I get really annoyed at leaders who talk about working on great service and yet don’t provide 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 this: they were measuring satisfaction through surveys and telling people to give better service.
What’s wrong with this picture? First of all, they didn’t have clear standards for service. Second off all, the only training that anyone ever received was 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 on customer service whatsoever.
When I delved a bit further into the reasons that they didn’t offer training, I was told that it was 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.
Great service takes more than hope. It takes adequate training. Training helps to develop and reinforce skills in a safe environment. There are retail outlets that spend weeks on customer service training, but healthcare organizations that spend less than one hour. Is it a cost or an investment?