Steris provides sterilizers, sterile processing equipment, operating room surgical equipment, emergency room equipment and other medical device sterilization equipment. As a manufacturer with technicians working onsite in health care facilities, safety is a critical factor for Steris’ success.
Many years ago, Steris implemented the idea of a “Safety Contact” as a requirement to open every meeting: a safety tip, process, example or occurrence. From the boardroom to small team meetings, the first item on every agenda is a “Safety Contact”. One meeting participant shares an idea or example specific to Steris machinery or equipment, or general safety at the office, warehouse, client site or in company vehicles. “Safety Contact” serves a dual purpose of ongoing safety education as well as keeping safety top-of-mind every day. With this practice, safety has grown deeply into the Steris culture one meeting at a time. Steris has now surpassed world-class safety standards.
To increase the company’s competitiveness and success, Steris is now building an uplifting service culture to complement its existing safety culture. Today, all meetings start with a “Safety Contact” and a new “Customer Contact”. The same practice that reinforced a world-class safety culture now communicates the importance of a world-class service culture.
Every meeting begins with a story or positive feedback about excellent customer service provided by Steris staff across North America. These examples may include service to external customers or internal partners, managers recognizing employees going “above and beyond”, or feedback from customer surveys and stories from customers.
These short, simple examples of service excellence and service improvement are told in dozens of meetings each week throughout the company, keeping service improvement top-of-mind for all employees. Here is just one example, which inspired team members to keep stepping up their service!
As you know, a third party vendor was responsible for our preventative maintenance and repairs. It didn’t take me long to recognize that our equipment was breaking down regularly. Soon after our new service contract was made with Steris, Tom Smith became our designated service technician. Having had some issues in the past with Steris, I was a bit nervous to see how our newly found service agreement would work, which is why I feel compelled to write this email.
After Tom’s initial training, I began to see more and more of him. Tom checked in with us every day. He worked on our equipment every day. One by one, our equipment started to come back online and soon, we were running smoothly with very little problems. Tom continues today to check in with us regularly. Our service calls are answered within an hour and the majority of the time we get same day service. He is very good at communicating what repairs he will be doing, how long it will take, and how this will affect our department. His service has been nothing short of exemplary. He has become a very trustworthy part of our team. He has bridged the gap between our hospital and Steris and has been able to answer questions regarding the purchase of new capital equipment. He has taken the time to explain the new equipment and how it will benefit us greatly.
I hope this letter helps you understand the kind of employee you have. I am nothing short of impressed at how Steris has been able to do such positive things for our department and ultimately our hospital.
Supervisor, Sterile Processing Department
Stories like this are inspiring for Tom (of course!), for other Steris team members, and for the customers who write them.
When will you implement this easy and proven “Customer Contact” method in your organization? What other service communication and culture building techniques do you use?