The BEST Center Helps UMMC Achieve Outstanding Customer Service

Customer service is important to United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC), so much that they decided to undertake a daunting project--to give every employee the skills to reach beyond basic customer service and provide world class customer care. With this goal in mind, members of UMMC sought out the experts at The BEST Center and asked them to develop a training program that would not only help UMMC gain a greater awareness of their customers’ needs, but also enhance their responsiveness to those needs.

Located in Batavia, NY, UMMC is the only acute care hospital in Genesee County. With 131 licensed beds, they provide the necessary healthcare services to a regional population of more than 93,000 residents and operate the only in-patient alcohol and substance abuse program in a four-county area.

To secure training for the entire UMMC staff – more than 700 individuals – members of The BEST Center identified a grant available through the New York State Department of Labor that would help defray some of the costs. UMMC applied for the grant and received enough funds to cover the full cost of training for their entire staff.

“Regardless of the position they hold, every employee is attracting or repelling every customer they come in contact with every minute of every day,” said Lina LaMattina, Director of Business Skills Training at The BEST Center. “Training in world class customer service gives participants the facts, tools, and techniques they need to improve their performance.”

The training components developed for the UMMC staff covered every aspect of customer service, from defining customer satisfaction, to professionalism, to constructive conflict management. This extensive “customized” program, which began in January 2007 and concluded in October 2007, was conducted at Genesee Community College and scheduled to fit with the UMMC shifts, including some courses taught on evenings and weekends.

The BEST Center created additional management training to help the administrators at UMMC learn how to sustain the higher level of customer service being implemented. Special instruction was also given to UMMC “trainers” - staff members selected to continue teaching new hires and refresher courses once The BEST Center training was complete.

“Our staff enthusiastically embraced this training,” said Sonja Gonyea, Director of Human Resources at UMMC. “Everyone I have spoken to has felt good about our renewed commitment to providing excellent customer service. And by having a dedicated offsite training location at The BEST Center, it made our staff really understand the importance we are placing on this initiative.”

The training has had immediate benefits to patient satisfaction for UMMC. The emergency department was recently ranked in the top 15th percentile for all emergency departments in New York State in terms of customer satisfaction. Mrs. Gonyea predicts similar successes continuing to increase over the next few years as even more of the important customer service skills are put into practice throughout the facility.

“We are very pleased with the results of this training already,” she said. “The BEST Center worked with us every step of the way to accommodate our entire staff and address our needs right here in Genesee County, so we didn’t expend valuable resources going elsewhere to receive training, and the outcome has not only strengthened our staff, it has improved our customer care as well.”

For more information contact Lina LaMattina, Director of Business Skills Training at the BEST Center, at 585-343-0055 x6299 or lmlamattina@genesee.edu.
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