Great service begins at the top

Friday, March 31, 2006

Q. As Medicare reimbursement cuts once again force the HME industry to tighten its belt, how can providers continue to maintain a high level of customer service?
A. There is no better time to focus on the customer than when times are changing, reimbursement is shrinking and there is competition to contend with. As the competition talks about cutting back service, think of the many ways that you can enhance what you offer and still not sacrifice the profit margin needed to operate the business. The key here is to hire good employees with top-notch people skills. If you do that, everything else will follow, including business success. Additionally, remember that great customer service begins at the top. If the leader of the organization is open, helpful, friendly and places the customer first, the rest of the staff will take notice.
Consider the following:
- People who enjoy the work they do tend to let their enthusiasm for their work show.
- HME customers are different from other customers because they have unique health-related needs. Hiring people who are filled with compassion makes sense.
- Educated customers are more comfortable with their equipment, and they appreciate the time employees take to help them.
- When all products are clean, well cared for and function properly, a company gains loyalty because customers feel they have been given the best possible equipment.
- Great customer service happens when a knowledgeable person answers the phone and can meet the customer's needs quickly.


Julie Bowman is a consultant and founder/president of HME Solutions in Atlanta. Reach her at (770) 270-681- or