The Source | August 13, 2019

Advice from the Field

Don't take yourself too seriously. In our profession, whether you are a doctor, administrator, or part of Support Services, self-sacrifice is the garment that we wear.

Herb, NY

CS Manager

Leading the Way for Customer Service

Author: Derek A. Murray | Director of Professional Services

Most of us have been on the receiving end of poor customer service. Perhaps a waiter let you sit for 30 minutes before taking your order, or the insurance hotline kept you on hold (to horrible music) before finally transferring you to an agent who informed you that your request required an in-office visit. Or maybe your auto shop crashed your vehicle on a test drive and refused to cover the costs of repair. (Hopefully not that last one.)

Customer service has the ability to make or break any business—and not just from a financial standpoint. Poor customer service prevents customer satisfaction. It inevitably leads to conflict between employees and customers, and those conflicts work their way inward, hurting staff morale and causing employee disengagement. This, in turn, contributes to unhealthy work culture and increased staff turnover.

How can a leader keep this from happening in his or her organization?

The answer is: Make sure customer service is a priority at all levels of the organization.

Concerned about the customer experience

In order for customer service to exist in its best form on the front lines, it needs the support of every staff member, manager, and executive. Everyone on company payroll needs to be concerned about the customer experience—whether they interact directly with customers or not.

For managers and executives, this means:

Providing Resources

Good customer service doesn’t just happen. It requires resources. These resources can take a few forms:

  • Staff trainings to ensure that staff have the skills to serve customers well. Staff should learn engaged listening techniques, so that when a customer approaches them with a problem, they are equipped to listen to the customer and understand the concern before jumping to any conclusions.
  • Time to serve customers well. If a call center enforces a strict call time limit or goal, employees will be more concerned about that limit than they will be about meeting the customers’ needs. Good customer service requires that staff have flexibility in how they can help customers—part of that flexibility is time.
  • Adequate staff so that your employees aren’t harried. An understaffed team will struggle to provide high-quality customer service, so make sure you have enough trained staff to meet the customers’ demands.

Practicing Customer Service as a Leader

A customer-focused organization centers every operation around serving the customer. This means the managers and executives have the customer in mind when they’re making decisions about budgets and staff, but it also means that they approach leadership with a customer service mindset. In other words, rather than positioning themselves above their staff as overlords, customer-centered leaders serve their employees. They lead and manage in a way that supports their employees, while the employees seek to serve their customers. 

This approach puts everyone on the same team, with the common goal of providing solid customer service. Everyone is working for the customer—rather than executives working for themselves (or shareholders), and managers working for the executives and taking out their stress on front-line employees who are torn between working for their managers and working for the customers. 

How to Lead the Way for Customer Service in Healthcare

Listen to Your Customers

Whether you’re a health technology company (like us), an SPD, or a hospital, listening to your customers is key to ensuring their needs are met. What is at the root of customer requests or complaints? Are there any processes that need to be reworked based on recurring issues? What sticking points need to be cleaned up?

Listen with the goal of understanding the underlying issue. Then do something about it.

Aim to Serve

Whether you’re the SPD manager or the hospital CEO, your No. 1 goal should be to serve. The C-suite serves managers, managers serve staff, staff serve customers—or in the SPD: staff serve medical personnel, medical personnel serve patients. Lead the way by serving, and you’ll start to see the culture change trickle down from servant leaders to frontline staff who excel at serving customers.

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Meet the Family: Jake Piva

A Nebraska Cornhusker at heart, Jake Piva, Sr. Client Manager, shares how he came to join the Censis family and how he plans on growing his here in the hear of Tennesse.

From coast and cornfields to Nashville

Hello! My name is Jake Piva, and I am a Sr. Client Manager for Censis.

I grew up outside of Los Angeles, CA, but always enjoyed going back to small town Nebraska where my parents are from. Being a big Nebraska Cornhusker fan all my life I decided I wanted to become one by graduating from the University of Nebraska.  After graduating from college, I followed my family who had recently relocated from California to Nashville, TN.

During college I studied Business Finance and worked in banking. Prior to joining the Censis Family, my first job out of school was for a healthcare staffing firm where I was a recruiter and account executive for 4 years.

Although my family has since moved away from Tennessee. My fiancé Kelsie and I now call it home along with our rescue dog, Lilah. We both have enjoyed living here in the South and bought our first home a couple years ago. When we are not planning our wedding or working on the house, we enjoy playing volleyball and hiking.

"Have you lost weight? You're looking a little lean."

Whether you’re just starting to implement Lean or your facility has been using the method for years, here are a few principles to guide you as you seek to improve processes.

Accuracy and efficiency are constant battles in SPDs. We know the importance of proper sterilization, but when instrument kits pile up, the focus can naturally shift to the ticking clock. The truth is your department can accomplish both speed and accuracy, but it might take some extra legwork. Enter the Lean method.

We can't wait to show
you Nashville from the
General Jackson Showboat!

CtUC 2019 Awards: Submit and Save!

Growing together is what has made CtUC so special for us at Censis.  To think we started this conference in a small meeting room on the west side of Nashville, and now we are a partner with over 950 facilities across North America is amazing!  Take a few minutes to learn about our traditional awards and three new awards for 2019; then start preparing your submission!

To kick this off right, we are offering a $50 discount on registration for everyone who submits for a 2019 CtUC Award.  If you have already registered, a credit of $50 will be refunded to your card.  Please contact events@censis.com to confirm your award submission and refund.

Deadline for submissions is August 15th, 2019