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Feature

A photo of HealthPartner's Senior VP Scott Aebischer.

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:

These events and activities "stir up emotions and cause people to talk," Aebisher said. Once they are emotionally involved, employees begin taking greater responsibility for building relationships and endorsing a service culture. Aebisher also outlined some best practices implemented for HealthPartners' call center, including a standard of answering phones within three rings or 30 seconds. To anticipate incoming questions, call-center phone conversations are monitored, questions and answers are recorded and tabulated, and reports are forwarded to directors. Feedback on customer experiences from the Health Plan Moments of Truth Survey, quarterly satisfaction surveys, mini-forums, and regular patient council discussions indicate that efforts are paying off. But Aebisher doesn't plan to sit back anytime soon. To stay current on research and ideas, he said he watches the banking industry and grocery store chains. He also reads business journals and best-sellers to keep informed on service trends. The Great Service steering committee asked Aebisher to return to share some of his best practices with managers. He agreed to share more stories, suggestions, and tools that can provide energy for great service at the University. Members of the Great Service Initiative steering committee Leslie Bowman, Dining Services Mannix Clark, Housing and Residential Life Bob Crabb, Bookstores Tim Delmont, Center for Human Resource Development Ed Ehlinger, Boynton Health Services Sue Graupmann, Intercollegiate Athletics Dianne Gregory, Printing Services Victoria Nelson, Parking & Transportation Services Wayne Sigler, Office of Admissions Marshall Skule, Facilities Management Jim Turman, Recreational Sports Bill Van Essendelft, CCE Degree and Credit Programs Susan Van Voorhis, Office of the Registrar
Pat Snodgrass is communications coordinator at the Center for Human Resources Development. She can be reached at 612-625-8824 or snodgras@mail.ohr.umn.edu .

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