Posted by: johnocunningham | March 14, 2014

What Makes an Exceptional Service Provider?

I always like to look for real-life examples of great service, and shine a spotlight on them, and a recent experience has given me reason to do just that.

In January, I lost a family member who had been terminally ill for some time, and who had opted for hospice care. I got to know the hospice workers over a period of several months, and I was so pleased with their work that I wrote long “thank you” letters to the doctor who recommended them and to the managers of the hospice organization. Our family members also asked that gifts be made to the hospice organization in lieu of flowers.

The service experience our family had might have constituted the single best service experience of my life, and it was certainly the most memorable.

What made their work so moving and so special?

  1. Commitment: It was obvious that these workers were dedicated to what they do and to the individual patient they were serving. They demonstrated this by showing up on time, working hard every minute, and asking the patient every day what else they could do to help. In the final days, they were there for every single minute looking for every single symptom of discomfort that could be alleviated, and they knew just what to do (having obviously been trained extremely well).
  2. Communication and Coordination: These workers knew their service was important not only to the patient, but to the family of the patient as well. Our family was informed on a weekly basis what was happening, our input was welcomed, and our questions were all answered. It was also especially impressive to watch how the team of workers communicated with each other, using technology to enter current reports into patient information files, and conferring with each other to solve problems based on their cumulative working experience.
  3. Going Above and Beyond: The hospice workers never confined their work to narrow “job description” boundaries, but always looked for ways they could do that little something extra every single day. In particular, I remember one worker who found a way to use her 4G-tablet to bring a playlist of music (our family member’s favorite songs) into the bedroom, and we also together found lectures, prayers and homilies that were appropriate to the circumstance and the patient. The experience was absolutely wonderful.

This organization’s team of nurses and aides were so extraordinary that I could not think of one single suggestion I could make for improvement! Yet, the organization sent to our family more than one follow-up survey to ascertain how they were doing and how they could do better. For the first time in my life, I had to say: “Do NOT change one thing you are doing!”

Wouldn’t it be great if every professional service provider inspired that kind of appraisal?

 

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