By Travis Brown, CBET

Travis Brown, CBETCustomer service is often overlooked as a primary skill required of biomeds. All too often, the customer is forgotten about in the midst of the hectic day-to-day maintenance of a hospital’s medical equipment. In fact, customer service is a crucial factor in ensuring a well-oiled and successful biomed team.

One major benefit to maintaining your relationships is the improved overall care of your equipment. If you have a healthy partnership with your customers, they are much more likely to voice their concerns about the equipment they use every day. Many errors and misuses can be avoided if the end user is not afraid of picking their biomed’s brain.

Open communication between a biomed and an end user regarding equipment can often prevent many issues. An open-door policy can also instill their trust in your abilities and knowledge. Chris Jacobs, manager of sterile processing and anesthesia services for Baylor Medical Center Garland, puts it this way: “One of the biomed’s goals should be to ensure that each department is aware of any issues with equipment and that they are given an accurate time frame for resolution. This in turn improves patient care and employee satisfaction.”

When a customer doesn’t hesitate to contact you, the result will almost certainly be a faster equipment repair turnaround. With that open line of communication, you can expect a more detailed explanation of the error. The end user might even take a moment to show you the exact fault while in use, which could end up saving a shop many technician hours wasted on unnecessary troubleshooting.

Appearance Is Important

It should go without saying that personal hygiene should be of the utmost importance while working in a patient care facility. This is also true of a professional’s attire. Biomeds should always dress professionally and ensure that all proper hygiene measures have been taken. Not only is it a crucial part of making the customer happy, but it also conveys professionalism.

Always make sure to smile when in a patient care facility or any time you are talking with clinicians. Smiling is a very simple yet valuable tool to use in creating a happy customer. Not only does it put you in a better mood, reduce stress, and lower your heart rate, but it also encourages trust. This is important for a successful relationship with the end user and their biomed.

Not all biomeds end up in an occupied patient’s room, but if you ever find yourself in one, be sure to be polite and have open communication. Think about it. If you were admitted into a hospital and a stranger just walked in and started taking things apart, you would probably be startled or disturbed. So start up a friendly conversation. Being admitted to a hospital can be a very stressful experience for anyone, and conversation can help relieve that stress.

You’ll be surprised by how wonderful some of the patients are, and by how much more pleasant a difficult patient can be if you simply take a minute to chat. This can be a great reminder of why we do this job. It is easy to forget that there is a greater good than simply fixing the next IV pump or defib. Ultimately, everything a biomed does is meant to benefit the patient.

Practice AIDET

Perhaps the most important aspect of a healthy customer relationship is the overall work environment. You may be surprised just how much smoother your day can go if you simply have an open relationship with your customer. This is true with just about any career or even in a personal relationship. If customers believe their biomed department truly cares and does everything in their power to support them, they will certainly strive to return the favor.

One great way to ensure you maintain that professional relationship is a practice that goes by the acronym AIDET. It stands for the key steps in any interaction with a customer:

  • Acknowledge;
  • Introduce;
  • Duration;
  • Explanation; and
  • Thank you.

These are very basic actions you should observe to ensure that you do not overlook or take anything for granted within a conversation. Although you may not think so, it is all too easy in the midst of an interaction with a customer to forget to introduce yourself or explain why you are present, to waste a customer’s time with lengthy and unnecessary questioning, or even to forget to thank them for their time at the end of the conversation. “AIDET is more than just an introduction,” says Carol Wyatt, manager of biomedical engineering at Baylor. “It is a way to inform the clinicians about what’s going on and to ease their concerns.”

The most important tool for great customer satisfaction might well be consistent rounding. Rounding is a general term for walking through the departments that you serviced and quickly inspecting your equipment. First, this practice allows you more face time with your customer. In addition, it gives your departments a chance to voice their concerns and ask questions. The ultimate goal of rounding is to contribute to the smooth operations of a facility by preventing issues from occurring.

The suggestions I’ve offered here are all just basic guidelines for better customer satisfaction. In the long run, the success of your department comes down to each tech and the effort they are willing to put into maintaining their environment and customer care. 24×7

Travis W. Brown is a biomed at Baylor Medical Center Garland. For more information, contact editorial director John Bethune at [email protected].