October/November 1999

Catholic Health Initiatives Creates Model for Market-based Organizations to Achieve Customer and Employee Service Excellence

Voice of the Customer

CHImodel Photo

Catholic Health Initiatives’ Customer and Market Strategy Team, part of the Strategy and Business Development Resource Group, has developed a model for customer and employee service excellence for market-based organizations. It includes an extensive tool kit and additional consultative resources to help develop, implement and sustain their own customer and employee loyalty initiatives. The role of the Customer and Market Strategy Team is to support market-based organizations in improving customer, employee and physician loyalty. These initiatives are designed to enhance internal culture, customer service, market share and financial return and to better position the organization to improve the health of the community. According to Diane Gage, vice president of customer and market strategy, "We know that customer loyalty begins by giving employees the support they need to reignite their energy and commitment, which allows them to focus on the customer and provide a commitment to service excellence." With this focus in mind, a solution team of market-based organization and national staff representing the Mission, Human Resource and Strategy and Business Development Resource Groups designed a model for Health Ministry Success to improve organizational culture and to sustain customer and employee service excellence efforts. The model can be used for overall market-based organization performance improvement or for a department-specific need. It includes:
  • An initial assessment that identifies readiness and areas of focus 12 critical components that research and best practices show must be continually addressed for sustainable improvement
  • An internal structure for a guiding coalition to organize, implement and oversee the work
  • Methodologies for launching the work and sustaining momentum
  • Ongoing measurements in employee retention, system improvements, legal action, physician utilization and market share to identify the return-on-investment of this work.
Because a successful customer and employee loyalty initiative requires a significant commitment from market-based organizations, the Customer and Market Strategy Team provides key resources to assist them in putting this work in motion including orientation presentations for leadership and consultation regarding the model. Also available are negotiated rates with Sage Consulting, a national consultant in health care performance improvement and service excellence, a customer and employee service excellence tool kit, prescreened motivational speakers, best practice forums and more. Franciscan Health System, Tacoma, Wash., is generating high levels of enthusiasm and strong commitment throughout the market-based organization to embrace change to a more service-oriented culture. The market-based organization formed a task force in May and is using the model for Health Ministry Success to implement its customer and employee loyalty strategy. According to Syd Bersante, chief operating officer for St. Clare Hospital, Lakewood, Wash., "Our number one strategic goal is to build a distinct culture within our organization. The model provides the tools, resources and guidance to be successful." Franciscan Health System is currently completing an organizational assessment that includes satisfaction surveys and focus groups of key customers.