The Importance of Service Standards
Updated: Jun 5, 2020
No organization is immune to the hazards of sub-optimal service. Creating a culture of quality service takes time. For one, we live in a society where while people may not resist change, they however resist being changed; for another, excellence in service is not merely common sense, as may widely be believed, nor a matter of cosmetics where employees are told to ‘be nice to the patient and smile’.
Quality service requires Meticulous Planning, Flawless Execution and a Single-minded Commitment to achieve virtuosity so as to make it a matter of ‘business as usual ‘.
Creating the right service culture is all about consistently doing small things that delight customers. This underscores the importance of laying down service standards. Imagine a situation where the Organization only communicates their core purpose, e.g ‘ Putting the interest of patients above our own’, but does not provide any further guidance. This will result in service providers practicing their individual perceptions of service delivery, which may compromise the desired standards. Hence, it is a vital necessity to articulate service standards which clearly enunciate as to what is expected from each care giver.
Most of the employees are ‘in the trenches’ delivering day-to-day patient care. Service standards are required to lay down lucid norms of patient engagement. This may include Behavioral and Functional standards. Behavioral standards uniformly cover all employees of the hospital and specify as to how patients should be greeted or aspects to be borne in mind to respect their privacy. Functional standards, however, can be department specific and may lay down aspects such as admission/discharge time or the waiting time at the Radiology Department.
Repeated communication, Constant reinforcement, Audit and Monitoring by a Service Delivery team will lead to effective compliance of Service Standards and manifest as ‘Culture’ over a period of time. Qualitative service not only impacts the bottom line but also enhances practitioner and employee satisfaction.