Who are our customers? At Grafton we have the opportunity to serve a variety of customers for each child.
3. Referral Agencies
In my experience at Grafton I have learned the biggest part of customer service starts at the time placement. Initially when a child is referred to residential care, this can be very traumatizing to the child and family. During the initial assessment the child is part of the assessment to the best of their ability. The child’s has an opportunity to ask questions and share what their goals are for treatment and life skills. The family, agency and those that know the child best have an opportunity to present their needs for their child and family. Each customer is different and presents unique needs. At this time customer service needs to focus on the needs present and how can we assist them with their unique needs. The individual and family drive the treatment planning for their child. Best practices show customers need to be involved in initial as well as ongoing treatment planning. An important element in being customer focused is to discuss discharge planning at the time a child is placed. Collaborating together to establish the discharge goals based on family needs and supports and community needs. Monitoring and feedback of status of discharge goals and services needed. All customers are and need to be part of the treatment team.
Trust and rapport needs to be established with families and the individual and this too start at the time of placement. Many families have been through several different agencies, services and systems with little to no success. To help build trust all customers should meet the staff that will be working with the child. Customers feel more comfortable knowing who will be in their child’s life. They feel more important being able to articulate their child’s needs to the direct staff that will be responsible for caring for their child. Our job as professionals is to alleviate the anxiety that the parent, child and others may be experiencing. It is hard to place your loved one in someone else’s care.
Customers also have expressed how they like hearing the treatment providers ask questions about their child. They feel more comfortable when staff ask them what I call “mommy questions” things you do not find in reports. For example, when parents are child are asked questions like “Do they like a night light on to sleep” customers realize their child is not just seen on reports but they feel we are looking at their child in all aspects not just challenging behaviors.
Remaining goal focused, parents and agencies want to know that their child or client is continuously working on treatment plan agreed upon in our care. It’s our responsibility to ensure integrity showing this is occurring, communicate and show documentation of this. Proactive customer service begins when a child is first placed with us. By asking the right questions at the right time and place, we can ensure at the right services and supports are implemented to produce positive and sustainable outcomes.