A Simple Customer Service Aid
There are so many customer service buzzwords that I thought I had pretty much heard them all. One method that I had not heard of until a week or so is a device advocated by the Studer Group.
Called the Five Fundamentals of Service, the method uses the mnemonic AIDET (pronounced Aid it). AIDET stands for Acknowledge, Introduction, Duration, Explanation and Thank you.
While AIDET is used mostly when interacting with patients, it can be modified for use when caregivers interact with each other.
Here is how AIDET might work for an outpatient in the lab waiting room:
Acknowledge: Acknowledge the patient by name, make eye contact and ask how you may help, or give introductory instructions such as "please sign in" or "I will be with you shortly." If you see a patient who appears lost, volunteer to steer her to the correct destination. One hospital uses the "ten foot rule," which means you acknowledge anyone (patient, employee, visitor) who comes within ten feet of you in the hallway.
Introduce. Introduce yourself by role and name. This immediately changes the patient's experience from an anonymous encounter twith "lab" to a personalized relationship.
Duration. Explain how long the procedure will take or how long the wait will be, One of the biggest complaints patients have is that no one tells them how long they will wait, or whwy they had to wait while another patient seemed to have been served immediately. If unexpected delays come up, inform the patient. Giving this information shows respect for the patient's time and keeping them updated as situation changes shows concern,
Explanation. Let the patient know what you will be doing and what to expect. Allow time for questions and address them if necessary. At one job, the main complaint I received from inpatients and families was that the phlebotomists were rough, wrestled the patients arm into position without explaining what they were doing. Of course, by not introducing themselves, phlebotomists sometimes took the blame for nurses or other professionals.
Thank you. Every interaction should end by thanking the patient and asking if there is anything else you can do to provide them with excellent care. Thank any family members present for being there to support the patient. A smile also never hurts.
Surely these are too simple to make a substantial difference! Well, try it. This simple formula contains powerful relationship triggers condensed into an easy to remember format. It is very easy to learn and if you put into place with your phlebotomists, say in an outpatient clinic, you should be able to measure the effect pretty quickly.
I would like to hear from readers who use this -or a similar- customers service aid.