Customer Service: The #1 Priority for Assisted Living
Exceptional customer service is fundamental for the success of any business – including the assisted living industry. In healthcare, we’re in the relationship business and the product we’re selling is our service. It’s every healthcare consumer’s right to receive safe, quality services that are delivered by competent professionals. To achieve this goal, resources are allocated to develop and implement evidenced-based clinical programs (e.g. fall prevention and wound care programs).
Equally important to delivering safe, quality care is the overall customer experience; making the patient (and family) feel cared for is essential. Assisted living communities can’t assume they’re providing good customer service just by managing the patients’ healthcare needs; customer service extends far beyond the physical care and treatment.
The key to great customer service sounds simple – ensure staff treat customers appropriately. Unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward. We can't assume customer service skills are inherent. So, how can healthcare leaders ensure their staff consistently provides exceptional customer service? I believe the true key to success is establishing a formal customer service program that consists of standards and expectations that all employees must follow.
The purpose of developing a formal customer service program includes:
- To demonstrate the organization’s commitment to consistently deliver exceptional customer service
- To ensure staff is fully informed about their roles and responsibilities
- To teach and promote customer service skills
- To provide clear guidelines and a set of standards to follow when interacting with customers
- To ensure performance is monitored and action is taken to address any issues or concerns
- To recognize and motivate employees who meet or exceed customer service standards
Every person employed by your organization can influence the quality of service a customer receives and consequently their perception of the organization. Therefore, it’s vital to emphasize that the customer service program is relevant to each and every employee from the CEO to the front-line staff. Everyone can and must participate with enthusiasm and commitment to ensure the needs and expectations of the customers are successfully met.
I can’t preach enough how crucial it is that customer service be a top priority. I urge all assisted living leaders to conduct an in-depth review of their current customer service program. Don’t assume your staff understands how to consistently provide good customer service. Give them the empowerment they need by establishing a formal Customer Service Program.
- Senior Living Five-Star Rating System Case Study
- Potential Impact of HB2509 Bill on Illinois Nursing Homes
- Uber-technology Not Needed to Win My Loyalty
ABOUT THE AUTHOR