This past week at the 2013 OPEN MINDS Performance Management Institute provided a good look at the many types of performance metrics that are being gathered – and how to use new tech tools and metrics-based management to improve that performance. (For more information, see Best Practices In Maximizing The Value Of Your Team: How To Measure & Manage Clinical Staff Productivity).
At the start of the institute, I wrote a piece about the growing trend for newspapers and other media outlets to publish provider organization performance scores – now that they are available (see Performance Matters When It Is In The News all members) – and gave a few examples of what is starting to appear in the press. The question for the executive team of any organization whose scores are “below the mean” is – how to improve the consumer experience?
There are many tools – customer service training, mystery shopper research, process reengineering, etc. – that can be considered. But, I found some very practical advice in a recent HealthLeaders Media article, 5 Ways to Raise HCAHPS Scores via Staff Engagement. While the advice offered by author Chelsea Rice is framed to improve the HCAHPS (CMS Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) scores, I think it applies to improving the consumer experience in any setting and with any performance measurement tool. Her five-component advice includes:
Establish early expectations – Building a strong organizational culture is seldom done from scratch. An organization is far more likely to be consumer-centric if this approach is a priority for every employee in the organization from day one of their tenure with the organization (see Managerial DNA all members).
Contract around the culture – Establishing early expectations is far easier when you also hire with those expectations. Hiring employees who are a proper fit for a consumer-centric culture saves in the time, effort and money it will take to replace employees (see No Customers Without Customer Service).
Establish transparency and teamwork – The advice, “The best way to inform an employee about consumer satisfaction is to make it matter to them” cuts right to the heart of great customer service. In the same vein as “what gets measured is what gets done,” standards and benchmarks that track employee performance will focus customer-centric efforts (see CRM As Customer Service Strategy all members).
Reward the small victories – Managing through customer service metrics can lose a lot of value if employees don’t stick around long enough to see the reports. Recognizing customer service efforts in real time can be much more valuable for keeping staff efforts on track (see Staff Recognition: More Important Than Ever all members).
Build employee stamina – In many ways, “like breeds like.” A tired, stressed out and overworked employee can lead to those same attributes in a patient. Improving the work environment for employees leads to improvements in the clinical environment (see Strategic Human Resource Management: Tackling the Issues of Employee Recruitment & Retention).
Great advice for “managing by the numbers” and building a consumer-centric team that is ready for service delivery systems that are both competitive and value consumer engagement.
For another free resource, see: How Is CMS Measuring “Consumer Satisfaction”? all members