Last week I wrote about the importance of goal setting for your department and I outlined four goals that I feel are important to your success. They focus on customers, employees, the biomedical community and vendors. This week’s blog discusses the first and most important of those four goals.
Department Goal Number 1: Customers who believe that we are dedicated to providing them with the best possible service
The number one goal of your depart should be to create loyal customers. You can do this by having everyone in your department dedicate themselves to providing your customers with the best possible service. Make certain that every member of your department understands that they are an ambassador for their department and that every interaction provides them with an opportunity to demonstrate that their customer’s interests are a number one priority. Customers like to think that they are dealing with people who can make decisions. They do not like dealing with people who always have to “check with the boss”. Give all your department members the authority to make decisions on the spot.
No matter how good you are at what you do, if your customers do not think you and everyone in your department cares, you will never earn their loyalty. Stop and think about your own experiences as a customer in a supermarket or restaurant. How many times did inattentive sales clerks or waiters ruin your experience? Did you ever get angry because someone was ignoring you or too busy on their cell phone to take the time to help you? Usually we direct our anger more toward how people treat us rather than at the products themselves. Conversely, our best experiences happen when someone goes out of our way to help us, or when a waiter is very friendly and attentive.
In most cases, your primary customers are nurses because they are the people with whom you have the most interaction. A great way to begin improving relationships with your nursing department is to open up direct lines of communication. You can start by asking the nursing department leadership to help you open up two-way communication by designating a nurse liaison who will attend your regular department meetings. Your nurse liaison can advise you of medical device issues from a nursing perspective and you, in turn, can bring your issues to their attention. Use the nurse liaison to find out how you can assist them in improving their use of medical devices. Examples are; you can offer additional training in device operation, or serve as a technical advisor in new device selection. You can also offer to assist in conducting equipment demonstrations or arranging evaluations.
One of the best aspects of this type of programs is hat you can never tell where it will lead and how your department will benefit. A good example of this happened when early in our program, nurses told us that they would save a lot of time we could design a writing surface that mounted on the IV poles that held their vital signs monitors. They were so happy with our design and the added convenience that they began coming to us with all kinds of ideas that would help their productivity. As word spread through the hospital that we could design and build solutions for people’s problems, physicians, researchers and others began to see us as problem solvers and they began coming to us for help. This program brought us favorable publicity throughout the hospital and helped to change the way administrators, physicians and nurses perceived us.
The nurse liaison program brought many positive changes to our department and we learned that the best way to develop a strong customer service program is to open up communications and learn as much as possible about your customer’s needs.
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