Great customer service: three lessons from Hospice

got-hospice11My grandma passed away two months ago. She was 89 and beloved by three generations of family: two daughters and husbands, two granddaughters and their husbands, five great-grandkids … and four great-grand-dogs.
In the last week of her life, grandma was cared for around-the-clock by hospice nurses. They sat with her in her apartment, administered her medication, bathed her, and talked with us about the process of illness and death, and how to best help grandma let go and move on.
It struck me that in some ways, hospice provides a model of optimum service — and optimum caring — that many service providers would do well to follow. Here are some of the things I noticed.
24×7 service
While we were preparing to move grandma from the hospital back to her assisted-living apartment, we were incorrectly told that a family member would have to stay with her around the clock, even overnight. Needless to say, this presented a major stress to our family, who had already been taking turns on 12-hour shifts at the hospital. Our hospice case manager corrected us. “That’s why we’re here 24 hours a day,” she said. “So you don’t have to be.”
In the same way, at Dragonfly, we help our clients manage overflow work that runs into evenings, weekends, and holidays. Our job is to let them work hard from 9 to 5 — then go home and relax, be with their families. We take it from there.
Managing the details
Before my grandma was released from the hospital, a nurse had provided my mother with a laundry list of medications that grandma would need, cautioning her that some might be hard to find at the right dosage. When mom mentioned this to the hospice case worker, this was her response: “Put that list down. It’s all in my computer. You don’t have to worry about any of that. That’s why I’m here.” It was a huge relief to know that at this very difficult time, we didn’t also have to run around town trying to track down prescriptions.
Similarly, in our work with Dragonfly, our goal is to take the entire burden of a project off of our clients’ shoulders. They should be able to give us the basic parameters of what needs to be done and know that we will take care of all the details, from assigning appropriate staff to developing a style sheet, to coordinating with the desktop publishers, to reviewing work for quality.
Attention and care
I noticed that one of the hospice workers positioned herself in grandma’s apartment so she was always facing her. She noticed everything about grandma: her breathing, her color, her movements, whether her face registered discomfort or peace. She would also go up frequently to touch her, adjust her position, feel her temperature. What a great comfort to us to know that someone was paying such close attention to grandma’s condition and could respond with caretaking or a change in medication as needed.
Even though our work at Dragonfly isn’t a matter of life and death, it is important to our clients. Good customer service is about bringing dedication and care to any service provided, as we try to do, and as the hospice workers so graciously did. It made a difference to grandma, and to all of us. Thanks to all of them.

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