It is easy to put together a short course on the fundamentals of customer service. You could post weekly hints or stories of good service on notice boards, in ambulance cabs or even in the bathroom. With a little thought, there are many ways to get the message across. Outside of training in service, make sure you provide the best medical care possible. Run a comprehensive QA chart review program. Provide continuing education for your staff, or reimburse them for it. Make it as easy as possible for staff to improve their skills and expand their knowledge. Offer incentives for staff to increase their certifications. One of the most important elements of service is providing professional, competent medical care. Facilitate that however possible.
Ask candidates in their hiring interview what customer service means to them. Keep in mind that if potential employees have never received any formal customer service training, they may have difficulty defining or explaining it. Ask them if they have ever gone out of their way to help a patient and see what they say. Questions to ask include:
- What is customer service?
- Who is our customer?
- Why is good service important?
- Give us an example of a call when you provided excellent customer service.
Take That Extra Step
Robert, a paramedic with a volunteer fire department, responded to a motor vehicle accident. All family members, on vacation from out of state, were injured. During their hospital stay, Robert took care of their dog, who had been in the car. He fed him, played with him and kept him at his condo for a week. Robert had no clue this was called “customer service.” It just seemed the obvious thing to do at the time. Hire people like this and problems relating to customer service will quickly be resolved.
Paramedic and nurse Chris Hendricks has been in EMS since 1994 when he joined the Ortley Beach First Aid Squad. When he authored this article, he was a field instructor with Pridemark Paramedics Services in Boulder, CO. He now works as a paramedic and ER nurse, and serves with the Wyoming Air National Guard as a flight nurse. He will be receiving his Masters of Science in Nursing Education in summer 2011 and is a certified emergency nurse and a certified forensic nurse.