Ask the nursing expert ... about improving customer service

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Angel McGarrity-Davis, RN, CDONA, NHA
Angel McGarrity-Davis, RN, CDONA, NHA

I'm a new unit manager and I see a lack of good customer service. What can I do?

Excellence in customer service is a must. Remember that your customers are your residents, their families and also your coworkers.  

Also remember that someone with an “attitude of servitude” thinks and does the following. Good staff believe:

• Customers deserve the highest level of service

• Customers are always right

• It is all about customer satisfaction

• Customer needs should be anticipated 

• The customer experience is the best it could be 

• Complaints are opportunities to create satisfaction

• Customers should always feel valued

Here are a few examples of great customer service:

• Answering the phone. No one wants to get rerouted by a machine. 

• Doing what you say you are going to do: Don't answer a call bell and say, “I will be right back” and not come back.

• Listening to your customers and resolving their complaints. Staff should be helpful, courteous and knowledgeable. Do you speak to everyone you see and greet them with a smile?  

• Going above and beyond. If you have a customer come to you needing to find something, don't JUST give them directions, TAKE THEM. People notice. They may not always tell you how much that extra step meant to them, but they WILL tell other people who will then become customers. 

• Never say, “It's not my job.”

The best part about consistent, top-notch customer service is your staff will go home feeling really good about what they do every day. And they will tell their friends, creating an emotional relationship between us and them.