Friday, 27 April 2012

Customer Care Training in the NHS

Yesterday I attended a Customer Care training session as a Patients Ambassador (with the Patients Association). It was an interesting morning, run by the clinical training officer and aimed at a range of NHS personnel (nurses, technicians, clerical). The customers were defined as both patients and other colleagues. Here a few points that I took away from the morning . . .

1. Everyone who attended the course fully understood the importance of good customer care - the issues that needs to be addressed is why it does not happen all the time. There is a difference between the rhetoric and the reality.

2. For a hospital to improve its service, compliments are just as useful as complaints! Mental note: submit a compliment about one aspect of one of my doctors!

3. Apparently in retail, 69% of people value the emotional experience as much as the product. One can only imagine that the percentage is significantly higher in healthcare!

4. There was a good focus on taking responsibility and avoiding defensiveness - "not my job/department" etc. With the NHS being such a large organisation, this is bound to come up, but the trainer was very good at challenging defensiveness, and said it was really important for staff to eat humble pie and try and please/reassure the customer. From experience, I can not emphasise what a difference this would make!

5. The course was supposed to use patients stories, which it did not really do - I think introducing a few stories at the begining would have really improved the course, setitng the content in context.

6.Customer care is something everyone has experienced - in shops, cafes etc. so getting people to talk about their experiences helped them realise the service they provide.

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