In most sectors, like retail, banking, travel, poor service delivery is irritating and makes you vexed. But poor service delivery in the Care sector is different; it has a fundamental impact on the customer’s essential quality of life. So would you say that getting it right is an ethical duty of human compassion?
We would say “YES”, but that it is also a business imperative; the quality of service delivery willimpact business profits. People are very quick to spot the gaps between the rhetoric of “we provide excellent customer focused service” and the reality which my not be so good; and people do talk about quality of service, particularly poor quality service. I still talk about the massive gap between the rhetoric and the reality of my daughter’s university hall of residence… and that was 8 years ago; bad memories live on!
So, the 4th item in our series about Customer Excellence looks at how to get Service Delivery right. What are the component parts?
According to the Centre for Assessment, who offer Customer Service Excellence training, the first step is about knowing your delivery standards. That doesn’t mean issuing a statement that says “We comply with the CQC standards” and issuing that to your staff with a: “that’s your job, get on with it”. (and I am sure you don’t!) But what does it mean?
It means unpicking those standards, deciding what good care looks like against those standards, identifying the key performance indicators for those standards, and deciding how you will measure them.
However, the Customer Service Excellence standard emphasises that deciding what your standards and key performance indicators is not a piece of work to be done in a closed room. It means being consultative, it means talking to your staff, talking to your clients, talking to your partners and getting their views on what good care looks like to them.
Having agreed your indicators of good care, it means measuring those indicators consistently and regularly against your chosen measuring framework. It means looking carefully at the results and interpreting them in terms of “what is that saying about my business?” and “what are my action points as a result?”
And finally, and this may be a celebratory action, or it may need courage in some cases, it means sharing the results; sharing with staff, clients, partners, the world…..
But… doing it this way, you always have a positive message: from “Yeah, we are great and here’s proof “ to “This aspect may not be so good right now but this is what we are doing to make it better”. And you are in control. The head in the sand approach isn’t going to deliver any benefits, life will overtake you and leave you wrong footed.
Strangely enough, Care2Improve is a tool upon which you can develop your service standards. The Service Excellence Standard gives you 2 more steps on the Delivery criterion; we’ll have more on those in coming newsletters.