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Scott Aebisher, HealthPartners senior vice president for membership services
Great service: HealthPartners leader shares best practices
By Pat Snodgrass
From Brief, March 24, 2004
To stay current with service improvement trends, the University's Great Service steering committee recently compared notes with Scott Aebisher, senior vice president of membership services at HealthPartners. With over 630,000 patients to satisfy, Aebisher and the HealthPartners Service Quality Council keep a close watch on their customer-service goal, "to achieve an organizational culture which values building relationships based on seeing the world through each others' eyes." To accomplish that goal, Aebisher recently launched a campaign called "Respect Aim." HealthPartners employees attended training sessions in which customers appeared in person to share their perceptions of service they received. Then, in smaller groups, employees shared ways to build relationships and improve communication with other colleagues, executives, and patients. Employees also reviewed how personal interactions in a clinic or over the phone provide a warm and open environment for customers who may want to ask further questions or need to express concerns. Some events and activities HealthPartners has used to promote customer service include:
- Customer Service Week, dedicated to promoting customer-service activities.
- "Walk a Mile in My Shoes," in which staff volunteer to do another employee's work to better understand their service issues. For example, an employee may shadow a physician to hear what patients ask and the answers they receive.
- The president's endorsement of service, an initiative in which the president sends promotional messages and recognizes good service provided by specific individuals.
- Fire in the Bones, a performance by Mixed Blood Theatre of a series of plays on care, the experience of care, what works, what doesn't, and what could have been done differently.
- "People Connection," in which directors and managers are given a randomly selected name from a group of peers and the goal of one interaction within three months to build a new relationship and exchange information on service challenges.
Pat Snodgrass is communications coordinator at the Center for Human Resources Development. She can be reached at 612-625-8824 or firstname.lastname@example.org .