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Day Three
An extra orientation day highlights the transformative power of service excellence

In search of excellent customer service, new hires enter the Outpatient Center.

Clipboards and checklists in hand, our group arrives in the Outpatient Center. We survey our surroundings. Clean? Check. Well-lighted? Check. Visitors’ name badges littering the floor? Nope. Good signage? Yup.

We press on, down to the lower level, to Preoperative Evaluation. Here, in the reception area, staff seem helpful and knowledgeable. Tone of voice? Appropriate. Eye contact? Good. Body language? Positive.

We’re on a scavenger hunt, scouring Hopkins Hospital for instances of exemplary customer service. It’s all part of the new, third day of employee orientation, one devoted exclusively to service excellence.

Developed by the Health System’s Department of Human Resources, together with Hopkins Hospital’s service excellence steering committee, these sessions are designed to show new employees what kinds of behaviors are expected of them from the moment they arrive. This early introduction is just one strategy in Hopkins Medicine’s ongoing, multifaceted campaign designed to improve customer service.

Launched Jan. 10, the sessions are held every Wednesday. Anywhere from 15 to 40 new hires attend each time. The sessions are replete with workbook exercises, games like Jeopardy and “Operation Excellence” (the scavenger hunt), and stories illustrating ideal patient experiences. Participants soon become completely engaged. Feedback, says Carol Woodward, HR special projects administrator who runs the sessions, has been quite positive so far.

“These sessions are only one piece of the puzzle. Managers will have to follow through, staff will have to be held accountable, and eventually we’ll include existing employees in customer service training,” Woodward says.

“With this new orientation session we can share clearly our expectations. New hires should walk away with the notion that one person can, in fact, make a difference.”

—Anne Bennett Swingle

Off on the Right Foot

Diagnostic Radiology's George Keffer and O’Kerna Turley with their “Bad Tech/Good Tech” video.

Several Hopkins Medicine entities are well ahead of the curve when it comes to instilling in new employees the principles of service excellence. In 2005, the Johns Hopkins Home Care Group launched a full day of customer service training. New hires at Johns Hopkins HealthCare and JH Community Physicians go through a two-day orientation called MAGIC that highlights customer service. And at Hopkins Hospital, several departments and divisions, aiming to build better service, have developed their own orientation programs.

Within their first 30 days on the job, new hires in Diagnostic Radiology receive information and tips on how to interact professionally with patients. Most popular is a video, “Bad Tech/Good Tech,” scripted and produced entirely by staff.

The bad tech fails to check the patient’s ID. She doesn’t change the sheet or lock the table. It rolls around when the patient attempts to situate himself on it. After the procedure, the bad tech simply walks away, leaving the patient and his wife helplessly wondering what to do.

“We are never coming back here!” the wife declares.

“Good!” office staff retort.

In the next scenario, the good tech performs her duties perfectly and considerately. “No wonder Johns Hopkins is America’s number one hospital,” the wife gushes, looking directly into the camera.

Since March 2005, all new employees in Diagnostic Radiology have received training in customer service, as well as safety, as part of their orientation. “I believe that service and safety are closely linked,” says manager Peg Cooper. “When you check a patient’s ID or make sure that the correct part of the body is being imaged, that’s taking care of patients—that’s safety and good customer service.”

She follows up throughout the year with regular meetings, required for all 65 radiologic technologists, that focus on different aspects of safety. “We get them off on the right foot and keep the awareness there.”



Johns Hopkins Medicine

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