My Charity Story: Shirley

“Specialist training helped us transform our patients’ experience.”

Shirley Burke, Acting Assistant Service Manager Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health, used funding to arrange specialist training to support reception staff following a rise in complaints.

What was the situation like before the training?

When we moved from six sites down to three, there was growing pressure on our clinics; once we'd reached full capacity, patients couldn't be seen. The patients didn't understand obviously what was going on behind the scenes. It resulted in a bit of confrontation with our receptionists and we started to receive a lot of complaints. So the managers at the clinic got together and we decided to source customer service training to support our reception staff.

What was the training about?

The training was for around 25 members of staff. It focused on reception and front of house because that’s the first impression the client has when they attend our clinics. It was about helping staff to use the right words when responding to patients’ queries, have more empathy and understand the patient’s point of view.

"Reception staff tell me they are happier, that they enjoy what they’re doing more and have gotten the support they need." 

What difference has it made?

We’ve had more positive feedback from patients, which is sent out monthly to staff. We also have mystery shoppers who report back to us saying we’re “excellent”. We share this information with staff so they know they’re doing a good job and that they are appreciated. It empowers them to know they can work more effectively with challenging patients; they have the support to do this not only from myself, but from the wider team too. Reception staff tell me they are happier, that they enjoy what they’re doing more and have gotten the support they need. It does make you feel good when you give a good service to the patient. It makes you feel extra good when you get a comment.

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