Up your odds of giving top customer service

Learn from members of your staff

Patient access staff at Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, MI, are assessed for customer service as part of the criteria for the hospital's bonus program, says Patti Burchett, director of registration and central scheduling.

"Good service is the right thing to do for the patient, but there is also a monetary incentive as well," Burchett says. "That is a big part of how we hold them accountable."

Customer service is evaluated on Press-Ganey scores, with targets established using the previous year's data for the organization's quarterly gainshare bonus. Goals are at the department level, not the individual level, so everyone must work together as a team to achieve results, notes Burchett. "The department establishes three goals, with one being focused on customer service," says Burchett. "If the target is achieved, staff would be eligible for a third of the bonus as it relates to Press-Ganey."

Monthly reports on survey data applicable to the registration staff, along with patient comments, are reviewed for process improvement opportunities, says Burchett.

Managers round on the floors with a focus on customer service and visit every registration area at least once a month. "When they round, they are not observing. They are asking for input from the staff, to obtain ideas from them," Burchett says. Simple questions such as "How is your day going? or "How is the patient environment today?" can give valuable insight, she says. Staff may tell the manager, "We had two call-ins, and we are sinking. I need help!" "My computer isn't working," or "The department has more people on the schedule than we anticipated."

Whatever staff report, managers are sure to follow up the next time they come back to the area, says Burchett. "They will say, 'Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Here is what we did about it,'" she says.