“Some staff members may never have eaten at a fancy restaurant or stayed at a 5-star hotel,” the speaker at a long-term care conference pointed out, “How can we expect them to provide good customer service when they don’t know what it is?”
That comment got me thinking about the nursing home staff dining room and the opportunity it presents to teach workers about customer service. I’m not suggesting the dining room should offer table service and fine china, but it’s worth considering what lessons are being learned at lunch. Those lessons are being repeated when workers head back to those under their care.
Is the dining room clean? A spotless dining area is a model for the level of cleanliness staff should provide for the residents.
Is food served in an appealing fashion? Residents eat more of their meals when it’s presented well. Demonstrate how to present a meal by offering staff a colorful, attractive meal served with a positive attitude.
Are the dining room fixtures in good condition? A pleasant, comfortable environment sends the message that staff members and their wellbeing are important – exactly the philosophy you’d like them to take back to their units.
Does the environment give staff control over their meals? Providing a microwave, toaster oven, food choices, and other mealtime essentials creates a sense of freedom in what can sometimes be a confining environment. This, in turn, teaches staff how to present options to the residents.
There are many opportunities throughout the day to send the message to workers, “This is how we do things here.” For readers who haven’t had a meal in the staff dining room lately, take lunch at noon and see what your dining room is teaching your staff about customer service.