customer service

  1. I'm wondering how many of you work for hospitals where customer service is more of a priority than quality patient care.

    My hospital participates in Press-Ganey rankings, and so they take all patient satisfaction survey seriously. Negative ones are posted and highlighted in our lounge for all to study. They aren't ever investigated. If our quarterly satisfaction scores slip, we are reminded that this is unacceptable.

    Service with a smile is the motto. You are jumped on for not smiling at all times. Spoken to if call lights are not immediately answered. It doesn't matter that you have 8+ really ill patients, and only do primary nursing care. No CNA's allowed! No excuses!

    Is it just my facility or does everyone do this? Frankly without adequate staff, it's pretty difficult to provide wonderful "customer service".

    For all of this, we get no raises, hassled when we want to swap a day with another staff person, no shift differentials, and the joy of being dangerously short staffed.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   ckt
    Yes! I worked for a large chain than owned nursing homes and ALFs. They were big on the surveys, too. The tried motivators, such as bonuses to the staff @ the facility with most improved customer service scores each quarter. They posted all the regional C.S. ratings in the company newsletter. See, they targeted private pay customers...rather affluent elderly & their families. Trouble was the same, though...they had all these great ideas & expectations about customer service yet made it impossible to achieve through poor staffing ratios. One CNA to 10 pts and one nurse to 35 patients on day shift! HELLO! They spent a ton of money re-decorating already gorgeous buildings. I guess the idea was, if you can impress them on the initial tour and get them in the door, once they're admitted they won't go through the trouble of leaving even if the service isn't what was promised. The bottom line is you have to invest money to make money, and for some unknown reason, facilties don't like to invest in staff. I guarantee most patients would rather get timely & thorough care than look at fancy wallpaper or see a smile plastered on staff.
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    Not only is it difficult to give good "service" with poor staffing the sickest patients, those sent home too early, or those who die do not fill in the survey.
    Only those wh are reasonably recovered and were awake and alert in the hospital fill these things out!
    It is to a hospitals advantage to give hotel like services to those who are not too sick and they will receive excellent survey results. Those truly dependant on nursing care, which is most hospitalized patients, are less likely to fill out surveys.

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    [This message has been edited by spacenurse (edited October 04, 2000).]
  5. by   Tiara
    Totally agree! It's what looks good -- whether it's in the lobby or the numbers on paper. What they despise are incident reports documenting the truth. That doesn't look good!
  6. by   oramar
    The thing that bugs me the most about this situation is that they pay huge fees to consulting firms for these customor service pushes when the money would be better spent on staff retention.
  7. by   njdawn
    My parents get the hospital surveys all the time. First 3 questions are about the nurses and did they give you adequate care. Last question asks if the doctor was adequate in his care. And yes, if the pt doesn't get their call light answered within 10 min, they love calling supervisors and filling out the surveys. Because as the pt sees it, answering their lights quickly is a sign of good care, and they could care less about a shortage or if your husband/child is sick at home, or if you have the flu yourself. management doesn't care about you, they want a body to fill the slot, and they want you to take on as many pts as they can force on you. because the more pt's you have, the more money they are saving by hiring less nurses, and the more of a commission they get for saving money. That's the truth.
  8. by   oramar
    I worked at a hospital that actually told us that they paid $250,000 for a consulting firm to do a customer service survey. This was shortly after my wages were frozen and my benefits cut. I think they do not mind spending large sums on ridiculous stuff that is a one time expense and a tax deduction. However, when they give us a raise it is on going and not deductible.
  9. by   Mijourney
    Hi nrsjo. Yes, I have worked for hospitals and other facilities that expect service with a smile. I have a smile firmly etched on my face from all the years working under that mantra. I think that many employers like to see the smiles too, because they can overlook any pain from exploitation that you may be feeling. It makes it easier for them to inflict more pain when they think the workers are bearing the weight comfortably. The benefit of a smile (or laugh for some people) for me is being made aware that a positive attitude, professionalism, as well as prayer and meditation is needed to get me through the day. If I didn't have that smile to keep me in check, I probably would be on the police roster for criminal assault or murder. Endorsing the importance of a smile in your work is not to say the realities of patient care should be ignored. That is why I'm in favor of any form of proactive nurse activism. In fact, as I write, there is a separate area on this bb for those interested in participating in a million nurse march.
  10. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by oramar:
    The thing that bugs me the most about this situation is that they pay huge fees to consulting firms for these customor service pushes when the money would be better spent on staff retention.
    YES!
    I think the consultants are worse than the HMO executives (or on an evil par). First they come in charging for downsizing and a bonus for each FTE eliminated. Next the say, "Oh we went too far". NOW they say, "Oh, there are so many errors! Hire us to help you fix this" "We have software, training programs(never improve staffing)".
    They create the unsafe care then want to be paid to fix it!
    The arrogance is apalling.



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