Part 2 of a 3-part series on Customer Service in Long Term Care

The difficulty you face with keeping residents and their families happy is only one part of your daily customer service challenge.

Your front line staff members spend as much time working with each other as they do with residents. And, quite likely, there are as many issues that arise among coworkers as there are with those they care for.

Susan is a Skilled Nursing Facility Administrator in Michigan. With a staff of nearly 150 and significant turnover, she had been struggling to provide basic customer service training due to time constraints, other training priorities, and the high cost of contracting with training vendors.

Susan recognized there was an urgent need to improve customer service skills for at least one reason, reducing the time she spent refereeing arguments between employees. More importantly, she was determined to improve the quality of care her residents received which, she figured, should also increase resident satisfaction scores on the annual survey.

Susan and her managers began delivering customer service training in 15-30 minute segments.  Some of the learning modules included “Listening Skills” and “Conflict Management.”

The training tools she used were easily understood so a manager could deliver lessons without extensive preparation. The learning materials could also be given to staff members to work on alone or in groups. In addition, the materials included quizzes, role plays, and other exercises to help employees absorb what they had learned.

The results: Within 30 days, staff members were consistently applying the knowledge they had acquired to work through their own difficulties, most of which were simple miscommunications. After a year of routinely delivering the short customer service lessons, resident satisfaction is up while staff turnover has declined.

Chalk up one more benefit, Susan now spends less time playing referee.

Part 3 will focus on the requirements for delivering impactful customer service training.

Rob Anderson works with skilled nursing and assisted living facilities throughout the U.S. to develop and implement customer service training programs.