Remember the days when the customer was always right? This bending over backwards to please a customer yielded mountains of good will for a company. Sadly, in the United States today, customer service has fallen off the radar of many good businesses and, sadder yet, customers don’t even expect good service anymore.
But that doesn’t make it right.
Great customer service is one of the basic rules of good business. Honestly, I’m a bit fussy about customer service, and my expectations are high. If a company doesn’t perform as it should or if an item isn’t delivered when promised, I always get on the phone and give them a chance to make it right. If a customer service department is nice and helpful, I’m a customer for life. On the other hand, they get one chance to fail and then I’m gone.
The same holds true for a home health agency. Think what happens when your homecare aide is late or doesn’t show up at all. Most customers are forgiving the first time but if this is repeated, they will probably go elsewhere. How many customers have you lost to poor customer service? Do you even know?
These are important details to track. When I ran my own agency, I kept a complaint log and put one on all my employees’ desks. Every week, we collated the responses in the logs to see if we had any trends. When we identified a pattern, we took immediate steps to correct it. Sometimes it was the level of worker we had hired, sometimes it was the failure of the scheduling staff to clearly communicate with the workers. Whatever the reason, as with first impressions, you only have a very limited opportunity to get things right — so do it right the first time.
Another thing to be on the lookout for is taking your customers for granted. Sometimes, when you’ve worked with a company for a long time, they begin to take you for granted. Their customer service slips, things start going wrong and they are less and less interested in quickly fixing the problems. If your homecare organization is doing that with long time referral sources or with any of your customers, you are setting yourself up for long-term failure. Over the years, I have watched good companies that excelled prosper, and mediocre companies fall off the business radar. The difference between the two was their dedication to customer service. It truly makes you or breaks you.