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This page is devoted to the management of volunteer programs in health care settings.

~July 2010~

Disney Approach to Quality Service for Healthcare Professionals


As part of the service excellence initiative at our facility, someone recently attended a Disney sponsored workshop on Disney’s Approach to Quality Service for Healthcare Professionals.  She reported to the rest of the team the important takeaways from the day – even going so far as to prepare a brief summary for distribution.

So what were the big takeaways? 

  1. Disney’s chain of excellence – defined as leadership excellence to “cast” excellence which results in guest satisfaction and positive financial results.  Simple, really.
  2. Disney’s definition of quality service – paying attention to every detail of the delivery.  What can be done to make patients go “Wow”?  Patients who rate the facility as excellent are two times more likely to come back than those who rate the facility as very good.
  3. Know your guest – Disney calls this “Guestology.”  The Disney compass includes the needs, wants, stereotypes and emotions of the visitor.  According to Disney, emotion trumps needs, wants and stereotypes.   Staff should be trained to answer what Disney refers to as the secondary question.
  4. Quality standards – what are the minimum standards the facility wishes to maintain?  Are those standards clearly identified with understandable behaviors so everyone can be successful?
  5. Service delivery systems – categorized as cast, setting and process, this outlines the various avenues for delivering the excellent service. 
  6. “Cast” delivery systems – the human resources, the people who create the magical moments for the patients and visitors each and every day.
  7. “Setting” delivery systems – the physical environment, which conveys a message about the facility’s values and standards.  Make sure dead plants are removed, trash is picked up; paper signs and clutter are at a minimum.  Pay attention to the comfort of the experience:  easy parking, comfort of the waiting room, clean rest rooms, etc.
  8. “Process” delivery systems – the policies and procedures needed to deliver service.  The policies and procedures should not be barriers themselves, but rather focus on removing barriers.

Everyone has an impact on each of these; from the volunteer in a cubicle preparing a mailing to the volunteer in the gift shop – all the way to those in administration for the facility. 

While you may think that volunteer services is but a cog in the large wheel, you and volunteers can actually play a major role in providing the best customer service ever.  As the proverbial phrase goes – “You only have one chance to make a first impression.”  Volunteers (alongside paid staff in some instances) are often the first people seen as patients, visitors and family members come into our facilities.  Consequently, these people can set the tone for the entire visit experience!

That is why it is important to make sure the volunteers are adequately prepared to function in the capacity expected of them.  Do they have adequate training?  Can they answer questions appropriately?  Is there someone readily available to the volunteers who can assist, guide and coach them?

More on this topic in August!

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The author of the Heath Care Volunteer Programs column is Mary Kay Hood MS, Hendricks Regional Health, Danville, IN (317) 745-3556. With a BS degree in biology from Marian College and a Master of Science in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University, Mary Kay has been involved in volunteer management over twenty years with a zoo and in the health care field. During that time, she completed the Management of Volunteer Programs course offered at University of Indianapolis, several supervisory training programs as well as the Indiana Hospital and Health Association’s Management Institute offered by the Executive Education Program, School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Mary Kay served on the Nonprofit Training Center of United Way from 1993 to 2006. During that time, she taught many workshops also facilitating speaker arrangements for the Basic Volunteer Management series. Additionally, she has presented at various national and international conferences. Mary Kay served as president of the Central Indiana Association for Volunteer Administration (CIAVA) from 1993-1997 and the Indiana Society of Directors of Volunteer Services (ISDVS) from 2006-2008. She was also the recipient of the 1995 Outstanding Director of Volunteer Services Award and the 2002 United Way of Central Indiana Volunteer of the Year Award. Most recently she served on the Steering Committee for COVAA resulting in the formation of a new national membership organization for those in volunteer management, the Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE). With several published articles, she is also author to two books: The One Minute Answer to Volunteer Management Questions and The Volunteer Leader as Change Agent.

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