There are several takeaways from the story that can be applied by any healthcare organization willing to make an effort. The best part of the story is that KU Hospital didn't need a complex program, an arcane marketing scheme, a big consultant contract, a bright and shiny ad campaign, or a new customer service department with pricey specialists to get the job done.
Hospital leadership saw a need and identified the right person to lead the program.
Miller dedicates four days a week to her job as a medical technician. Every Wednesday, she leads customer service training for new employees.
While KU Hospital has not dedicated a large financial commitment to the customer service program, leadership has clearly invested a personal commitment to its success. Miller was picked by KU Hospital President Bob Page to lead the program in 1999, and her efforts still carry the vocal and visible support of the C Suite. That makes a huge difference. If staff doesn't believe that leadership is behind an initiative, it will fail. Hospital workers are remarkably adept at sniffing out a fraud.
The KU Hospital customer service program is well-structured with definite goals. And, it applies to all new hires. That is critical. The quickest way to kneecap such a program would be to exempt from participation a select caste of workers or executives. That sends the immediate and negative message to the rest of the staff that customer service is merely another mandate from on high to be obeyed by some and not a core value embraced by all.