July 11, 2013

Program sets gold standard for Guest Services

When Guest Services employees asked about changing their uniforms, it developed into more than a simple adjustment in material or color.

Gaye Smith, left, recently presented gold coats to Guest Services’ Joyce McCool, Ann Driscoll and Peggy Buchanan. (photo by John Russell)

When Vanderbilt Guest Services employees asked about changing their uniforms, it developed into more than a simple adjustment in material or color.

The final result was solid gold, said Dave Andrews, manager of Guest Services at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“As we were reviewing the uniform change, we went a little deeper and asked ‘what does the uniform stand for and what does it mean to you?’ They really wanted something that stood out. We showed them the gold and they really liked it.”

“Once that discussion started, it led to the creation of six Gold Standards of Guest Services that were not only linked to wearing the jacket, but associated with the Credo and the Vanderbilt Patient and Family Promise that members of Guest Services would use to express our dedication to every patient, family and visitor,” Andrews said.

Gold coat presentations were made earlier this month.

The color gold is deeply rooted in the image of Vanderbilt as one of the school’s primary colors. Historically the color is associated with accomplishment, quality and excellence.

Andrews said employees liken the new gold coat to a high honor. In order to be presented the gold coat, an employee must accomplish the following: complete intense hospital-wide training; participate in a professional Customer Service certification course; and pass a knowledge assessment/competency test.

“When someone sees a person in a gold coat, they will find a service delivery expert who is knowledgeable and caring,” said Andrews.

The six Gold Standards are:

• I share my knowledge to help others.
• I am a professional Service Delivery expert.
• I communicate effectively.
• I own the patient experience.
• I am the eyes of the organization.
• I protect patient privacy and confidentiality.

“These standards are how we want to begin living out our promise to patients, families and other internal and external customers,” said Gaye Smith, chief patient experience and service officer. “Guest Services personnel are the front line staff that interacts with patients and families across the entire clinical enterprise.

“I am so impressed that they took the initiative to translate the Credo behaviors and the new promise to define the six Gold Standards. These employees will definitely be able to role model our credo and promise through their behaviors and knowledge.”

Andrews and Smith anticipate a 90-day training period for new employees.

While current Guest Services members have completed the required training, not all employees will sport the gold coat due to the limitations it may cause in their daily tasks.

This will include greeters and clinic transporters, who will wear a more practical uniform — a black polo with a Vanderbilt logo and khaki colored pants.

“The real achievements are the Gold Standards and the training and certification process,” Smith said. “Our team is committed to holding each other accountable for living out the standards. Our patients and families will know they can look to our entire team for the assistance they need.”