In this day and age, a business can live or die based on its approach to customer service. The Independence Center holds customer service in extremely high regards. We work with many people whether it is consumers, vendors, community partners, clients, etc. It’s key to treat everyone you interact with quality service and respect. Our Home Health department services nearly 225 clients and employs over 200 caregivers, so we sat down with our HCBS Coordinator, Lari, to discuss customer service and what it means to her department.

What is customer service to you?

It’s more than just the clients. Its customers, our employees, field staff, and anybody that we work with on a daily basis. I always have to keep in mind, “am I giving someone good customer service?” Even though our clients are important and we give them excellent customer service, it’s also important that we give our field staff, co-workers and the community gets great customer service too.

Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult situation and how you handled it.

It’s every day and I always try to be diplomatic, try to listen and repeat what I’m hearing them say to me, so there is no misunderstanding on my part. I reiterate my position as well because in my department there are state regulations. If I could give everybody everything they wanted I would, but I can’t because I’ve got these guidelines I have to stick to.

What advice do you give HH caregivers when it comes to customer service?

My main thing is that these clients are independent. Our goal is to keep them in the home and as independent as possible, but it is still their home. If they want their towels folded a certain way, you fold it their way – not your way. This is their home and we want to keep them there. We don’t want them going to a nursing home. Always respect their homes. Especially the client directed program. It’s their program, it’s their bodies, and it’s their care. You have to respect that. Just because you’ve been a caregiver for 20 years, you haven’t been their caregiver for 20 years. Their care is different from any else’s care you’ve ever had, so treat them as the individual person and not as your job.

What do you think sets The IC’s customer service apart from other HH agencies?

We stress independence in people’s home and we take client-directed care serious. It’s not just lip service. When we say client-directed care that’s what we mean. While still following the state regulations and we believe in the client directed care, make sure that’s always honored and respect it. A lot of other agencies say if they don’t like us they can just go somewhere else. I’ve never heard that from anyone in this agency.