Tell Me Now: A focus on Customer Service
Part 3



In my last column, we discussed how the “Tell Me Now” customer service initiative is being conducted at Granville Medical Center. I said a community hospital should ensure the health system offers both excellent customer service and quality care. It’s simply the right thing to do. Granville County deserves nothing less.

This level of service requires an ongoing commitment to excellence and an unwavering focus on quality. A handful of businesses in our country are widely known for offering great customer service and they all began the same way; a change in culture. We’re building a new culture of customer service at Granville Health System. The hospital has focused on five steps to create a health system where every patient experience rates a 10 on a scale of 0 to 10.

We understand that change can occur from the top, but GHS staff ultimately drives our success.
Customer service has been identified as a top priority by Granville Health System’s Board of Trustees. As an organization focused on patient-centered care, GHS leadership took steps to ensure “Tell Me Now” will be positioned for success. Granville Health System committed to the inclusion of customer service measures on the GHS organizational scorecard, a goal-setting document approved by the Board that monitors and reports on the Hospital’s progress on a monthly and quarterly basis. Department managers are supporting this staff-driven initiative and GHS employees are asking the questions and responding to feedback. GHS employees are leading the charge for customer service and taking the reins in a staff-led action team that drives the program.

We know that creating this culture begins with the hiring process.
Job candidates with an illustrated history of customer service and experience delivering patient-centered care play a large role in our recruitment program. In fact, a healthy respect for the quality of care and service you provide is a prerequisite for working at our hospital. Part of the GHS hiring process includes interview questions that hone in on a candidates ability to develop and cultivate effective relationships with customers in order to meet our customer service objectives. At every employee town hall meeting we begin and end the meeting with a review of our mission, vision and goals.

We recognize the value of ongoing training, support and measuring results.
Customer service training is an ongoing program at Granville Health System and is driven from an organizational level, rather than departmental. The “Tell Me Now” customer service program is introduced in new employee orientation. Staff involved with a patient’s inpatient experience participated in the initial “Tell Me Now” full training program, and as the initiative moves forward, staff members throughout the health system are participating. In order to realize a shift in culture, an organization must recognize success and opportunities. An example of this would be our monthly Essential Piece Awards, a program that recognizes great customer service. You may have seen our “Essential Piece” winners in this newspaper and on our Facebook page. Patients, coworkers and members of the community nominate GHS employees that exhibit the level of care and service that support the philosophy of “Tell Me Now.” The culture shift we’re seeking requires us to stay continually focused on the results we want. But success breeds success, and we reward our staff who support our mission to provide the very best care and service.

We want to empower our employees and develop leaders.
I would tell you employees on the front lines delivering care are often the folks with the answers. Gaining feedback from them through an action group is vital to our success. We’re empowering them to make positive change in the organization and to continually develop the program and affect real change. We’re also counting on them to drive the program and lead from the inside. On August 26 the Tell Me Now Action Committee has its kick-off meeting. This is a group of front line staff currently driving the program and interacting with patients and their families every day. Committee members will bring back feedback from our patients, identify customer service opportunities for the hospital and create action items based on the group’s recommendations. We are developing and mentoring leaders on the front line of our health care delivery team.

We value feedback from our patients, their families and the community.
Great customer service depends on building relationships with our patients, their families and the community. Building those relationships requires 2-way communication. Our staff will be asking more questions and listening to your concerns and suggestions. In fact, a specially trained team of volunteer customer service representatives (CSR) are managing a very unique piece of the “Tell Me Now” program. Every day our CSR team is stopping by our inpatient hospital rooms to visit with our patients before they are discharged. They ask questions associated with the HCAPS survey that we discussed in my previous column. They will ask if the room was always quiet and clean and if there is anything at all that would have prevented complete satisfaction with the stay. The responses they receive are submitted directly to our customer service program manager and the Tell Me Now Action Committee. This feedback helps us monitor the program and develop how we continually deliver quality care and excellent service at the hospital. Please assist us as we continue to meet your expectations through open, honest dialog.

In my next column, we’ll discuss in more detail how Granville Health System is engaging key community members in volunteer roles to serve as patient advocates in collecting valuable feedback from our patients and community members. In the meantime, please contact me with your thoughts and ideas on customer service and how we can earn a 10 during your next visit. Please contact me by email at TellMeNow@granvillemedical.com or visit ghsHospital.org/TellMeNow for more information.