Troubleshooting Service Delivery
Let’s get this out of the road first yelling or forcing people won’t solve the problem, but a thoughtful approach can.
If you find yourself frustrated with the barriers hindering your service delivery improvement, this blog is tailored for you. In this guide, we’ll explore three key areas to identify opportunities for upleveling your service capacity and provide actionable steps to overcome challenges.
1. Assess Your Physical Environment
Evaluate the setting in which your service is conducted, identifying physical barriers that may impede success.
- Is the area clean, accessible, and inviting? (No, the consult room is not where the empty boxes go)
- Does it prioritize service or seem like an afterthought? (does the clearance stock really need to be there?)
- Is the workflow smooth, and are materials easily accessible? ( No, finding what you need on the desktop and under a pile of other things doesn’t count. A system that everyone follows is what you’re looking for.)
- Are the right people in the right places, or is it challenging for them to get there? (you’re walking how far to get the information and materials? How many people did you just say you need to shift?! )
2. Evaluate Your Team:
Examine the human factors impairing service delivery. Especially focus on people or the behaviours that are causing grief.
- What is the team’s attitude toward the service? (Are they worried, have a fear of failure, don’t see the value, do they have other priorities?)
- Do they possess the necessary knowledge, time, and capacity? (This is about their perception, not yours)
- Are they adequately supported? (Sink or swim doesn’t work for anyone. Support might include written resources, role-played scenarios, an accountability buddy or peer supervision)
3. Take Action Where Possible:
While not all barriers may be immediately solvable, start addressing issues from the most manageable to the more complex.
For the Physical Environment:
- Implement simple changes like pre-printed materials housed in easily accessible folders or containers and daily restocking.
- Consider adding more signage for clarity.
- Opt for a spring clean to enhance professionalism.
For the Team:
Question excuses and offer support.
- ‘I agree, it’s really busy. What is taking up most of your time? ‘
- ‘I know we have done training on this. What still confuses you? How can I best help you learn?’
- ‘It is a bit scary when you first start. What do you think would build your confidence’
Communicate the impact of their involvement (or lack thereof). (here is a guide to a tough conversation if you need it)
Introduce habit stacking for gradual improvements.
Marginal gains make a big difference. In terms of your service, this might be the person in question progressing from pharmacist handing over the consultation to you, to the pharmacist sitting in while you complete the service. Aim to do this several times then aim to have the pharmacist execute the service while you’re in the room for several more. This way you can slowly progress up to the pharmacist doing it on their own.
Acknowledge and praise small improvements.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Yes, people should ‘just do their job’, but sometimes they don’t! Invest in supporting the improvement
Encourage safe feedback and a mutual learning process.
Great feedback should flow in two directions. The aim should be that you both learn something from the process. You provide feedback on what you are happy seeing and what you would like adjusted. They give you feedback on what is challenging, what they are enjoying and what they would like more support with.
While you may be enthusiastic about service delivery and understand the value it brings to patients and the pharmacy alike, others may not. The might have different priorities and concerns about service delivery that make their performance in this area far less than what you think it should be. By actively addressing physical and human barriers, you can help build their capacity and achieve your service delivery goals. Service delivery is a collaborative effort, and investing time in supporting improvement rather than focusing on the perceived poor performance, you can create lasting positive change.
If you would like to create your own service delivery troubleshooting action plan, click the link below for an editable pdf worksheet.