I get really annoyed with healthcare leaders who talk about working on great patient experience, and yet don’t invest in adequate training. A few months ago, I was working with a leadership team that was discouraged about their poor patient satisfaction scores. As we talked, they explained what they were doing to improve service. It boiled down to measuring satisfaction through surveys, and beating people up over the scores.
What’s wrong with this picture? First of all, they didn’t have clear standards for service. Second of all, the only training that anyone got was 20 minutes during orientation. Once the new employee landed in his or her respective department, it was anyone’s guess as to how those lessons were reinforced. There was no ongoing training or coaching on customer service, whatsoever.
When I delved a bit further into the reasons why they didn’t offer training, I was told that it is too expensive. The CFO condescendingly explained to me that training time was nonproductive time, and that they could not justify nonproductive time. Wow! That was an amazing admission. They were leading a service business but couldn’t justify spending resources on service training. A great example of – you get what you pay for.
Creating a great patient experience requires more than beating people up over scores. It takes setting clear standards, and then providing ongoing training and coaching. Training can’t be limited to online, check-the-box regurgitation of words. It must include curriculum that helps to develop and reinforce skills in a safe environment. There are retail outlets that spend weeks on customer service training, but health care organizations that spend less than one hour. Is it a cost or an investment? Let us bring you a great return on your investment.