Motivate ‘star’ staffers with service awards

Recognition keeps service at forefront

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."