Can customer care training alone create lasting cultural change?

Many health services have placed an emphasis on providing customer care training for all staff in order to improve patient experience. I would argue that although customer care training is an important contributor in improving customer service generic customer care training cannot be relied upon as a method by which change is created. There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. Most training provided is not site specific, so it is a ‘day out’ for certain staff and is generic in nature. This fails to look at individual service needs and get to the root cause of poor customer care;
  2. Only certain staff attend. Usually this is receptionists and other administrative staff, rarely is it the key people who have the greatest contact time with the customers, the nurses, doctors and support staff. This continues the myth that the receptionists are the key to customer care rather than all team members. If customer care is going to be at its very best, a fully integrated approach needs to be taken;
  3. The decision makers rarely attend. Customer care training is seen as an add on. If the decision makers are not in attendance then even the very best in customer care training will not resolve long standing issues as it will not be able to address and create cultural change;
  4. Customer care training deals only with staff not with services. It is important to identify service issues which may be preventing good care.  It is usually a combination of caring staff and good service delivery that makes fantastic customer service.

The above are the reasons why I approach customer care training differently.  I carry out in depth initial consultations, following this meeting and observing staff to get a really good understanding of the issues and drivers.  For staff who need that extra support I offer coaching options.  This way long lasting cultural change can be created and add benefit to staff and patients alike.

What do you think? Have you had Customer Care Training alone which has delivered results?