As activity directors, our profession is more important now than ever before. As we enter the “Silver Tsunami” and the first wave of baby boomers continues to retire, senior care is a large and quickly growing industry, with 5 billion dollars in economic activity.
What does this tell us? As activity directors, we have a great impact. As the senior care industry continues to grow, we will be a force to be reckoned with and we need to claim our profession. The baby boomers now approaching retirement are higher educated, demand better service and products, and are more vocal about their needs and wants. They will be setting the stage for an increased level of service. So what can we do to make sure we are providing superior service and a high level of professionalism?
At the heart of what we do is creating positive communities with great relationships, and at the center of all great relationships is great communication. How we communicate with others plays a central role in the way that others perceive us and it affects how we view others. Different ways of communicating can lead to misunderstanding, tension, and eventually, conflict.
The first step to better communication is to understand our own style, which in turn leads to an understanding of how other styles impact us and how we perceive others. By understanding other people and their ideas, we can start toward working together and progress. By knowing yourself and your communication style, you’ll be able to manage yourself. You’ll know when you need to adapt your style to communicate effectively, and when you need to control yourself and try to be non-judgmental to avoid reacting negatively. Once you know someone else’s style, you can understand how it affects you, as well as their strengths and weaknesses, and you can anticipate how they handle tension.
A second key aspect of great service is being timely with all we do. We can accomplish this by having a system that helps us achieve our goals and meet the needs of those we serve. Time management and organization are crucial to professionalism and great customer service.
In order to use your time most effectively, plan to spend most of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results. This means assigning a time to any activity or conversation that’s important to your success. Schedule appointments with yourself and have the discipline to keep those appointments.
Have a system that is set up for success and that works for you. Just as people have different communication styles, not everyone will be able to organize the same way, so learn what works for you and establish a system. This might mean paper files, an electronic system, or an accountability partner.
Improving your communication and organizational skills will increase your value professionally. Because of your professionalism and your superior customer service, you will create more productive and satisfying relationships, and your management will see how versatile and dependable you can be in different situations. You will be seen as an asset and will be able to easily step into different roles.
How do you ensure that you are providing great customer service?