best it can be has always been a passion of mine and now I have the opportunity to focus on it every day. The patient experience is definitely a “Place of Possibilities” and there are many areas Banner Good Samaritan excels. This is evidenced by having the highest large facility scores and winning service excellence honors in “Top of the Top Box” category for Doctor Communication and Responsiveness of staff. What a wonderful accomplishment for our facility – we all should be proud!
I think we all can agree that there are also areas of opportunity. Banner’s goal is to be ranked in the 90th percentile nationally. I’m confident we can reach this goal and consistently deliver exceptional service experiences to patients and families with teamwork, focused planning, flawless execution and continuous improvement.
One of my first objectives when I joined Banner Good Sam was to get my arms around the definition of Service Excellence. It’s not easy to define and many people describe it as “I know when I receive it,” or perhaps more frequently, “I know when I have not received it.”
According to Robert Johnson of the Institute of Customer Service, service excellence has four key elements:
- Delivering the Promise (of quality health care)
- Providing a personal touch
- Going the extra mile
- Resolving problems well
I’d like you to take a moment and think about the last time you experienced extraordinary customer service. It could have been at a restaurant, clothes shopping or even an interaction with the cable company. What about that experience made it special?
I remember a recent excellent experience with an airline when I missed a connection in Detroit because of weather. Needless to say, I was upset because I knew it meant spending the night in a hotel instead of sleeping in my own bed. Many of us have experienced travel nightmares and it typically creates a lot of stress and frustration. However, this particular missed connection afforded me the opportunity to witness an impressive orchestration of service that had a group of angry travelers feeling content.
I recall thinking to myself that customer service training was likely incorporated into the airlines on-boarding process and continuing education process, because every employee demonstrated excellent listening and communication skills. Specifically, employees were fully present when interacting with passengers and their non-verbal cues matched the concern level of the particular passenger. They acknowledged our feelings and provided a blameless apology. The employees were always caring and consistent with their communication efforts and it made a remarkable impression.
Customer service is often viewed as a single encounter. It’s my opinion that effective service is an integrated effort and a connection of experiences over time. It’s not just the interaction with the valet, admissions staff, PCA, nurse or physician. The customer experience represents the totality of services patients and families experience while at Banner Good Samaritan. It is the effort of individuals working together that shape their perceptions.
What I recall made the biggest impact on my perception of this travel experience was the coordinated actions from the entire airline team. While in the air, flight attendants were keeping passengers aware of the status and assured us that they were doing everything they could to arrange other connections. Once on the ground, there were plenty of concerned gate agents addressing a multitude of passenger issues and processes in place to address the needs of passengers spending the night at a nearby hotel.
It is important we recognize each of us plays a very important role in the customer experience. It’s also critical to not overlook the importance of delivering exceptional service consistently. Would you return to a restaurant if the experience was only excellent 50 percent of the time?
I encourage the Banner Good Samaritan team to think about what draws us to work in the health care field and continue to show our patients and families we care by delivering on our promises, providing a personal touch, going the extra mile and resolving problems well.
Thank you for giving me the honor to work with you!