Q&A with DM&A

We chatted with two Executive Success Coaches from DM&A, Michelle Mathura (RDN, LRD, CDE) and Chef Jeff Groch (CDM), to get a sense of the best way to enhance the customer service aspect of your food service operation. Here's what they had to say:

How would you define the culture of customer service?

A culture of customer service is defined by the leadership team. The leadership team's attitude and belief will be reflected in the service provided. It is all leadership driven. Without a strong leader, the team will not perform their best and will not provide the best service.

Is the culture of customer service something you can teach?

Absolutely—if the leadership team is on board and engages their staff. Leadership must demonstrate great service and provide the training and tools needed in order for their staff to succeed. The team must be willing and have buy in—then and only then will they provide the best customer service.

Where do you see the future of customer service going?

Customer service will remain the most important focus in all service areas including healthcare. Leadership will always need to understand best practice and trends from a global standpoint and keep up with technology. They must want to meet and exceed their customers' expectations. We must understand what drives the customer and how best to service them. For example, individualized service and ease of service is important to customers.

What advice would you have for an operation that is looking to become more customer/patient focused?

Look at your current culture of service and your management team. Do they recognize who the customer is? The customer is their own team, patients, patient families, visitors, and the hospital employees.

Do they know how the department and organization define great service? Is the operation providing service that is in line with what their organization values?

Does your current model support good customer service up front or do you have a model that leans on service recovery? It's important to answer these questions and then work on goals to continuously improve.

How is customer service in a healthcare environment different than in other food service environments?

In the past there has not been an expectation for great service in healthcare food service. Today is a new day. The expectation for 5-star food and the best in service is expected in hospitals nationwide. It's important for leadership teams to understand and embrace this expectation. The food service department, if done right, can also positively impact other departments like nursing and overall hospital satisfaction scores.

Can you give us a brief description of your presentation at UGC in Dallas?

The presentation, provided by Bill Klein, CEO of DM&A, was focused on steps to take to provide the best culture of customer service. We discussed what defines great customer service, who is in control of the culture of service, and solutions to improve the current culture of service.

If you would like to see more on how the DM&A team can work with CBORD to have a positive impact in your hospital, check out this webinar.