What "Customer Service" means to one employee

Monday, April 14, 2014 - 5:09pm

Vickie Devenish is a booking clerk in Diagnostic Imaging at the Halifax Infirmary site of the QEII. Vickie has always been focused on providing exceptional service and attending START with Heart® upfront customer service training reinforced the principles she lives every day.

Vickie shares what service means to her:
It means...

  • Making someone smile when in their life at that very moment they only want to cry.
  • Lending a helping hand to someone who has spent their whole life helping others.
  • A glimmer of hope in somebody’s world of despair.
  • Following through with our oath that we signed to promise to do and be all that we can.
  • Making someone feel not alone in their time of loneliness.
  • Just saying yes in a world of no.

When a patient calls me, I immediately switch my place with them in my mind. What if that was me on the end of that phone or my loved one? What would I/they wish to hear?

I’ve watched my dad and a stepdad battle cancer. It is a road that most of us know only too well. I call it the roller coaster of emotion. Both of those beautiful human beings who took care of me and loved me were at the hands now of strangers in their most vulnerable phases of their lives. During their many visits to hospitals - sometimes short, sometimes long - they met many employees who outdid themselves to help in any small way they could. Many smiles, many hugs, handholding, hopeful thoughts shared. These were the individuals who have made the utmost of difference in these lives. 

Unfortunately, not all were as blessed to have this talent. Sometimes, their private life gets in the way of extending that gift of care and concern. If only we realized that it just takes but a second to just smile. Sometimes that is all that is needed. Our clients are scared and they look to us to find something, anything to give them a glimpse of hope. A thank you and you’re welcome go a long way.

My dad passed away from his battle, having gone through many sessions of chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, surgeries of his skull, immune injections and bone marrow biopsies. I returned to work a week after my dad lost his battle to hear a physician speaking to another about a patient  who got  “BBQ’d recently,” which was a slang for  chemotherapy. I looked to a lady who was working in the same room; she instantly looked at me and ushered me out. She knew what had just been said and knew I had just returned to work after losing my dad. I returned to my desk and cried for several minutes. 

I promised myself that I would do my utmost to not become complacent with regards to my duties to serve our patients. 

I am not perfect, but I do try each and every day to make a difference, whether it small or not. It does start with us.