When it comes to improving the patient experience, don’t forget volunteers. Healthcare organizations benefit from millions of hours of volunteer time and energy every year, yet I rarely see stellar training on customer service. They are often the first faces that patients and family members see upon entering hospitals. They are the face of the organization and yet I am consistently stunned by how few have good customer service training and feedback systems.
Hold Everyone to the Same Standard
We were recently rolling out Power of One customer service training for a system with thousands of employees. As we discussed plans, I asked about volunteers, wondering if they would be included in the training. The answer was no. That soon changed when staff noticed the standard to which they were being held seemed to be different for volunteers. They realized that as long as a volunteer serves in a patient or customer-facing position, they should be held to the same service standards.
Just like the employees of the organizations, volunteers need to know the standards and expectations for service excellence. And, like employees they benefit from feedback and coaching.
A volunteer often makes the first impressions. Make sure they have the tools they need to be successful.